Eoin looking to own the lot

As England return to the scene of their most recent one day crime (they lost 5-0 to India in 2011) they bring only half of a quartet of young batsmen battling for just a few spots across all formats.

As England return to the scene of their most recent one day crime (they lost 5-0 to India in 2011) they bring only half of a quartet of young batsmen battling for just a few spots across all formats.

Joe Root has no such immediate worries in that he excelled on Test debut. Whatever happens over the next fortnight, Root, who has already emerged as a favourite amongst those who like to <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet/cricket' class='instorylink'>bet on cricket</a>, looks to have a sound temperament and technique. Jonny Bairstow played superbly against South Africa in a pressure cooker environment last summer, but has displayed some technical deficiencies.

His one chance in the recent Test came and went due to poor shot selection and lack of knowledge of the rules. Bairstow misses the second leg of the tour on compassionate leave due to a family illness. The jury is still out but probably favourable long-term.

The black sheep of the quartet, and an unfancied option by bookmakers like <a href='http://www.paddypower.com' class='instorylink'>Paddy Power</a>, Ravi Bopara, looks to have cried off international duty altogether after personal problems and a collapse in form. It just seems that England and Bopara were never meant to be permanent bedfellows. This leaves the Irish Englishman, Eoin Morgan, in a slightly stronger position to try and reclaim a spot in the most enduring form of the game.

Everybody knows where Morgan excels. His average of 40 overall in the ODI game cannot be a surprise to anyone who has seen his range of creative shot and skill. He was born to it. Stepping in as captain for the injured Stuart Broad in the recent Twenty20 outings has done no harm for his overall profile and confidence. Hitting a six to win a match always feels good.

The 26-year-old has a sound cricket brain and a flair that not many possess, but too often there is a perceived and apparent weakness in a five day match. Morgan has never really done it against a skilled Test attack apart from a 130 against Pakistan in 2010 and a century against a demoralised India in 2011. 2013 is the time to find out whether he is forever to be pigeonholed as Neil Fairbrother or Michael Bevan once were.

While Australia's Phil Hughes has boldly announced that he aims to become a complete batsman in all three arenas, Morgan must surely aim for a similar scenario before time and prejudice both form an impenetrable barrier. There is no doubt that the path back will be tough.

Last year did not start well when the Middlesex batsman was the fall guy for England's drubbing in the Emirates against Pakistan. He was left out of the subsequent party to tour Sri Lanka. A contracted stint for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL meant that the first half of 2012 was not exactly a good advert for a swift return.

Andy Flower suggested the left-hander needed to give 'some serious thought to his method in Test cricket' while Angus Fraser opined that 'the way to improve your red-ball cricket, as it's termed these days, is to play it.'

Although a long-term contract with Middlesex was secured in October, his 49-ball century against Lancashire in June was a first for the county in three years. It was also achieved in the 40 over game.

Morgan's first class average of 34 is what counts against him. England fast tracked his entry into the limited overs game but no such favours can be forthcoming now. The Ashes await this summer.

There is still time to make an impression. In June, he admitted to feeling a long way off a spot. However, with Samit Patel and Bopara seemingly out of the picture, perhaps Morgan can finally grasp the third and potentially most satisfying leg of his England career.

<b>Tim Ellis</b>>