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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Eoin Joseph Gerard Morgan
  • Born 10 September 1988 Dublin
  • Educated Catholic University School
  • Occupation Professional Cricketer
  • Debut 20 August 2003 v Free Foresters
  • Cap Number 642
  • Style Left-hand bat, right arm medium pace
  • Teams Rush, Malahide, North County, Ireland U19, Middlesex, Bangalore Royal Challengers, Kolkata Knight Riders, Gazi Tank Cricketers (Bangladesh), Sydney Thunder, England Lions, England.

Eoin Morgan " the Irishman with the Welsh name who captains England" is undoubtedly one of the most talented and naturally gifted cricketers ever to appear in Irish cricket. Stocky but strongly built, he has wide array of text book strokes - including a much admired straight drive - and also several that defy real description, for example his trademark reverse sweep, quite unlike any other and a superb late - very - cut.

Some observers have suggested that his technique owes much to his having played hurling as a boy. Eoin, while agreeing that the reverse sweep may owe something to that fast, hectic and brilliant game, does not entirely agree. He thinks that it was a boyhood playing a wide range of sports, Gaelic games, football and rugby as well as cricket, that enabled him to develop the tremendous ball sense which has stood him in such good stead.

He comes from a family, which to the considerable surprise of the late Christopher Martin-Jenkins, has had for four generations a great enthusiasm for the game. His father and grandfather and great grandfather led the way playing for the appropriately named Fingal side Man O' War, father Jody now being President of the Connacht Cricket Union, while Eoin's two brothers Gareth and Gavin and two sisters Gwyneth and Laura are also highly competent cricketers, the sisters, having both gained representative international honours and the brothers interprovincial ones.

Eoin was a dominating force in age group cricket at interprovincial and international level, having from the age of 10 when he played for Leinster U 13, constantly appeared not only with his own year but well above it.

By 2000 he was captaining Ireland U13, also finding time to score 113 in an interprovincial against the North West at Beechgrove, a crucial knock as the victory margin was only 20. Playing in the Final of the Leinster Schools U14 League he brought the Cup to CUS by demolishing County Meath Prep School Headfort with both bat and ball. That summer also saw him carry off the Irish Examiner Young Sportsman of the Year Award, previous winners of which include Roy Keane.

The following year outstanding performances for the U17 side in three games against ECB U15 impressed watching Middlesex coaches and brought him a summer's coaching at Dulwich College as well as the foundation of his subsequent career. However it was in the U19 World Cups of 2004 and 2006 that he first had the chance to strut his stuff on a major stage and how well he took it. In the former tournament in Bangladesh when Ireland "were undoubtedly the best Associate side," he hit a brilliant 117 against Uganda putting on 66 for the 3rd wicket with Kevin O'Brien (70). Ireland, led by William Porterfield, won by 123 runs, Eoin taking 2-23. In another match, he made 65 against Australia.

Two years later in Sri Lanka, he was the outstanding batsman of the entire competition, totalling 338 runs at 64.60. Captaining the side he led from the front hitting a magnificent 124 against a powerful New Zealand side. He faced 126 balls, hitting twelve of them to the boundary and three over it. He was well supported by Andrew Poynter (76) as the two Middlesex men added 160 for the 4th wicket. Ireland totalled 304 but a buccaneering 92 from future Test fast bowler Tim Southee saw the Black Caps home by 3 wickets with 5 balls to spare.

Eoin's many commitments meant that, as far as his clubs were concerned, he was all too little seen in Leinster Senior cricket. We may note a crucial performance for North County in the Irish Senior Cup Final against Railway Union in 2003. Batsmen on both sides found fast scoring difficult, Eoin being about the only one to seem totally at ease. North County managed 217-5 with Eoin hitting a typical 70 before falling to an O'Brien combination c Gerry b Kevin. Railway were bowled out for 148 in reply.

Just how successful he could have been in Leinster Senior Cricket is shown by his form at club level in 2005. Against North Down at The Green in the Irish Senior Cup, he made a superb, undefeated 142 for North County as he and Conor Armstrong (90) put the match beyond their hosts' reach with a match winning second wicket partnership. Over the water he played seven matches for Finchley in the Middlesex Premier League, scoring three centuries in his first four, the highest 175 on debut.

