Morgan receives Test backing
Geoff Miller has hinted that Eoin Morgan will have his Ashes ticket all-but booked if he impresses against Pakistan.
Last Updated: 26/07/10 2:09pm
National selector Geoff Miller has admitted that Eoin Morgan will virtually be guaranteed a place in England's Ashes squad if he impresses in the forthcoming Test series with Pakistan.
The Irish-born left-hander has been retained in England's 12-man party for Thursday's first Test at Trent Bridge, which can be seen live on Sky Sports HD1/1 from 10.30pm.
Morgan overcame stiff competition from Ravi Bopara to keep his place and he now looks certain to bat at number six in place of the injured Ian Bell.
And, having made scores of 44 and 37 in his first two Tests against Bangladesh earlier in the summer, Miller is keen to see more of the Middlesex man ahead of this winter's Ashes series.
He said: "Bopara has been playing really well but we want to see a bit more from Eoin, he played well for Middlesex in his last game.
"Yes, we want to win this match and win this series but we have an eye on the winter as well and we have got to make sure that the equation is sorted, so Eoin keeps his place."
Middlesex director of cricket Angus Fraser has backed Morgan to dispose of his 'one-day specialist' tag against Pakistan.
Morgan made 58 not out as he and England team-mate Steven Finn dug in to help Middlesex secure a draw against Sussex in their LV= County Championship Division Two clash last week.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Fraser said: "Yes, he's got all the shots to play Twenty20 and to star in one-day cricket but the great thing about Eoin is that he plays the situation and he's got the game to do that, so I think he will make a real success of Test cricket too.
"We saw that on Friday when he made 50 or 60 to save the game for Middlesex."
Former England opener Marcus Trescothick was another to support Morgan's inclusion but had sympathy for Bopara and fellow absentee Tim Bresnan.
"Ravi's been playing well but you've just got to earn your way back in," he said. "There's no doubt about it, he's a great player and he's going to come back soon but I think it's a good move to stick with the players they've got at present."
Bresnan was omitted as Yorkshire colleague Ajmal Shahzad took the last seam bowling place in the 12-man squad and Trescothick added: "Bres, I feel, is a little bit unlucky - he's done pretty well but the guy that's come in is a great bowler.
"The team is looking in great shape and I'm sure they're going to get a good victory."
Miller is upbeat about his side's prospects for the four-match series and encouraged by the competition for places evident in the selection process.
He said: "We have picked a very strong squad for the first Test against a Pakistan side that will be high on confidence following their recent win against Australia.
"There are a lot of people knocking on the door, we wanted strength in depth and gradually we are getting that. We feel this is the right side to take on a Pakistan side who are fairly buoyant now after beating Australia."