Biding his time for a place in the sun

Biding his time for a place in the sun

hopeful Morgan has done well for England in shorter forms of the game. DH photo

Eoin Morgan has not unleashed the predicted storm so far during his stint with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Despite his bat being in silent mode, the $2,20,000 worth Irishman has been on a learning curve on his first visit to India. The third edition of the Indian Premier League has offered him invaluable lessons – from playing in conditions vastly unlike that in Dublin and England to interacting with some modern day greats.

“While playing with RCB I have the opportunity to share time with Kumble, Dravid, Kallis, Boucher.  They are the legends of the game and I am glad that I have got a chance to pick their brains. The confidence and calmness these players exude is exceptional and they are so balanced on the big stage,” Morgan told Deccan Herald.

But Morgan does not adhere to orthodoxy like his peers, and he firmly believes there is scope for two schools of batting in Twenty20. “Aggressive style comes naturally to me,” he says with a tinge of confidence. “I don’t think there is any pressure to manufacture shots just because you are playing T20. There are two schools of batting in T20 – orthodox and the hitters – and RCB have proved it. Look at a guy like Kallis, who like to play through the innings and make 50 or 60 and then there is Boucher, who can hit six from the very first ball. All the players have got their individual style of scoring.”   That belief in his individuality has helped Morgan a lot. The Dubliner came to England at the age of 16 for a game against Eton and became a part of the Middlesex one-day squad two years later. The Middlesex stint has inculcated in him strong English ethos of batting – his first-class strike rate is just 51, solid and effective without being extravagant.

But put him into Twenty20, the Mr Hyde in him comes out. The flashing blade and those inventive sweeps and reverse sweeps are a runaway hit on the county circuit. The world witnessed them when he played match-winning innings against South Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The unusual grip Morgan uses for his sweep shot has generated the myth of him benefiting from an old Irish sport – hurling.  But he plays it down. “I played a little bit of hurling when I was a kid. But the effect of hurling on my game is blown out of proportion.”

Morgan is frank in his admission that the last fortnight or so that he has spent in India has been a revelation of sorts. Playing in front of a packed stadium in India has been a totally different feel for this 23-year old, who has experienced only the stately crowd of Lord’s and the sparse crowd of one-dayers at home.

“Playing in front of a full house in a sub-continental stadium is massively different from playing in front of a full house at Lord’s. You just can’t hear anything, especially while trying for high catches and the other day I nearly collided with a team-mate while going for the catch of Virender Sehwag,” he said.

Then he goes on gushing about his favourite batsman. “I love everything about Sehwag’s batting. He is a wonderful striker of the cricket ball. He is immensely talented and is not afraid of dangers. I wish I could bat like Sehwag. Sehwag, ooph, he stands miles ahead, doesn’t he?”

May be, a time will come when people speak like that about Morgan.

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