Morgan set to grasp England opportunity against Pakistan

EOIN MORGAN is likely to get the opportunity to boost his Ashes credentials against Pakistan this summer after England lost the services of Ian Bell for the series.

Warwickshire batsman Bell suffered a fractured metatarsal while fielding in the second NatWest Series one-day international against Bangladesh on Saturday.

He re-emerged with Morgan as a runner to occupy the non-striker’s end as county colleague Jonathan Trott tried in vain to score the 10 runs required from the final over at Bristol but will miss the four-Test npower series against Pakistan, which begins on July 29.

England and Wales Cricket Board chief medical officer Nick Peirce said: “Ian underwent a routine operation last night on the fractured metatarsal in his left foot. He will now undergo a course of rehabilitation that will see him ruled out of the upcoming Pakistan npower Test series.

“We expect Ian to make a full recovery but his participation in the NatWest Series against Pakistan in September will be reviewed in due course once he has made significant progress with his rehabilitation programme.”

The news also opens the way for England to give Dubliner Morgan further exposure to five-day cricket as they continue to formulate their plans for the series in Australia this winter.

Coach Andy Flower said on July 1, during the NatWest one-day series against Australia: “I personally don’t feel any pressure in trying to get him great exposure at Test level before he has forced his way into the side or until — through someone else’s misfortune, because of injury — he gets another chance.”

The 23-year-old has been a sensation in limited-overs cricket since transferring his allegiance from Ireland in May 2009, making two centuries and four 50s and catching the eye with his innovative strokeplay.

He was blooded at Test level against Bangladesh earlier this summer, making 44 and 37 in his two innings as he sought to prove he has the responsibility required for the longer form.

Ravi Bopara, who shone with a blistering 45 not out and four wickets on his ODI recall in Monday’s series decider against Bangladesh, is another name in the frame but Morgan would appear to be in contention with Bell, Paul Collingwood and Trott for three places in an England batting order built around captain Andrew Strauss, opening partner Alastair Cook and talisman Kevin Pietersen.

Flower’s recent words suggest Morgan would currently be the odd man out, with Bell showing signs of the mental strength required to make tough runs and Trott finding a rich vein of form.

But a run in the side the talented but unpredictable Pakistan would give Morgan the perfect chance to advance his cause as he bids for a central role in the side Down Under.


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