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Ambitious Morgan eager to stake his four-day claim

PUBLISHED: 17:53 10 August 2007 | UPDATED: 14:36 07 September 2010

Eoin Morgan scored a sparkling 96 in the Pro40 League against Surrey at Lord's on Sunday to banish the memory of his self-proclaimed 'worst game of the season' the previous week. The Irish international was one boundary short of his century

By Jonny Weeks

Eoin Morgan scored a sparkling 96 in the Pro40 League against Surrey at Lord's on Sunday to banish the memory of his self-proclaimed "worst game of the season" the previous week.

The Irish international was one boundary short of his century when he was caught behind by Jonathan Batty off Akram Mohammad's bowling - Middlesex eventually won with 10 balls to spare.

It was a major turn-around from the previous week when the 20-year-old managed fewer than 10 runs in two innings for the second string when they defeated Gloucestershire at Radlett.

"I was terrible in that match - I was rubbish," he exclusively told Wood&Vale Sport.

"I was a bit unlucky to be run out in the second innings but in the first innings I just made a simple cricketing mistake - I hit the ball straight up in the air.

"If you do that you'll get caught."

But the left-hander clearly learned from his mistake as his powerful strokeplay penetrated the gaps on Sunday.

Morgan knocked eight fours and three sixes off 92 balls - leaving him just shy of his season's best of 100 runs off 94 balls against Essex in the Friend's Provident Trophy in May.

Yet Morgan has not been picked by Middlesex for a County Championship match this season.

"I've been a bit frustrated by that because I came back from the World Cup with Ireland and wanted to knuckle down and cement a place in the Championship side, but it hasn't happened," he said.

"I played six times last season and none so far this season. But if I keep trying hard then things will hopefully change.

"The World Cup didn't go particularly well for me. It was OK, but as a team it was much better. But it was a huge part in my success in one-day cricket and going forward it can help me a lot."

Middlesex's turbulent Pro40 campaign speaks volumes for the club's season as a whole - they have lost-won-lost-won their first four games in the limited overs format.

And unless they pick up a string of wins in the County Championship to compensate for so many wash-out draws, they will fail to gain promotion back to the top flight.

"It's hard to go from last season where we were losing a lot and then try to regain a winning mentality," admitted Morgan.

"We want to be consistent and believe there's still time to get promotion in both competitions. It's well within our grasp.

"It'll be a big setback not to get promoted in at least one competition this season."

Morgan, who came on a substitute fielder for England against the West Indies at Lord's in May - he had 20 overs following an injury to Matthew Hoggard - says he is well settled at Middlesex.

He believes Lord's is the base from which he can best build towards his long-term international ambitions - with England, following in the footsteps of compatriot Ed Joyce.

"Test cricket would be a natural progression for me," said Morgan. "I don't have any problem with the crossover from Ireland to England, it's the next logical step."

And there are few who would doubt that he can achieve it.

Chris Silverwood, Middlesex's former England Test bowler - and Ham&High Series columnist - has long championed the virtues of the plucky Dubliner, calling him an "outstanding young talent" and a "Middlesex star of the future".

l Morgan followed up his match-winning 96 in the Pro40 with a sparking 103 this week against Sussex to lead Middlesex into the final of the Second X1 Trophy at Uxbridge CC. They will meet Somerset in the decider on Monday September 3.

jonny.weeks@hamhigh.co.uk

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