Dubliner Eoin Morgan backed to remain as England captain

Player led side to historic World Cup triumph with win over New Zealand in final

Prime minister Theresa May with England cricket captain Eoin Morgan and team-mates  outside Downing Street  ahead of a reception   to celebrate England’s victory in the ICC World Cup. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Prime minister Theresa May with England cricket captain Eoin Morgan and team-mates outside Downing Street ahead of a reception to celebrate England’s victory in the ICC World Cup. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

 

Eoin Morgan has been backed to remain as England captain for the foreseeable future after masterminding the World Cup victory that has sealed his place in the pantheon of British sporting immortals.

As the ticker-tape settled in the aftermath of England’s historic win over New Zealand at Lord’s, the 32-year-old said he would take time away from the game to consider whether he will still be worth his place in the team in four years’ time.

But before the next 50-over World Cup, due to be hosted by India in 2023, there is its Twenty20 equivalent in Australia late next year. And while England’s head coach, Trevor Bayliss, is due to end his stint after the upcoming Ashes series, he fancies Morgan will at least want to lead his side to a second trophy.

Speaking as his players followed a 5am finish to their celebrations at the team hotel with an appearance at the Oval yesterday, Bayliss said: “There is a T20 World Cup coming up in 12 months which I am sure he will be more than up for. [But] that will be an individual decision for him.

“Morgs is the leader of not just the guys in the team but off the field as well. He is the one who has really driven this forward. I think the rest of the boys try and run through a brick wall for him and the effort that Ben Stokes put in yesterday was just an example of that.”

Jos Buttler, whose sharp gather from Jason Roy’s throw ran out Martin Guptill and secured England’s first men’s World Cup, would be the natural successor to Morgan given his current status as vice-captain.

Incredible job

But when asked about Morgan’s future, Buttler replied: “I hope he continues, he has done an incredible job. He is the best captain we’ve ever had and all of us love playing under him. We are all very hopeful. There is no reason to stop is there? There is plenty of life in him yet.”

If Morgan’s imprint on this England team is unquestionable, then so too is that of Bayliss. The Australian was hired back in 2015 by Andrew Strauss, then director of cricket, off the back of a strong white-ball CV in a bid to end England’s shambolic record at World Cups.

Bayliss was not immediately sure if he could deliver on the brief but by empowering Morgan and creating a relaxed player-led environment, he now feels the end result has supported his commitment to aggressive, positive cricket.

Bayliss said: “It’s justification for how we went about it for the last four years. At different times we have copped a bit of criticism but we had an end goal in mind and this is the result.

“I wasn’t sure [when I started] but it was certainly a country with a long history of cricket and I knew that they desperately wanted to do better than they had been doing. [I was told] no stone would be left unturned in an effort to get that World Cup.”

Bayliss had no doubts over the talents of Ben Stokes. He stuck by him during his well-documented off-field troubles resulting from the 2017 Bristol incident and saw this rewarded with the unbeaten 84 that rescued England in the final. Bayliss said: “I don’t want this taken out of context but he is a real fighter. What he did yesterday was extraordinary.”

Asked if he doubted Stokes could resurrect his career after Bristol, Bayliss replied: “If there was one guy who could come back from that sort of adversity he was the one. I’m really happy he was able to show what he can do on a big stage. He is a leader of people off the field as well and not just on it. Everyone in the team is so happy for him.”

Turnaround

Stokes, slightly bleary-eyed, ahead of the team’s visit to Number 10 Downing Street, said: “We deserved to be in the final for what we’ve done over the last four years. We would have been devastated if we hadn’t managed to lift that trophy.

“Everyone here deserves to feel like a champion because we’ve just won it but when it comes to the Ashes this summer, it’s going to be heads on because it has to be. We may be world champions but also want to be Ashes winners as well.”

The turnaround is indeed a quick one, with a four-day Test versus Ireland at Lord’s starting a week tomorrow before the five-match bid to regain the Ashes from Australia begins at Edgbaston on August 1st.

England’s squads are due to be selected in the coming days ahead of a training camp at the FA’s St George’s Park this weekend. Some cross-format players may well be rested for Ireland’s inaugural Test in England, while there are also injuries to overcome.

Mark Wood suffered a side strain during the final – the severity of which is not yet known – and Jofra Archer nursed a similar complaint throughout the campaign.

– Guardian

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