England batsman Ian Bell has predicted a bright future for Eoin Morgan following his first-Test heroics against Pakistan.
The Middlesex left-hander came in with England wobbling slightly on 118 for four in the first innings and went on to strike his first Test century. Morgan is now the 7/4 favourite to get the most English runs in the series.
Morgan had been thought of primarily as a one-day specialist, but shared a 219-run partnership with Paul Collingwood in tough conditions to boost his chances of being selected for the Ashes series this winter.
Bell, who is recovering from foot surgery after breaking his fifth metatarsal while fielding in the second ODI against Bangladesh, is almost certain to be heading Down Under.
But the Warwickshire batsman reckons Morgan has the potential to join the party.
He said: “It showed again that as a group and with more competition for places, a young player has come in and showed some real class when the team needed it and that’s what it’s all about.
“It was fantastic to watch a young player play like that. He’s got the ability to be in the game for a very long time.”
Bell reckons the England (8/13 to win the Ashes) selectors will have tough choices to make when it comes to deciding the squad to face Australia (9/4).
He said: “There’s obviously a lot of cricket to go. I’m lucky that those decisons aren’t mine to make.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan are confident Mohammad Yousuf will be cleared to travel to the UK in time for this week’s second Test against England.
On Monday, former national team captain Yousuf was prevented from joining up with his country’s squad because he did not have the correct visa.
Team manager Yawar Saeed expects the 35-year-old batsman to be given the green light to travel from Pakistan before heading out on Wednesday.
Saeed said: “He has a visa, it just that it needs to be converted into a sport visa, rather than a visitor visa. It’s just a technicality. I am very optimistic.” Yousuf is the 3/1 favourite to get the most Pakistani runs in the first innings of the seond Test.
England are clear 4/7 favourites to beat Pakistan in the second Test at Chester-le-Street. A more profitable bet would be to place money on a 4-0 series whitewash, at 11/4.