Morgan’s praise for role model Pietersen

Frank Dalleres
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STAND-IN England captain Eoin Morgan admits he is grateful to have star Test batsman Kevin Pietersen alongside him as he plots a repeat of last month’s Ashes triumph over Australia in the one-day series.

Pietersen is one of the few Ashes heroes not rested for the five-match ODI campaign, which starts today at Headingley, and Morgan believes his pedigree could prove invaluable to an otherwise callow squad.

“Kevin offers a hell of a lot as a senior player and as a batsman,” said Morgan, who hinted that Pietersen could open the batting in the absence of regular skipper Alastair Cook and Ian Bell.

“As a senior player, he leads by example with the confidence with which he goes about his business. People rub off on that and that’s crucial.

“When I first came into the team he was one of the more senior players and he was a guy you could turn to and ask difficult questions or have no hesitation in turning to him for a positive option.

“In that regard I think he’s fantastic to have in the squad and back in for the one-day series.”

Morgan did not feature during the Ashes but is hoping some eye-catching displays, such as his century against Ireland on Tuesday, can see him gatecrash the winter tour for the return series.

“At this stage I’m taking every innings as an opportunity to score runs and to prove what I’m capable of doing, and if that opportunity arrives at the end of the summer I’d be a very happy man,” he added.

“There are very few games left in the season, so every opportunity is a big one. The summer has been a stuttery one, I’ve been injured a lot and missed a lot of cricket.”