England player Eoin Morgan has reportedly opted against playing in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) this season, signaling his intent to better serve his Test career by playing county cricket this spring.
Middlesex announced that Morgan would be their captain in 50-over and Twenty20 cricket this season, although he surprised the county's director of cricket Angus Fraser, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and even his agent by tweeting his decision less than 48 hours before the start of the auction in Bangalore.
According to The Guardian, although Morgan offered no explanations, he is speculated to have met with new ECB managing director Paul Downton, although he may miss the start of the county season if England reaches the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
However, the report mentioned that Morgan should still have at least three Championship matches in which to stake his claim in red-ball cricket before the start of the one-day series against Sri Lanka in mid-May.
Although Morgan has fallen well down the Test reckoning since winning the last of his 16 caps against Pakistan in Dubai two years ago, but the landscape of the England middle order has changed considerably with the sacking of Kevin Pietersen and doubts over whether Jonathan Trott will be considered again after his abrupt departure in Ashes.
Other contenders for Test places such as Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jos Buttler had already forsaken the IPL auction, which should ensure more interest in the early weeks of the county season than for many years, the report added.