London: May 24, 2011
England batsman Eoin Morgan says playing in the IPL is more helpful in growing as a batsman than featuring in County matches but asserted that Test cricket remains his priority. Morgan had preferred playing IPL to first class cricket but was successful in winning a place in the England Test squad for the series against Sri Lanka after blasting a 193 for England Lions against the Island nation.
Ahead of the team selection, Morgan had said that if he would not be picked, he would go back to play for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. National selector Geoff Miller had said that he will speak to Morgan to find out his priorities but the left-handed batsman made it clear that the traditional format is where his heart lies.
"My priorities are quite clear. Test match cricket comes first and always has done. It's why I play the game, it's where everybody tests themselves and what everybody is judged on," Morgan told reporters.
Asked why he would have returned to Kolkata if not selected in the Test squad, Morgan said IPL is a better learning platform than County and that he had to fulfill his contract terms.
"If I wasn't picked for the squad I didn't want to hang around, dawdle and feel sorry for myself. Number one, I wanted to do something and number two, I was contractually obliged to go back out. I had no choice. The amount I learned last year just by playing five games and staying out there for the next three weeks, practising every day and rubbing shoulders with legends of the game, did massive amounts for me. I felt the progress I made in the month or two out there would exceed the four games I might play in county cricket," he reasoned.
Morgan did not set the IPL ablaze with his batting as he could manage only 137 out of nine innings but said the decision to go and play in the Indian domestic league was right.
"It was a gamble, I knew that from the start. You have to gamble in order to throw yourself out there and do well. For me it was a hard decision but it was the right one," he said.