Alastair Cook ‘gutted’ at missing out on World Cup
English selector James Whitaker backs Dubliner Eoin Morgan to be success as new one-day skipper
Eoin Morgan scored just 90 runs in seven innings against Sri Lanka, but the Dubliner has been backed to thrive in his new role as England one-day captain. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
The decision to remove Cook as leader of the 50-over side inevitably overshadowed the announcement on Saturday morning of England’s 15-man squad for next month’s tri-series and then the World Cup which begins on February 14th.
Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes is also a notable absentee from that group, while the included Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance would appear to be a major beneficiary of Cook’s axing, a choice that has created shockwaves in the last 24 hours and one that has left the left-handed opener reeling.
Cook said: “I am gutted to be left out of the World Cup squad, and it is likely to take me a while to get over the disappointment.
“That said I wish (coach) Peter (Moores), Eoin and the lads all the best for the World Cup.
“I would also like to thank all the players and fans who have supported me during my time as one-day captain.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) officially confirmed its decision to remove Cook and replace him with Morgan on Saturday morning, after news of the change at the top first emerged on Friday evening.
Cook, who will be 30 on Christmas Day, has paid the price for his and his team’s poor one-day international form over the past year, having made just one ODI half-century in his last 22 attempts, and led his country to five successive series defeats.
His fate was decided by national selector James Whitaker and colleagues Moores, Angus Fraser and Mick Newell, even though coach Moores and England cricket managing director Paul Downton had recently expressed their support for Cook.
Whitaker said: “It’s unfortunate from Alastair’s point of view but we feel that we’ve now given Peter and the coaches the best possible 15 to do well in the World Cup.
“He (Cook) is gutted. There has been a lot of pressure on Alastair, he’s taken it well, he’s carried a lot of weight for English cricket over a number of months and I feel for him, I really do. But we hope he’ll return strong and mentally refreshed, and lead us again.”
Cook led England in six of their seven ODI matches in Sri Lanka, where they lost 5-2 and he made just 119 runs at 19.83 although Morgan, 28, has also been in a trough of form with the bat, with just one half-century in his last 19 innings.
Morgan made 90 at 12.85 and was in charge in the other fixture, a defeat for which Cook was banned because of an over-rate offence.
England have decided nonetheless he is the new captain who represents their best hope of winning the World Cup for the first time.
Morgan said: “It is a huge honour to captain England, and I am delighted to be leading the one-day side.
“I firmly believe that with the players currently involved in the one-day set-up we have the makings of a very good one-day side, a young side that can surprise people at the World Cup.”
Whitaker is unconcerned by Morgan’s current slump with the bat, adding: “He’s had historical form, we believe he’ll have future form as well and this could be the catalyst to reignite that.
“We feel (the captaincy) energises him, he’s very keen and passionate to do the job and his style will be slightly different and we honestly believe that he can do a very good job.”
Former Ireland opening bowler Boyd Rankin has been named in the second-string England Lions squad for their tour to South Africa, including their one-day squad.
England one-day squad for the tri-series against Australia and India and the ICC Cricket World Cup: Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, capt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire; wicketkeeper); Steven Finn (Middlesex), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Joe Root (Yorkshire), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).
England Lions four-day squad for the tour of South Africa: Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire; capt), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire), Sam Billings (Kent), Jack Brooks (Yorkshire), Matthew Dunn (Surrey), Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Adam Lyth (Yorkshire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Adam Riley (Kent), Sam Robson (Middlesex), James Vince (Hampshire), Mark Wood (Durham).
England Lions one-day squad: Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire), Sam Billings (Kent), Jack Brooks (Yorkshire), Harry Gurney (Nottinghamshire), Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Adam Lyth (Yorkshire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Stephen Parry (Lancashire), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), James Vince (Hampshire).