For Ireland he made 2075 runs at an average of 37.05, which put him, at the time of his change of cricketing allegiance, third in the all time averages of those who have scored 1000 runs or over. His runs included 3 hundreds and 12 fifties. The first of those half centuries came in only his second match for Ireland, on the English tour of 2003, when, having been run out for a duck on debut - at the time he was Ireland's youngest ever player - against the Free Foresters at Eton College the previous day, he made an excellent 71 v the Club Cricket Conference at Shenley, putting on 72 for the second wicket with Andre Botha after Jeremy Bray had gone cheaply.

2005 was, however, to prove his breakthrough year. he began it with an impressive 59 against Yorkshire in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Cup at Stormont, pipping Michael Vaughan for the man of the Match award, before playing a prominent part in Ireland's home based ICC Trophy campaign which brought World Cup qualification for the first time. His best innings came against Bermuda when, coming in to join Ed Joyce at 62-3, he helped his Middlesex colleague add 170 in 27 overs, regarded by Simon Corlett as the best Irish partnership he had ever seen. Ed made a sparkling 103 from 92 balls, but was surpassed in brilliance of strokeplay by Eoin who made 93 from 84 balls, with a pull for six and 9 fours his most productive shots.

His first century came that October in the semi final of the Intercontinental Cup v United Arab Emirates at Windhoek. Batting first, and needing a really big total, Ireland were 111-1 when Eoin came in and proceeded to play an outstanding innings. Batting 186 minutes and facing 156 balls, he hit 18 fours in a glorious display. He eventually fell lbw to the persevering seamer Ali Asad who alone among the bowlers was any real threat, finishing with figures of 28-8-93-5. Jeremy Bray's massive second innings century sealed the victory but Eoin with his dazzling 151 had set it up in no uncertain terms.

His second hundred, against the same opposition in February 2007, broke all Ireland's batting records. leaving Ivan Anderson's 198 against Canada in 1973 behind. Batting first in searing heat and high humidity at Abu Dhabi, Ireland were given a good start by Bray and Porterfield but were 136-2 when Eoin entered, joining Botha. They put on 360 for the 4th a record for any wicket for both Ireland and the Intercontinental Cup. Botha was eventually out for 157, but Eoin joined first by Kevin O'Brien and then, most appropriately by his captain Trent Johnston, went on to 209 before TJ declared at 551-5. He had faced 213 balls, hitting 1 six and 24 fours.

His third and final hundred came in the World Cricket League in Kenya in 2007. This was a disastrous tournament for Ireland who should have won every match but ended up losing all but one v Bermuda in which, ironically, Eoin failed to score. His hundred came against Canada as Ireland piled up 308-6 which should have been a winning score. Coming in at 16-1 he was fifth out at 290, having batted 150 minutes for 115, including 2 sixes and 10 fours, struck from 106 balls. Nevertheless the Canadians won. .Ireland were hit by injury and illness throughout the competition, but Eoin maintained his form, finishing with a spectacular 94 from 91 balls against the Netherlands, including 7 fours and 2 sixes adding 153 for the 2nd wicket with Porterfield, Ireland still collapsed to lose by 6 runs.

That innings had, in fact been Eoin's third "near miss" for Ireland as in August 2006, on his ODI debut, he had made 99 against Scotland at Ayr. This was a fine innings taking 184 minutes and facing 134 balls with 7 fours and 1 six. Much of the remaining batting was unconvincing and it was almost entirely due to Eoin that Ireland reached 240-8 and went on to win by 83 runs. It earned him the Man of the Match award but it also earned him a visit to the referee's office as his dismissal happening due to a poor call by Kyle McCallan, caused him to explode volubly, foully and very audibly, on his return to the pavilion. He probably did not want another record, one which can never be taken away from him, the first man to be dismissed for 99 on debut in an ODI!

Regrettably he never really got going in the 2007 World Cup and by the time of the next one he was wearing a shirt of a different colour,. However mirroring Joyce in 2005, he had helped Ireland towards the 2011 competition. In the World Cup Qualifiers of 2009, having just learned that he was in England's provisional squad of 30 for the World T20 in the summer, he played two match winning innings, a brilliant 84 against Canada (100 balls 10 fours 1 six) to set up victory by 6 wickets before making an even more spectacular 76 from 62 balls against the Netherlands, hitting 5 fours and 4 sixes. This win ensured Ireland World Cup qualification.

