Morgan eyes step up to Test arena

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The Independent Online

England batsman Eoin Morgan insists he can make the transition from the shorter game to become a Test match star.

Morgan, named player of the series in the recent one-day series victory over Australia, is considered a contender for a place in England's Ashes squad following the foot injury to Ian Bell.

An innings of 103 off 85 balls in the opening game against the Australians has put him firmly in the frame and two successful tests against Bangladesh have earmarked him for a place in the Ashes squad.

"If it comes then I will look forward to it," said Morgan.

"I only came into the side a year ago and a lot has happened since then, if I have another year like this, I will be very happy. But it means taking every opportunity as it comes.

"The England captain [Andrew Strauss] has seen me play at Middlesex enough times to know what I am like."

Dublin-born Morgan knows that he needs to get runs against Pakistan in order to book his place for the winter tour of Australia and the Ashes showdown.

The four-test series with Pakistan begins at Trent Bridge on July 29 and Morgan places high expectation on his own form.

"I need to get a lot of runs because the competition for places is fierce," he added. "I will be looking to get as many runs as I can.

"You have a longer time to get in and you can bat all day. Sometimes you might have to dig in and sometimes you might have to lash it.

"I like to take my chances and be as relaxed about it as possible. Against Bangladesh it was different because I was probably building it up more than I should have.

"I was a bit anxious when I went out to bat but when I was out there I was quite relaxed, it was fine. I appreciate where I have come from and what I have done. But I know it can easily go the other way.

"The last time England played in Australia in an Ashes series in 2006/07, I was in South Africa with Ireland at a training camp. So playing in an Ashes series was a million miles away and it was the same for me last year.

"Test match cricket is the ultimate. I won't be satisfied finishing my career just being good at the shorter forms of the game."

Meanwhile, Strauss has backed misfiring Kevin Pietersen to shake off his recent run of bad form.

The England captain is unconcerned that Pietersen, who recently became a father for the first time, has failed to score more than 50 runs in his last 17 one-day internationals for his country.

The South-African born batsman's last big one-day score was an unbeaten 111 against India in November 2008, but Strauss is fully confident that Pietersen will bounce back.

"Kevin has just turned 30 but he has got a loft of cricket left in him," said Strauss. "He has had a tough time, there is doubt about that.

"He has not scored as many runs as he has done in the past. But he is a high quality cricketer and he will come back and play match-winning innings for us. I think he will come out an play really well against Pakistan."