Test Cricket In Need Of A Boost - Eoin Morgan
England batsman Eoin Morgan does not share the view of team-mate Graeme Swann that One-Day International cricket should be scrapped, arguing that all three formats of the game should be persisted with but he concedes that something needs to be done to give Test cricket a 'boost'.
Swann made his comments during an interview with the BBC but talking to us during a photoshoot for Slazenger, Morgan was quite happy to do his bit to promote the game in all its guises.
"My view on it is that we should continue playing one-day cricket," he said. "It is a huge part of our game as there's the World Cup every four years - we want to win the World Cup so not playing isn't an option.
"Test match cricket is struggling; it's never struggled in England and we are quite fortunate to have brilliant attendances at pretty much every Test match.
"I watched the Australia-South Africa Test in Johannesburg - it was an unbelievable game to watch but having seen the stands and the fact there was absolutely nobody there, it is evident that it's becoming a problem else where. Something will definitely have to be done, and I don't know what it is."
For now, Morgan is happy to stick to playing and leave it up to the sports governing body, the International Cricket Council, (ICC) to come up with the answers.
"The ICC will have to look at things and try give Test cricket a boost. When you turn up to ODI and T20 cricket the stands are packed so there is certainly something missing that needs to be resolved sooner rather than later.
Swann based his comments on his preference for playing Test and T20 cricket and asked which of the formats Morgan preferred, he was quick to point to the longest format.
"My favourite part of the game is obviously Test match cricket. It's a huge part of our game in England.I really enjoy the other two formats as well. Growing up it's something you want to do, and aspire to do. That hasn't changed throughout the world - it's still the same, it's just whatever appeal there is to viewers, it isn't being seen in the stadiums."
A case in point was the recent Test series held in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, England's next ports of call when they play Pakistan. Despite allowing free entry at times, crowds were low yet as soon as the players donned the coloured clothing and were handed a white ball, people came to watch.
Regardless of whether the crowds show up or not, Morgan says he is looking forward to getting back into action after undergoing a shoulder operation which ruled him out of England's tour of India and is ready to take on the dangerous in-form Pakistan side.
"I'll be fit to play in about three weeks, which i'm quite happy about because it's earlier than expected. I go out to India with the performance team in Pune, and I'm looking forward to a good solid eight days of batting.
"It's going to be a good challenge for us, even though we've had a good run at things it's obviously going to be a big test. Having comfortably beaten India during the summer Pakistan is going to be a big challenge as they're never a side that lie down, have a lot of extremely good players and talent within their squad," he added.
Morgan has played 13 Tests for England and one of those was the now-infamous Lord's Test of 2010, during which Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were charged, and later convicted for a spot-fixing plot.
He offered an honest assessment of what it felt like to see cricketers he played against standing trial and then being sent to jail for actions which were partly carried out on the field of play.
"It's terrible to see, and being a part of the summer when it happened was devastating. To even be associated with that sort of thing - there should be a no tolerance policy. It's horrific."
He added that he hoped that the bans handed to the players and the custodial sentences would be enough to deter any other players from following the same path.
"I should certainly hope so; obviously time behind bars and a significant period of time away from the game should so anything else dishonouring the game shouldn't come into anyone's mind really."
A brighter note for Morgan, and indeed the whole England team, came when they beat India 4-0 in last summer's Test series to move to the top of the ICC Test rankings. During the series, they managed to nullify the threat of Sachin Tendulkar, who Morgan nevertheless backs to reach a landmark 100th international century - sooner rather than later.
"He's a frighteningly good cricketer, probably the best ever to grace the field. I have no doubt at some stage he will get there," he said.
Eoin Morgan endorses Slazenger V Series equipment. For more information, visit www.slazenger.com/cricket
© Cricket World 2011