Eoin's Middlesex career began with some good performances for the 2nd XI in 2004. In all he made three hundreds at this level, playing with, among others Nick Compton and Boyd Rankin. However he could not be kept out of County Championship cricket for long and in 2007 became an established member of the side.

By the end of the 2014 season he had, in all matches for the County scored 3061 runs at 36.59 an aggregate which would, no doubt, be considerably higher, had it not been for the International and IPL calls. His best season, in terms of runs scored was 2008 when he passed the four figure mark, notching 1085 runs at 49.31, including three hundreds. The highest 137* came against Gloucestershire at Bristol, never the easiest of grounds to bat on. After a delayed start Middlesex were 68-4 when Eoin and wicket keeper Ben Scott, an excellent gloveman since most surprisingly released by both Middlesex and Worcestershire, came together to add172 for the 5th wicket. Eoin faced 314 balls in a 415 minutes stay hitting 13 fours. Ed Joyce, captaining the Londoners, declared twice in search of a seventh win in nine matches but a defiant last wicket stand saw the hosts save the match.

In its review of the Middlesex season, Wisden commented of Eoin, "His is a talent to be nurtured." His highest score for the County 191 was made in the summer of 2014 in a remarkable match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in June. The visitors led off with 505 all out, with most of the runs coming from Eoin and the captain, Australian Chris Rogers (180) in a 3rd wicket stand of 272. Eventually Rogers declared the second innings to leave Nottinghamshire 385 to win. They did so in style with Alex Hales blasting his way to a typical 95.

In List A matches for his county Eoin has made 2112 runs at 39.11 with 6 hundreds. His highest score so far is a superb 161 against Kent at Canterbury in May 2009. Wisden described his innings as "Impudent" Together with Nick Compton _ who was "graceful" according to the Almanack - he put on a Middlesex record one day stand of 277 for the 3rd. He faced 136 balls, batting 140 minutes, hitting 19 fours and 2 sixes. The old Brylcream Boy's grandson made 131. Kent made a spirited reply but lost by 80 runs.

In T20 matches for the County, Eoin has made 1235 runs at 25.72 with 5 fifties. His highest score of 79* came in 2010 against Glamorgan at The Old Deer Park, Richmond, a ground more associated with rugby. Eoin came in at 82-3 to join Owais Shah after the World's most potentially explosive opening partnership - Adam Gilchrist and David Warner - had somewhat failed to fire. Eoin and Shah put on 88 for the 4th wicket, Eoin's runs coming at a faster rate than had Gilchrist's 53. North County's favourite son faced 34 balls, seven of which reached the boundary and five of which cleared it. An 84 runs victory followed.

Eoin was a multi dollars signing for Bangalore Royal Challengers in the IPL in 2009 before moving to Kolkata Night Riders in 2011. These did not prove to be among the most successful episodes of his career, particularly for the Royal Challengers, for whom he did not appear regularly. Nevertheless he regarded the time spent there as very valuable, greatly benefiting his play in all forms of the game.

Considering that much of his time with the Kolkata side was spent opening the batting with Jack Kallis, he certainly has a point. In all IPL matches he scored 479 runs at 20.82 with a highest score of 66. Since 2013 he has appeared for Sydney Thunder in the much vaunted Big Bash. So far he has scored 169 runs at 28.16, with a highest score of 48. He firmly believes that the more England players appear in such tournaments the better it will be for their and their country's cricket.

He was, of course, already a seasoned ODI player when he made his England debut, less than two months after he had played his last match for Ireland. He has, as this is being written, hit 3104 runs for England at 36.51 with 6 hundreds and 17 fifties. Few Irish supporters will need reminding that his highest score came on his one time home ground 124 at Malahide in 2013 when he and Ravi Bopara rescued England from a disastrous start. They came together at 48-4 and put on an unbroken 226 in 28 overs an ODI 5th wicket record for any country. Eoin, on 124 at the end, had not made an ODI hundred for 3 years. He reached three figures in 94 balls and all told faced106 hitting 8 fours and 4 sixes. It was superb innings, showing perhaps, that as Wisden remarked after his match and series winning 107* against Pakistan in the acrimonious summer of 2010, " the only thing he likes better than a scrap is one which starts off in a corner." He was that year, according to Wisden " the most wanted one day wicket." Liking to start in a corner might also apply to his most recent century the brilliant 121 against Australia. Coming in at 12-3, he was 9th out at 234, having faced 136 balls, hitting 11 fours and 3 sixes, one a breathtaking straight drive.

