Morgan's family values

When your uncle has played 49 times for England during a career which spanned three decades, it would be foolish not to tap into that wealth of knowledge.

Fortunately Beth Morgan is not daft enough to pass up such an opportunity and knows her uncle, former off-spinner Eddie Hemmings, is just a call away if ever she needs some advice.

Best known, perhaps unfairly, for being launched four times in succession into the building site at the Nursery End by Kapil Dev, Hemmings enjoyed a hugely successful career.

He played 16 Tests, 33 ODIs, claimed an astonishing 1,515 first-class wickets and won the 1989 NatWest Trophy final for Nottinghamshire by hitting John Lever for four off the final delivery. It is more than enough to fill the average scrapbook.

“I was pretty young when he played but I remember a couple of games,” Morgan told ecb.co.uk.

“I was not so aware of what a big deal playing for England was. It's a shame I couldn't have watched him at the age I am now.

“It's been fantastic having him around, though, and I have learnt a lot from him. We live a fair way apart and I don't see him that often but it's great that I can pick up the phone any time. A couple of years ago I had a few sessions with him to help with my bowling.”

Beth Morgan

Beth Morgan hits through the covers during the first ODI against West Indies last year

Morgan is currently in Sydney preparing for the women’s World Cup in Australia, which starts on March 7 when England take on Sri Lanka.

Should the 27-year-old take part in that game, it will be her 50th ODI appearance, but she is unperturbed about personal milestones and just wants the competition to get under way.

“I'm massively excited, I can't wait,” added Morgan, who plays for Middlesex. “It's been building up for a long time now.

“Playing in the World Cup would mean a massive amount to me. It's the biggest tournament in cricket.

“I was part of the squad for the last World Cup but didn't play. It was still a great experience, though.

“It came early on in my England career so playing against the top sides in such a short space of time was a great learning experience. It was disappointing the way it ended but the girls who played took a lot away from it.”

England’s quest to win in 2005 ended at the hands of Australia at the semi-final stage. Having been dismissed for just 158, England battled hard but eventually lost by five wickets with three overs remaining.

The two teams are expected to be challenging for the top prize this time around and Morgan, echoing most of her team-mates, says the hosts are favourites despite England beating New Zealand, West Indies, South Africa and India in the last 12 months. They also drew 2-2 in the one-day series in Australia early last year, having been leading going into the final match.

“Australia are ranked number one,” said Morgan. “But we know we are playing well and are unbeaten in 14 matches. We are really confident and love playing together.”

Morgan flew out to Australia at the end of September to join up with club team St George-Sutherland, whom she captains in Grade 1 of the Sydney Women’s Cricket Association.

It is her third season with the team who, under her leadership, are currently second in the division with five matches to play. The top four sides will go through to the semi-finals to decide which two teams will contest the league final.

Eddie Hemmings

Eddie Hemmings celebrates taking the wicket of Mohammed Azharuddin at the 1987 World Cup

“Being over here has been great,” she added. “They are a really good side and it's been great to see the club grow over the last few years. We are doing really well this year.

“We are second in the league, which is a big improvement on the last few years. If we reach the semi-finals it will be the first time in three or four years.”

Taking the team to league glory would be a feather in the cap for Morgan, particularly being an English cricketer captaining an Australian team.

“It was a bit daunting at first, being captain of a team in another country. The girls at the club have been great, though.

“I did not know how they were going to take to my captaincy style. It's been a really good learning experience, doing something out of my comfort zone.

“I'm not sure what sort of captain I am. I have just tried to use my experiences of playing under other captains. It's not an easy job but it's something I have enjoyed.”

Morgan insists she has benefitted from playing a season Down Under ahead of the World Cup. Five of her team-mates – Isa Guha, Lydia Greenway, Holly Colvin, Jenny Gunn and Lauren Griffiths – have also spent the winter in Australia while the rest of the squad will fly out on February 19.

“It's been fantastic,” Morgan said. “It's great to be out here playing on Australian wickets, training every day and getting used to the conditions.

"There is a big difference playing out here than at home. There is more bounce in the wicket, which suits the quicker bowlers, while the batters can trust the wickets more.

“We have not played a match together since September but I don't think that matters. We have been training hard since the end of last season.

"We will meet up as a squad a few weeks before the tournament starts and will have three warm-up games, so we should be fine. We will peak at the right time.”