England v Pakistan: Captain Eoin Morgan refusing to be rushed over decision to tour Bangladesh

SAFETY FEARS: Englands Eoin Morgan, left, celebrates Englands ODI success, but is uncertain over touring Bangladesh.
SAFETY FEARS: Englands Eoin Morgan, left, celebrates Englands ODI success, but is uncertain over touring Bangladesh.
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Eoin Morgan has set himself a deadline to decide within the next week whether he is prepared to lead England in Bangladesh.

Morgan has taken issue with reports of his ‘reluctance’ to travel at the end of this month, because of security concerns following this summer’s terror attack in Dhaka.

The Irishman also insists his decision is not pivotal to other players merely because he is captain of the limited-overs team, and has explained his inability to make up his mind yet is largely down to the fact England are in the middle of a one-day international series at home to Pakistan.

They have won three matches in the Royal London Series to open up a 4-0 lead, in fact, since the England and Wales Cricket Board’s security adviser Reg Dickason told them in a briefing last week that there is no reason to cancel the trip.

England are due to fly to Dhaka on September 29 for the tour’s limited-overs leg, which consists of one warm-up fixture and then three ODIs.

Test captain Alastair Cook has reportedly given private assurances that, on the basis of Dickason’s advice and the ECB’s subsequent decision to confirm the tour goes ahead, he will travel as required in early October.

A succession of England players have, however, failed to commit themselves in press conferences over the past week – citing, like Morgan, the twin priorities of being able to concentrate on the current series and then without extraneous safety concerns on the cricket in Bangladesh too.

The captain is thankful to the ECB for allowing him and his team-mates time to decide, but concedes that leeway will probably be up soon after the one-off NatWest Twenty20 at Old Trafford which ends England’s season next Wednesday.

“I would certainly like to think probably within a couple of days after that there will be something definitive,” Morgan said.

“I have not made my mind up. I will be taking as much time as I need.

“I would say in a short space of time it is a difficult one. But we have certainly been given the time by the ECB, which helps.”

It has been reported that Morgan’s own uncertainty is the prime reason for England putting back a squad announcement that was initially planned for next Friday.

Asked about his readiness or otherwise to venture to Bangladesh, following the siege of a Dhaka cafe which claimed 29 lives in July, Morgan said: “Reluctant isn’t the word.

“I think when so much information is thrown at you within two months of a terrorist attack you need to digest everything and be settled within yourself so you can go there and concentrate on cricket.”

Since Dickason’s briefing, following his fact-finding trip to Bangladesh, Morgan has had his focus on the pitch.

“We are in the middle of a series,” he said. “We have not had a great deal of time to think about it – we have played a number of one-day games, and have not had a great deal of downtime.

“I think we will take as much time as we need to make a decision, to feel comfortable and to feel safe.”

He does not agree that his status as captain means his decision carries extra weight.

“Absolutely not,” Morgan said. “It is a completely individual thing.

“The decision any individual makes within the side is the right one, and everybody will stand by whoever wants to go or not. I think that is very important.”

Morgan has led England to a 4-0 lead over Pakistan and the cusp of a historical achievement if they can wrap up a maiden 5-0 home whitewash in Cardiff tomorrow, and possibly a second next week when success in Manchester too would deliver a first unbeaten home summer in white-ball cricket.

“That will be a huge achievement,” Morgan said, after England’s latest four-wicket win at Headingley on Thursday.

“The performances we have put in, particularly (in Leeds) when we were not at our best, have shown great character and depth within the side.

“I think our best is good enough to beat most sides. It is just when we are off it is important other guys fall in behind – and (this win) proved that.”

Joe Root attempts to take a catch during a nets session at The Gabba, Brisbane on Tuesday (Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA Wire).

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