He had, of course been appointed official captain for the Tri Series and the World Cup, as Alastair Cook's poor form and England's poor results continued. In fact Eoin's own ODI form during 2014 had been worse than Cook's but the appointment was well received, most observers seeing him as natural leader and attacking captain who deserved an extended run in the role. Angus Fraser, Middlesex Director of Cricket and England selector told the magazine All Out Cricket that Eoin has " a really good creative cricket mind..... he has the potential to be an outstanding captain. " AOC also produced statistics suggesting that captaincy improves his play. In his 11 matches in charge he has easily the best batting average of England's recent ODI captains, 68.50. Only You Know Who with 52.28 comes close.

His T20 debut came in England's disastrous World Cup game against the Netherlands in June 2009 but in only his second match he put down a marker in no uncertain terms. Against South Africa in a day nighter at Johannesburg the following November he made what was then England's highest T20 score 85*. Coming in at 61-3 to join captain Paul Collingwood, he shared in a stand of 98 facing 46 balls in a 54 minutes innings, He hit 7 fours and 5 sixes to enable England to total 202 and go on to win by 1 run on Duckworth Lewis.

We may note one other spectacular innings, though it was played in a losing cause against West Indies in the 2012 T20 World Cup Super 8 Stage. Needing 180, England were behind the rate on 55-3 when he came in, surprisingly after Johnny Bairstow. Together with Alex Hales he put on 107 in 58 balls but when Hales was out England needed a well nigh impossible 18 from 3 balls. Eoin finished undefeated on a dazzling 71 having hit 4 fours and 5 sixes from 36 balls.

It may also be mentioned that since Stewart Broad assumed the T20 captaincy Eoin has deputised for him on several occasions and has attracted praise for his leadership. Ever since he first picked up a bat his ambition was to play Test Cricket for England, a desire which was finally realised against Bangladesh and Pakistan in 2010, when he replaced the injured Ian Bell. Two useful innings against a heavily outclassed Bangladesh led to his wonderful 130 in the First Test against Pakistan at Trent Bridge. In Wisden, the former Pakistan cricketer Ramiz Raja commented, "Morgan balanced his one day energy with the classical tone of Test Match batting to produce an enchanting innings of grace and poise."

He reached hid hundred with a straight six off Shoaib Malik and put on 219 with Collingwood, a new 5th wicket record for England against Pakistan, beating one which had stood for56 years. Unfortunately he did not maintain his form for the rest of the series and, though he was in the touring party for the Ashes Down Under, he lost his place to a recovered Bell. However he regained his place in 2011 - thanks to an amazing 193 with 30 fours and 5 sixes, for England Lions against the Sri Lankans - and, with two seventies against Sri Lanka and a century and a seventy against India seemed to have staked a claim to a permanent place. His hundred was made in partnership with Alastair Cook at Edgbaston as the left hander ground his way to a massive 294. Eoin, badly missed at cover en 17, made 104 out of a 4th wicket stand of 222.

However questions were being asked about his technique. Observers such as TMS and Channel 5 Analyst Simon Hughes and Wisden Editor Lawrence Booth considered that he was crouching too low in his stance. This they conceded enabled him to pull off some of his ambitious one day shots, but "played havoc with his balance." He endured a miserable series against the Pakistan spinners in the UAE early in 2102 managing only 82 runs from 6 innings.

He has not played Test Match since though there were calls for his return from commentators such as Michael Vaughan and Geoffrey Boycott during the summer of 2014, seeing him as a better captaincy option than Cook. However there was no place available in the middle order, though he was experiencing his best County Championship season since 2008.

He is featured in Siggins and Fitzgerald "Ireland's 100 Cricket Greats" and was one of Wisden 2011 Cricketers of the Year- only four rather than the normal five having been chosen as the fifth was to have been Pakistani fast bowler Mohammed Aamer. Eoin has also been the subject of numerous profiles in cricket magazines.