Morgan lauds Irish Cup win
Eoin Morgan believes English counties are now more willing to consider Irish cricketers after Ireland’s recent successes.
Ireland won a record third consecutive ICC Intercontinental Cup last week, when they beat Namibia by nine wickets at Port Elizabeth.
The result confirms Ireland as the leading ICC associate member.
Morgan, 22, was a key component of last year's success. He is now making waves as a Middlesex batsman and has been named in the England Performance Programme squad to tour India alongside the full England party.
“It’s a great acheivement to be the top associate nation for the third time in a row,” Morgan told ecb.co.uk. “The boys have done brilliantly.
“It’s something that Ireland take pride in because only being known as a one-day nation, or one that mainly plays one-day international cricket is something that eats away at Irish cricketers.
“We are better at the longer format of the game than the other associate nations and the fact that we are always there shows that we have youth and experience coming through the ranks.
“It also shows that we can play good cricket in that form of the game as well.”
The Dubliner missed the recent victory in South Africa due to his commitments with Middlesex Crusaders in the Stanford Super Series, but he has a long history in the competition.
In 2007, Morgan scored a career-best unbeaten 209 in the innings victory over the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi, and followed it up with 84 to help see off Canada in the final.
Morgan has reaped the rewards that four and five-day cricket provides, and believes that it has a knock-on effect on the counties’ attitudes.
He is one of a handful of Irish cricketers now succeeding with English counties.
Niall O’Brien has scored 917 runs in the LV County Championship for Northamptonshire this season while combining wicket-keeping duties.
O’Brien sealed Ireland’s victory over Namibia with a brilliant 119 not out.
New Ireland captain William Porterfield has also been awarded a new two-year deal at Gloucestershire, while Boyd Rankin has had an injury-hit spell at Warwickshire.
“In the last couple of years the success has given guys like William Porterfield and Niall O’Brien the chance to throw them into the spotlight of county cricket,” he added.
“Counties are keeping an eye on young Irish cricketers coming through because they now know there is a minority of players who can come across and become good county cricketers.
“Kevin O’Brien’s been on trial at Middlesex and he’s coming back next year for another one.”
Morgan, touted as Ireland’s most talented young batsman after Ed Joyce was picked by England, struggled badly in that tournament, scoring only 91 runs in nine matches.
But he has now made technical changes to his game and bounced back stronger, scoring over 1,000 first-class runs for Middlesex this season, with three centuries.
Now in the England Performance Programme squad, he is within reach of emulating Joyce in representing England. If Morgan were to win an England cap, he would be the seventh Irishman to do so.
“I think I have come on quite a long way since the World Cup,” he says.
“I’ve played for the Middlesex first-team now for a couple of years. With the experience I’ve gained in the Twenty20 campaigns and the County Championship games I have played, I feel my game has come a long way since then.
“I’ve a lot more confidence in my own ability, and my own style of play. Just purely from playing games and learning from myself.”