India challenge excites Morgan
England batsman Eoin Morgan is relishing the prospect of facing India in the npower Test series.
The left-hander cemented his place as England's Test number six during the series win over Sri Lanka, notably by scoring seventies at Lord's and the Rose Bowl.
With Paul Collingwood occupying that position last winter during the Ashes, Morgan did not play Australia in Tests, but now faces his biggest challenge against the number-one ranked side in the world.
Morgan, who has been instrumental since breaking into England’s one-day team, is confident the hosts are in excellent shape ahead of the mouth-watering four-match series.
“A lot of our preperation so far this summer has been building towards it,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“With the momentum we’ve had over the last year and a half or so, we feel that we are in a good position and we’re ready for a good test and there’s no bigger test than the number one side in the world.
“It’s exciting, more than anything else, and certainly the position I’m in at the minute and the position the team is in, we feel that it will be a great test and we will have to play exceptionally well to beat them.
“We feel that again the momentum we have had and the cricket we have played, if we play to our potential, we will compete to a high standard.”
Despite rain affecting the trio of Tests against Sri Lanka, England managed a 1-0 series win after bowling the tourists out for 82 inside 25 overs in Cardiff, and Morgan insists it provided good preparation leading into the India contests.
“I think we played really well and we played the conditions really well,” he said.
“It was very difficult at the start. One of the hardest things about being a cricketer is trying to negotiate the weather, and having three particularly rain-affected games was challenging.
“The result in Cardiff, in the last session where we bowled them out for very little, was crucial.
“We played some fantastic cricket and, from a personal point of view, I’m very happy with my performances.”
Morgan scored 168 runs against Sri Lanka at an average of 56 and is pleased with his progress.
“I’ve felt in good form now for a while, probably since Australia, so it’s nice to get some runs under my belt and keep ticking over until maybe that match-winning performance comes around the corner,” he added.
With India boasting the likes of Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel and Ishant Sharma, the left-hander knows how important it is to contain the tourists' attack if England are to be successful in this series.
“They have an exceptional bowling attack. Bowlers win Test matches more than anything else and to get to a position that they have done, their bowlers have bowled out a lot of teams,” he said.
“From my point of view and from the team’s point of view, it will be a great challenge and certainly one we are looking forward to. We have absolutely nothing to lose but we are looking to go out there and win.”
The 24-year-old is hoping England can utilise their own conditions in an attempt to catch India off guard.
“It is an advantage, particularly over here in England. There’s no conditions like it in the world, especially if we prepare pitches that are conducive to swing, bounce and seam,” he said.
“We are well prepared, we have half a season under our belt already and hopefully it will come to them as a surprise.”
Morgan has no doubts England have enough variation and quality in their attack to trouble the star-studded India batting line-up.
“I think we do. We’ve proved over the winter how we take our wickets, we build pressure and put the batsmen under pressure to score runs,” he said.
“Runs are going to be key. I don’t think we can look too far ahead in regards of comparing the two sides because they have a lot of legends of the game playing and guys who are at the back end of their career after having magnificent careers.
“We can’t look too far ahead of ourselves; we have got to do our own things and do it the way we do it. If we can pile on the runs and take wickets, we will do exceptionally well.”