I ought to be careful with the above headline. After claiming that the bans handed out to Amir, Asif and Butt were a little harsh the other day, I’m about as popular as Kevin Pietersen at a one of Graeme Smith’s barbeques. A lot of people probably want me replaced! However, the question of whether or not my Irish namesake, Eoin, will be fit for the World Cup is much more pressing.
Our problem is this. Teams are allowed to request replacements for players injured during the tournament, but according to Cricinfo ‘exceptions for players with pre-existing injuries are highly unlikely’.
The latest news is that Morgan will be out for six weeks. Therefore, it’s conceivable that he could recover in time for the knockout phases. However, a fifteen man squad isn’t particularly big. If Morgan is going to miss the entire group stage, we’re going to be down to the bare bones during the early weeks of the tournament.
And what if Morgan’s recuperation takes longer than expected? It would be a big risk to take him – especially as he’s also our reserve wicketkeeper. The trouble is, he’s also probably our best ODI batsman. Perhaps it’s a risk worth taking?
From one point of view Eoin Morgan is irreplaceable. Nobody can match his range of shots or ability to finish games and bat with the tail. He’s also our only left hander in the middle-order (unless you count Broad). Therefore, it’s hard to find anyone who can fill his shoes.
The most likely candidates are Ravi Bopara, who has had some success on the subcontinent in the IPL, and Craig Kieswetter, who scored a century for the Lions recently. With conditions likely to suit the latter, and Andrew Strauss still searching for an attacking opening partner, perhaps our third string South African will get the nod. However, let’s not forget Steve Davies, who was unlucky to miss out in the first place.
So what would you do? Pin your hopes on Morgan doing a Lazarus, or replace him with someone who’s fully fit. In which case who would you call up? We’re a little undecided. However, one thing we know for sure is that the bans given to Amir, Asif and Butt were definitely too long. Just kidding.