Salisbury JournalMorgan focused on England (From Salisbury Journal)

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Morgan focused on England

Salisbury Journal: Eoin Morgan will not feature in this year's IPL Eoin Morgan will not feature in this year's IPL

Eoin Morgan's decision to skip this year's Indian Premier League provides some much-needed encouragement for beleaguered England.

A miserable winter of discontent continued on Sunday when the England and Wales Cricket Board's explanation for the controversial end of Kevin Pietersen's international career met with a decidedly mixed public and expert reaction on social media.

Morgan, however, has perhaps helped to start forging the future of "trust" so high on the ECB's agenda by saying 'no thankyou' on this occasion to the riches available at the IPL.

Competition will hot up at the start of this summer to replace Pietersen in England's Test team, and 27-year-old Irishman Morgan has made his intentions clear to put himself in the frame for a recall.

He announced via Twitter that, having played for Kolkata Knight Riders and Bangalore Royal Challengers in previous IPL seasons, he has thought again about entering this week's annual player auction.

While Pietersen is free to go to the highest bidder on Wednesday, Morgan's name - one of 11 then England-qualified players initially listed for the auction - is no longer in the mix.

He tweeted: "I would like to thank @IPL for accepting my request to withdraw from this years auction. Good luck with the tournament."

Morgan played the last of his 16 Tests in early 2012, when he appeared to be the fall guy of England's 3-0 defeat against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

But the Middlesex left-hander has continued to impress in the shorter formats, most recently as England's most reliable batsman in their limited-overs series defeats against Australia this winter.

England's management stressed, after their 5-0 Ashes drubbing in Australia, that all prospective Test players will be expected to augment their credentials in county championship cricket before the first of this summer's two series - against Sri Lanka in June.

The resignation last month of team director Andy Flower is not thought to have altered those ground rules.

The sudden and apparently terminal elimination of Pietersen as an inked-in number four will surely also focus the minds of all his potential successors.

Any involvement in the seven-and-a-half-week IPL in April and May would obviously have impacted on availability for the relevant county fixtures.

Morgan, recently named Middlesex's new limited-overs captain as well as Stuart Broad's official deputy in England's Twenty20 team, has therefore sent the ECB a welcome message.

His apparent readiness to play as much county cricket as he can follows another troubled week for the national governing body.

In Sunday's press release to explain the reasons for axing Pietersen - England's all-time record run-scorer across all formats - the ECB cited an issue of "trust" which is considered paramount to help Test and one-day international captain Alastair Cook forge a team for the future.

Critiques currently abound over the management of the 33-year-old's shock enforced exit.

Rugby union World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward, for example, told the BBC on Monday that English cricket is living in a "bygone era" if - as he perceives - captain and administrators can make major decisions which override the coach.

As England try to lay the foundations for a revival, they will soon have to identify and appoint a permanent replacement for Flower.

Limited-overs coach Ashley Giles, whose teams lost back-to-back short-format series in Australia after the Ashes, will continue in charge for the forthcoming trip to West Indies and the ICC World Twenty20 which follows in Bangladesh.

He and his employers can be heartened, in the meantime, by Morgan's demonstration of his commitment - along with that of rising stars Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, both of whom could presumably have commanded lucrative IPL deals but have also resisted that temptation.

Ian Bell, who shares the same agent as Pietersen, and Ravi Bopara are the only England-qualified players still in both the Test match reckoning and this week's IPL auction.

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