Eoin Morgan defended the Indian Premier League as he prepared to captain England in their lone Twenty20 international against India at Edgbaston on Sunday. (Alastair Cook says he got no ODI captaincy assurances)
England great Ian Botham used his MCC Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's earlier this week to call for the domestic Indian Twenty20 franchise competition to be shut down, saying it was "too powerful" and that it "compounded" the problem of corruption within world cricket. (MS Dhoni & Co. peaking at the right time, can defend WC title)
But Middlesex batsman Morgan, one of the few current England internationals with IPL experience, insisted playing in the tournament had been hugely beneficial in his development as a cricketer. (Kevin Pietersen slams 'selfish' Alastair Cook)
"Certainly my experience of the IPL, I thought wonders of it," the 27-year-old former Ireland international told a news conference at Edgbaston on Saturday. (Virat Kohli's nightmare in England ends)
"I spent four seasons playing with Jacques Kallis, one with Rahul Dravid, Brendon McCullum, Brett Lee, guys I would never have had an opportunity to play with and learn from solely playing at Middlesex, so I'm very grateful for that," explained Morgan.
"The experience of watching the very best go about their business is huge. (Raina delivers in England, but what next?)
"I think it made me a more skilful player both in Twenty20 and 50-over cricket," added Morgan, who represented both the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
"Being thrown-in in those situations, playing in front of huge crowds, is awesome and a tough experience but one that holds you in good stead down the line."
With Alastair Cook heavily criticised for his tactics as England one-day captain by the likes of one of his predecessor Michael Vaughan, Morgan has been touted as an alternative skipper come next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
But left-handed middle-order shotmaker Morgan, even more than opener Cook, has struggled for runs lately, managing just 198 in his last 10 ODI innings.
"It's been extremely disappointing. I've worked incredibly hard this year on my all-round game and I have been light on runs," said Morgan."
But England will at least go into Sunday's match buoyed by their 41-run ODI victory at Headingley, with Joe Root making a hundred on his Yorkshire home ground.
Victory prevented a whitewash, although world champions India still won the series 3-1.
"It was a huge boost," said Morgan, Middlesex's one-day captain.
"But for us to stand up yesterday (Friday), and for Joe to put in the extremely skilful performance that he did, in difficult circumstances, was exceptional."
- Cook respect -
Morgan, who last led England in May during a nine-run Twenty20 defeat by Sri Lanka at The Oval and in a colossal 157-run ODI loss to the Islanders at Chester-le-Street, insisted captaincy did not hamper his batting.
And despite seeing Cook put through the wringer this season, Morgan, again deputising as England Twenty20 captain for the injured Stuart Broad, said he still retained his enthusiasm for leadership.
"I enjoy it, particularly the tactical side of it.
"Not being an all-rounder, fielding can become quite tedious and you try and improve anything you can, to have that extra bit of weight on your shoulders, to be thinking about the game two or three overs ahead then you normally would be I think is a good challenge and one I enjoy."
However, Morgan became the latest England player to insist Cook -- who does not play T20 internationals -- should captain the side in both their upcoming ODI tour of Sri Lanka and at the World Cup.
"I have a huge amount of respect for him, both as a player and as a captain, and again I look forward to him leading the side out come Sri Lanka and come the World Cup."