Morgan puts England before IPL
Eoin Morgan has promised that his England place will always come before a money-spinning turn in the Indian Premier League.
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The English cricketing schedule is in direct conflict with the lucrative Twenty20 competition - a sensitive situation that has come to a head in the fallout from the Kevin Pietersen saga.
Morgan's Kolkata Knight Riders deal makes him one of the few England players with an IPL contract other than Pietersen, who could earn up to 31.2million a season with the Delhi Daredevils.
Pietersen faces an uncertain international future after sending inappropriate text messages to opponents in the South Africa side and team director Andy Flower has pointed to the IPL a possible "catalyst" for a series of events that led to the batsman being dropped for the third Test.
Pietersen has previously been made available to the IPL for a limited period but it is believed he was keen to stay for a full campaign next year, therefore skipping two home Tests against New Zealand.
He bizarrely took to YouTube to recommit himself to England, a gesture which has yet to pay dividends, and Morgan has confirmed he will always give England precedence.
The Dubliner, who will line up against the Proteas in Tuesday's second one-day international, is currently out of the Test reckoning but would gladly cast aside his KKR commitments for another chance.
"If it came about that I was back in the team during the IPL I'd be the happiest bloke in the world," he said.
"If I'm involved in international cricket, it always takes priority and if I'm within one or two positions (of a recall) I'll probably make the decision myself to come back and play county cricket.
"The bigger picture for me is playing Test cricket.
"The IPL has been around now for five years and nothing has changed. There are always conflicting schedules no matter which country you play with.
"If you can play great, if you can't no worries.
"As a 15-year-old I came across to England to play Test cricket. It's always been my priority. Nothing can ever come close to the stuff you experience as a winning Test match side."
As it stands an extended, or even permanent, England exile for Pietersen could work in Morgan's favour.
He has been an undisputed first choice since his Test bow in 2005 and, should England decide their relationship with him is beyond repair, Morgan would be among those circling for his position.
While he would not be drawn directly on that, he remains fully focused on what he needs to do to catch the eye of the selectors.
"You never know how far away you are," he said.
"To be involved in the England Lions helped and gives you an indication you're in the frame but I think I've got to a stage now where I don't take anything for granted.
"If the call comes hopefully I'll be in a good place to take the chance.
"When anybody gets dropped they need to show that they're in substantial form and score enough runs to justify their position in the side, show they've come back a better player. Looking back I'm a better player than I was at the start of the year."
South Africa captain AB de Villiers echoed Morgan in placing his national side before his Royal Challengers Bangalore contract.
South Africa's schedule means De Villiers does not have the same choices as England players to make, but he hopes there is a constructive resolution to the Pietersen episode.
"It's different for me, I'm not there in my career. I love playing for my country and I want to for many years to come," he said.
"I'm not in Kevin's shoes and I don't know what he's thinking but I hope to see him back soon.
"We all want to play in the IPL and I'm sure he can do that and still play for England. We'll see soon."
De Villiers is expecting to be without Dale Steyn (neck) and Albie Morkel (ankle) for Tuesday's match at the Ageas Bowl, meaning South Africa should name an unchanged XI from the washout in Cardiff.