All of a sudden, after a few thrilling limited-overs matches, English cricket is in a good place. The memory of a miserable World Cup has been banished with a sustained period of attacking play and the results have bred confidence.
A young group of free-flowing cricketers went through the five-game ODI series and one off T20 against New Zealand as victors, in doing so, have got the nation beckoning the Australians forward to contest the Ashes like a brash unbeaten boxer welcoming his next victim to the ring.
The man at the heart of those on-field performances was Eoin Morgan, who himself cut loose from the shackles of recent poor form to blaze a trail for his side when batting.
Although his final two knocks were not the best, the Irish-turned-Englisman scored 50, 88, 71 and 113 in the first four white-ball internationals of the summer.
His powerful, straight hitting looked back to its most powerful when out in the middle against the Black Caps and, in some corners, has prompted suggestions that he could be ready to return to the Test arena.
There is certainly a place in the Test team up for grabs, with Gary Ballance struggling in the two-match series against Brendon McCullum’s men earlier on in the summer and under increasing pressure.
While the country has now grown accustomed to watching England play an attacking brand of cricket, it seems the perfect opportunity to restore the man responsible for that switch to the five-day side.
Admittedly, Morgan hasn’t exactly prioritised red-ball cricket in recent months – missing the start of this season’s County Championship to play in the IPL – and has only one first-class match to his name this term.
However, with Michael Clarke’s side certain to come out swinging in typical pugnacious fashion, bringing a free-spirit into the hub of the batting order could be the perfect counter action.
Ian Bell and Joe Root could move up from numbers four and five respectively to cover Balance’s absence at first drop, with Morgan providing a dose of belligerence at number five.
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