Morgan confirms his growing reputation by signing IPL deal

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The Independent Online

Eoin Morgan's growing status was confirmed yesterday when Royal Challengers Bangalore paid £134,000 for his talents at the Indian Premier League auction.

In the third year of the Twenty20 franchise operation, Morgan may be about to become the first England cricketer to take his own game to a new level under its bright lights and amid its garish celebrity.

From what the impish left-hander has so far shown in three international Twenty20s and 38 one-day appearances, first for his native Ireland and then in England colours, he certainly has the skills to make the IPL sit up and take notice.

For the other England players involved in the auction the news was less exciting, with Graeme Swann, Tim Bresnan, Rob Key, Monty Panesar, Jonathan Trott, Mark Ramprakash and Anthony McGrath all overlooked.

The 23-year-old Morgan's 67 from just 34 balls as England knocked South Africa out of their own Champions Trophy last September was doubtless the innings which alerted the money men at the IPL to his potential.

Many others already knew, of course, that – despite a meagre first-class average – Morgan was going places.

Two months later, an unbeaten 85 at The Wanderers did for South Africa again. This time his match-winning came in a Twenty20, but the ingredients were the same.

Morgan, uniquely perhaps, combines deft and electrically quick footwork and hand-eye co-ordination – attributed by consensus to his formative years in the Irish sport of hurling – with unexpected power from his light and wiry 5ft 9in frame.

Throw in his youthful athleticism between the wickets and in the field – he is a superb catcher in the ring and on the boundary – and you have a perfectly-formed Twenty20 package.

So far, the English impact at the IPL has been limited to Andrew Flintoff and Morgan's new Challengers team-mate Kevin Pietersen.

The likes of Paul Collingwood, Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah also have franchise affiliation but made little or no impression in 2009.

Flintoff will not be back this year because of injury and Pietersen needs to re-establish himself as England's best batsmen before he considers what he may be able to do in his second IPL window.

Morgan, however, appears a different case entirely. Given a fair chance to demonstrate his abilities – and it seems last year's beaten finalists will surely give him that – Morgan has all the attributes to be a major success on and off the field.

Sold! IPL's new signings

Kieron Pollard (Mumbai, £459,000+)

Shane Bond (Kolkata, £459,000+)

Kemar Roach (Deccan, £440,000)

Wayne Parnell (Delhi, £373,000)

Mohammad Kaif (Punjab, £153,000)

Eoin Morgan (Bangalore, £134,000)

Damien Martyn (Rajasthan, £61,000)

Justin Kemp (Chennai, £61,000)

Thissara Perera (Chennai, £30,000)

Adam Voges (Rajasthan, £30,000)

Yusuf Abdulla (Punjab, £30,000)