Morgan confident of England's depth
Eoin Morgan is adamant the competition for places, which will increase with the arrival of Kevin Pietersen in South Africa next week, can only be a good thing for England.
Pietersen has been recuperating from surgery to his right Achilles tendon – an injury that forced him to miss the last three Tests of this summer’s Ashes – but will link up with the team shortly.
During his absence England struggled during the NatWest series against Australia, but improved considerably in the ICC Champions Trophy, where they reached the semi-finals.
The Middlesex batsman was part of that side, playing in all four games, and was one of three players to make half-centuries during England’s opening match of their South Africa tour, when they crushed the Diamond Eagles by 185 runs yesterday.
Captain Andrew Strauss made 72, while Jonathan Trott hit 85 to stake his claim and Morgan believes it is an ideal situation to be in.
“You’re always fighting for places no matter what team you’re in,” he said. “It’s fantastic to have Kevin back next week.
“It will obviously create a lot of competition within the side, which we want to have. It will give depth and strength to our squad.”
Despite his innings and current form, Morgan, who has featured in the last 10 one-day internationals for England, does not believe his place is guaranteed in the team.
He added: “I’m delighted to be honest. I’ve got a number of opportunities now throughout the summer and obviously in the Champions Trophy as well.
“I’m pleased to see myself hitting good form and getting runs on the board.
“I’m far from established, to be honest. I’m only a newcomer in the side and looking to establish myself and looking to move in the right direction with the team.
“I’ve been fortunate in the opportunities I’ve been given and I’ve just been glad to repay the sort of faith shown in me.”
Asked whether he enjoyed the role of ‘finisher’ – a position he has recently become accustomed to – Morgan added: “I wouldn’t say it’s the role I enjoy most. I enjoy any sort of situation in one-day cricket.
“Being thrown in at 50 for five or 50 for three or something like that, it’s always a challenge and always something that can help establish and improve my game.
“The more different situations I’m put in, the better cricketer I’ll hopefully become.”
The 23-year-old was pleased with England’s opening win and is looking forward to building on the performance in their second game of the tour against the Warriors in Kimberly tomorrow.
He said: “It’s pleasing to start with a win. It was something we talked about, getting off to a positive start, and yesterday we delivered.
“It was a fantastic start on all fronts, we looked positive in the field, good with the new ball and we set a decent total. So it’s all looking very good at the moment.”
England could be without Stuart Broad who jarred his right shoulder in Bloemfontein. Graham Onions is also facing a late fitness test on stiffness in his lower back.
Morgan added: “Stuart’s a fantastic player who is on top of his game and losing him would be a blow. If the injury is bad, it will leave a hole.
“But it creates an opportunity for somebody else to come in and fill a slot. I’m backing whoever’s in the squad to come in, prove themselves and do well.”