Cricket

Some sportsmen swear there is no substitute for match practice but England Twenty20 captain Eoin Morgan believes he is “twice the man” he was before an unscheduled month off.

Morgan will lead the Three Lions out in today’s one-off NatWest T20 against Australia at Cardiff having not played competitively since August 1.

After a run of poor form for Middlesex - the Dubliner averaged 26 in the shortest format, 10.16 in first-class cricket and just 6.66 in the Royal London Cup - he was granted a break by the county.

It is an unsual way for an England skipper to lead in to a match against the old enemy but Morgan believes it was just what he needed.

He found a sympathetic ear in Middlesex director of cricket Gus Fraser, though his role as an England selector might also have played a part.

“I was the one who brought it up. I sat down with Gus and discussed the pros and cons of it,” said Morgan.

“To start with Gus was very understanding and brilliant in the way he managed it, because he said the priority was English cricket.

“That is a tough decision to deal with as a director of a county team. I can’t imagine there are many county directors that would have taken English cricket as a priority over possibly Championship or one-day games.”