Morgan determined to make the most of his opportunity at helm

England's Eoin Morgan.
England's Eoin Morgan.
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Eoin Morgan steps in as England captain for just one match, because of Alastair Cook’s ban – but is determined to put his stamp on the job all the same.

The Irishman has previously led his adopted country seven times in Cook’s absence, through injury and prescribed rest, over the past three years.

This time, of course, another brief opportunity comes about via a disciplinary suspension following England’s unacceptable over rate.

The stakes are high too for Morgan, as England try to follow up their victory in Hambantota with a second at the Premadasa Stadium tomorrow to level the score at 2-2 against Sri Lanka.

He badly needs an overdue personal contribution with the bat as well, having endured a miserable sequence of only 207 runs in his last 13 one-day international innings since his prolific series in Australia last winter.

Morgan, however, is not about to be suckered into changing his method and is convinced he must also lead England instinctively rather than by committee.

“I’ve always done it my way,” said the 28-year-old.

“Things won’t change. I play it as I see it.

“If my way is different, then that’s just the way it is.”

As for his batting, in the absence of any evidence that he has developed a significant glitch from his modes of dismissal over the past 10 months, Morgan will stick to what he knows.

He remains renowned as a middle-order game-breaker in all formats, but does concede he needs to strike a balance between committing to his best attacking shots and trying to get himself in.

“I’m a gambler – and I’d say I’m due,” added Morgan.

“I’ve got to stay true to myself.

“I have to play an aggressive type of game. It’s the way I play, the way I have done since I was a kid and it works for me.

“So there’s no use me going into my shell, and not playing any of my shots.”

While batting, as well as leading the team, he will listen to himself more than others.

“The responsibility on me is to go out there and play my own game,” he said.

“It’s a great responsibility to have, because you’ve no obligations to people telling you what to do.”

Morgan admits he found the going tough especially against 
India at the end of last summer.

But having dropped to No 6 in England’s victory on Wednesday, to accommodate Ravi Bopara’s promotion above him, he believes he is close to getting it right again – in a position which suits him fine.

“I’ve batted at No 6 before,” said Morgan. “I know very few people have scored a (limited-overs) hundred at that position – but I know I’m one of them.

“In the India series, I don’t think I was good enough.

“I came up against a good side, and never managed to spend enough time at the crease to get myself in.

“(But) since I’ve come here, I’ve worked tremendously hard.

“I think – given the opportunity – if I can get maybe 40 or 50 balls under my belt in the middle it will do me the world of good.

“I’ve only had three knocks here so far, and maybe have felt a little bit rusty. I (need) as much time as possible.

“If I chew up balls in the middle, so be it.”

As England try to get a foothold at the start of their World Cup winter, Cook’s enforced absence – albeit for just one match – is a complication.

It requires not just a new captain – England were quick to nominate Morgan – but also a rethink at the top of the order.

Morgan was giving nothing away about how those discussions may develop, but it seems a straightforward choice between apparent conservatism and adventure.

England could play safe, and perhaps canny, by asking Ian Bell – dropped two days ago – to return as a stop-gap for Cook, or could push Alex Hales up alongside Moeen Ali and give James Taylor a chance in the middle order.

Whatever the exact personnel, Morgan said: “We have a big job on our hands.

“I take a lot of confidence from the last game, given we probably didn’t play our best cricket but got the result we wanted.

“You can see the belief in the guys’ eyes.

“We’ve made strides since we arrived here. We are starting to hit our straps, and I hope we can continue our success in this next match.”

Jimmy Adams, James Tomlinson and Danny Briggs have all signed new contracts which will keep them at Hampshire until the end of the 2016 season, the county have announced.

The deals for all three were due to expire at the end of next season, but they have all elected to extend their deals with the south coast county.

Adams made over 1,000 runs in the LV= County Championship last season, Tomlinson was the Hampshire’s joint-leading wicket-taker in the competition, while Briggs took 27 wickets at 26 runs apiece.

Hampshire director of cricket Giles White said: “It’s great to have key players committing to the club.

“All three have come up through the system and all show a genuine passion when representing the county.”