By Dominic Farrell
Middlesex batsman Eoin Morgan is relishing some packed houses at Lord’s when the NatWest T20 Blast gets under way next month.
Across a decorated career representing England in all three formats, Morgan has experienced his fair share of memorable occasions at the pinnacle of the game.
But it was domestic Twenty20 cricket that first introduced the 27-year-old strokemaker a high-octane atmosphere.
— England Cricket (@ECB_cricket) April 17, 2014
Morgan’s debut in the format came against Surrey in 2006 at Lord’s, where he struck an accomplished 66 from 41 deliveries in a losing effort.
Middlesex’s all-London affairs against Surrey are always highly anticipated, with fans set to flood through the gates at the Kia Oval and HQ on May 30 and July 24 respectively this time around.
Before that the Panthers open with a double-header against Sussex and Essex on May 17 and Morgan appreciates he and his team-mates are in something of a privileged position.
“We’re very fortunate - it’s huge,” he said at the launch of the NatWest T20 Blast. “I remember the first derby I played against Surrey at Lord’s with a packed house.
“I was only about 19 or 20 and I absolutely loved it. I had a great time.
“The first double-header games are going to be a sell-out and its going to be a great day out.”
Morgan will be world away from the fresh-faced youngster of eight summers ago when he takes the reins as Middlesex’s limited-overs captain this year.
Having acquitted himself well when standing in for both Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad to take charge of England one-day and Twenty20 internationals of late, the greater responsibility is undoubtedly something he warms to.
“I’m captaining in the T20 and the one-day stuff, which I’m really enjoying,” said Morgan, who was appointed to the post by his county in February.
“We started doing some prep this week for the T20 campaign that starts on the May 17. I’m really looking forward to it.
“I have enjoyed it for the simple fact that the bigger, competitive nature in me comes out when I’m more involved with the guys.
“Obviously it’s devastating losing and watching guys not do so well but you take more pride in everyone else’s performance as opposed to just your own.”
Morgan was speaking ahead of the start of the NatWest T20 Blast season. Blast off is Friday 16 May. Tickets can be purchased from www.ecb.co.uk/natwestt20blast