The Cricketer
Huw Turbervill Huw Turbervill

CHAMPIONS TROPHY ‘RUTHLESS' BUT BRING IT ON, SAYS EOIN MORGAN

"I think it’s come at a very important time for us and can help gauge us as a side"

England’s grisly 2015 World Cup can be erased from Eoin Morgan’s memory banks over the next two months – and he cannot wait to get started.

His 50-over side play Ireland at Bristol and Lord’s on Friday and Sunday, then face South Africa in a three-match series on May 24, 27 and 29. Those games pave the way for the Champions Trophy, from June 1–18.

“It’s the start of two big months and we have been looking forward to it for some time – I just wish it would hurry up and come around,” said Morgan at the launch of the latest England kits, made by New Balance (red and sky for T20, navy with red for 50-over).

Morgan, 30, was born in Dublin, of course, and played for Ireland from 2003–2009.

“I’m really looking forward to England’s first home games against Ireland,” he said. “Associate cricket nations are at a huge turning point – two Afghanistan cricketers are playing in the IPL. The Associate nations are potentially an untapped source for cricketers.

“I know Ireland are getting more games now, and New Zealand are touring there soon (May 12–24). Ireland are a good side. From England’s perspective it’s another two games. We earmarked it a few months ago as a chance to look at some new guys coming through, but it’s also now a chance to look at David Willey and Jake Ball after injuries.”

In regard to the Champions Trophy, the mini-World Cup, held at The Oval, Edgbaston and Cardiff, Morgan said: “I think we are definitely in with a shout. I think we have all the attributes to win the tournament. It’s a ruthless competition and you go into games needing to win every one. I think it’s come at a very important time for us and can help gauge us as a side.”

Asked about the possible absence of India because of a television revenue dispute, Morgan insisted: “We want India there – we want the best sides in it.”

After the series against Ireland, England players will go their separate ways for a short period, before regrouping. Morgan says he wants to play for his IPL side, Sunrisers Hyderabad. “I want to return as the South Africa players leave on May 8 and there’s a good chance I will play. Whether we qualify will be determined by the two games taking place when England play Ireland. If I’m guaranteed two out of three games, I will go and play.”

Morgan was hugely impressed by Ben Stokes’ century for Rising Pune Supergiant in their win over Gujarat Lions on Sunday.

“It was incredible,” he said. “That he can play in the same team as the Australia captain (Steve Smith) and an Indian legend (MS Dhoni) and outperform them… I think it’s a huge step for him and us as England cricketers. It proves he can compete with the best.”