'Morgan can handle World Cup pressure'

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Wellington, Feb 19: England batting coach Mark Ramprakash Thursday said Eoin Morgan's strength of character will see the captain come good at the ongoing World Cup.

World Cup Special

England face New Zealand here Friday, having lost their opening match against Australia by 111 runs.

File photo of Eoin Morgan

Morgan's captaincy was criticised and his form came under scrutiny following four ducks in his last five matches.

"In terms of handling the pressures you couldn't ask for a better character to be able to handle it," Ramprakash was quoted as saying by bbc.com.

"He's had this amazing run where he's found different ways to get out. If it was another person, another character, then I might have real cause for concern because I think it would weigh heavily on their mind."

Ramprakash, who played 52 Tests and 18 One-Day internationals (ODIs), praised the way Morgan has responded to taking over as ODI captain from Alastair Cook.

"I've been hugely impressed with the way Eoin's dealt with taking over the group but also the way he manages to differentiate between the captaincy and the leadership role with his own game," said Ramprakash.

"I would never say 'I think you should do this'. It's more throwing in the odd question and seeing how he feels. He thinks about his own game. He knows his strengths. So the onus of responsibility is on him because of his experience."

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who has played alongside Morgan with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), described the left-handed batsman as a "champion player" and a "tough bloke".

"I caught up with him last night but we didn't talk about it. He's one of my better mates from around the world in terms of cricket. He's going through a bit of a tough time at the moment, but tough times don't last, tough blokes do," said McCullum.

"Hopefully tomorrow we're able to keep him quiet but I am very confident at some point he'll bounce out of it because he's a quality player and a tough bloke too."

McCullum, meanwhile, said the co-hosts would be unchanged for their third group game following wins over Sri Lanka and Scotland.

They have won 10 of their last 12 matches and are one of the favourites to lift the trophy March 29.

"The guys have performed well so far. We want to give them the same opportunity again," he said.

"We think that the balance of the team that we're going in with will suit us well on this ground."

IANS

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