Eoin Morgan Reflects on England’s ODI Turnaround

Written by Vipin Darwade

The top-ranked One-Day International side, England will go into the 2019 World Cup as favourites and it’s something that skipper Eoin Morgan and his team have come in terms with.

“Well we’re managing quite well at the moment and have done for the last eight or six months,” Morgan told The Telegraph (UK).

“We’ve gone into every series for the last year and a half as favourites. And we’ve grown in confidence by dealing with that. It’s something we’ve come to terms with, we see it as a huge opportunity not only to win some silverware but inspire a new generation as well.

“One of the big confidence boosters for us is that we can win a game with the ball or the bat. That’s something we didn’t have at the last World Cup.

“We could win the game with the ball, with Jimmy [Anderson] or Broady [Stuart Broad] with the new ball, they’d take two or three early wickets and we’d be on the front foot before we’d even started. And we could chase down anything south of 270, which is great, but sides were scoring 330. We didn’t have those capabilities with the bat. It’s great that we have both at the moment.”

Things, however, weren’t the same for England when they featured in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The Morgan-led side were humiliated in front of the whole world for playing old-dated cricket as they failed to qualify for the knockouts.

“It’s probably best to start at the 2015 World Cup and actually what came out of it. I think in essence – extremely poor performance. And I think we got what we deserved in many ways, because we weren’t competing with the best in the world at the time, we were playing a brand of cricket that was dated, and we weren’t adapting to any trends that had happened in the six to eight months leading into that 2015 World Cup,” Morgan reflected.

“We needed to play aggressive cricket. We also needed the freedom to select guys for a prolonged period of time and back them in the way we wanted to play. I think that’s allowed us to grow as a team.”

Former captain Andrew Strauss was then appointed as director of cricket, and alongside Morgan, he completely changed the way England go about their business in limited-overs cricket. Strauss left his job as director of cricket to be with his wife Ruth, who died in December, aged 46, but by then England had already emerged as a dominant force in the ODI format.

Morgan, who has led the country 90 times in ODIs, recalled how Strauss conceived the change to attacking cricket, breaking the tradition of executive self-preservation.

“He selected me for England when he was captain, he backed me when I was first involved – so there’s a huge amount of debt to Andrew. You can’t emphasise enough – to take on that role and make decisions like he did, straight away – not a lot of people do that,” said Morgan.

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Vipin Darwade