Morgan wins Collingwood backing
Paul Collingwood believes Eoin Morgan is “100% ready” to replace him in England’s Test team.
Collingwood called time on his Test carer midway through the innings-and-83-run win at the SCG, which completed England’s 3-1 Ashes success.
The 34-year-old's concession that his 68-Test career was over came following a series when he averaged just 13.83 while his team-mates flourished around him.
But Collingwood revealed his poor form had not been the sole factor in his decision, with the number of young players in England pushing him for a place in the Test side convincing him to stand aside.
Ashes tourist Morgan is top of the list of potential replacements and, while he was unused in Australia, Collingwood believes the 24-year-old is the man to fill his shoes having already collected six Test caps, as well as establishing himself as a one-day international regular.
"I always said that if there were better players coming through it was time to give them a chance, and I think Eoin is 100% ready,” Collingwood said.
"That's one of the reasons why the decision was made very easy for me.
"He's obviously got a hell of a lot of talent - he just needs the exposure in Test cricket now and I'm sure he'll do fantastically well.
"He's a very skilful player, and I'm sure he'll be able to adapt his game to what you need in the Test format.
"But there are a lot of other cricketers out there who've got a lot of talent as well, and I think it bodes really well for English cricket that there will be a lot of people knocking on that door and looking for that spot in the England cricket team.
"I can safely say now it (the depth in the England team) is as good as I've ever seen it in my career.
"They will move on, they will keep improving and I can't wait to watch them in the next couple of years to get that number one spot in the world.”
England team director Andy Flower admitted Morgan was currently first in line to replace Collingwood, but, with four months until England’s next Test against Sri Lanka, he was offering no guarantee the Ireland-born left-hander would be recalled then.
“The most obvious one is Morgan because he’s in our squad,” Flower said. “But it’s not right to name a replacement because our next Test is May.
“If we had a Test tomorrow – after Collingwood had retired – Morgan would step in. But all sorts of things can change between now and May.”
Morgan is set to get the chance to return to the England fold this week as the focus switches to the shorter formats of the game.
After celebrating their Ashes success into the early hours in Sydney, the team made the three-hour journey to Canberra by bus ahead of tomorrow's warm-up game against a Prime Minister’s XI.
The match is the only fixture England have before they tackle Australia in two Twenty20 matches and seven one-day internationals.
Twenty20 skipper Collingwood is set to lead the team in Canberra, with Andrew Strauss handed a well-earned break.
That will mean Collingwood taking charge of the side for the next three games and, after leaving the Test scene on a high, he admits he will attack the captaincy with plenty of enthusiasm.
"I'm feeling very, very happy. I've got a big smile on my face,” he said.
"The reason I play the game is to contribute to the England cricket team, and to go out on a note like that in front of huge English support - at a real traditional ground in Australia - and have that kind of result is literally the perfect way to go.
"I'm a very happy man. I've been waiting a long time to do something special like this out here in Australia, and it feels absolutely perfect.
"With the camaraderie that we have in the changing room, it's important we have a beer together and talk about the games and enjoy it. That is exactly what we did on Friday night.”
He added: “It (the Twenty20 series) has come round quickly, straight after the Ashes, but that's probably a good thing. I’m looking forward to it.
"We've got to move forward. This is an important series coming up with the T20s; we don't get a lot of opportunities to play them on the international stage.
"Then we've got to keep the form going, moving on to the one-dayers and the World Cup.
"We've got to keep the momentum going - that's crucial - and it's important we start well in the practice game on Monday.”