x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Eoin Morgan pulls off a coup to make England Test team

It takes nerve for a player to remove himself from plain view of national selectors and travel half the way round the world to play in a competition which is still deemed insignificant and populated by mercenaries, back in England.

Received wisdom says success in international sport is based on 10 per cent talent and 90 per cent mental fortitude.

Eoin Morgan obviously has plenty of both, judging by the way he elbowed his way into the England team for this week's opening Test against Sri Lanka.

It takes nerve for a player to remove himself from plain view of national selectors and travel half the way round the world to play in a competition which is still deemed insignificant and populated by mercenaries, back in England.

It is OK for established players who are assured of their place to do it, like Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, but Morgan is a long way from that.

He must have known he would get only one chance to make his case for inclusion, and even that might have been too late.

His main rival for the No 6 slot in England's batting line-up, Ravi Bopara, was said to have been pencilled in following his strong early-season form. Bopara's supporters also argued he was owed the chance, as he opted for county cricket over the riches of the Indian Premier League.

Yet Morgan got off a plane from India and promptly jumped the queue thanks to his innings of 193 for England's second string.

He, too, might think he was owed his dues, having traipsed around Australia carrying drinks during the Ashes. If he was light on first-class cricket in that time, it was hardly his fault.

No matter how they each prepared for the game, only one question should have been asked by England's selectors: Who is the best player? They got it right.

pradley@thenational.ae