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Eoin Morgan carrying his T20I form into the Indian T20 League bodes well for England’s World Cup aspirations

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England’s World Cup-winning ODI captain Eoin Morgan will fancy his chances of cementing his legacy as the country’s greatest-ever white-ball skipper at the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup in India.

The left-hander from Dublin has come a long way since making his ODI debut for Ireland in August 2006 and aged like wine fine after switching allegiances and joining the England national team in 2009.

With England, there’s not much that he hasn’t won. Part of England’s T20I World Cup-winning squad in 2010, Morgan top-scored during the English’s group games against West Indies and Ireland.

The destructive southpaw who was the top-scorer in England’s Super Eights game against New Zealand in the 2010 T20I World Cup has gone from strength to strength in the English setup, especially in the limited-overs formats.

Tasked with the unenviable mission of making England a powerhouse in the limited-over formats following their dismal display at the 2015 ODI World Cup, it’s safe to say that Morgan has exceeded expectations and will retire as one of England’s finest, if not their finest skipper in the shorter formats of the game.

Under his captaincy, England emerged as a more aggressive team that preferred playing their cricket on the front foot and always being on the attack. Their new mantra paved the way for a new generation of English talents who, under Morgan’s guidance, revolutionised their batsmen’s approach to the game.

This change of approach was vindicated after it eventually culminated in a fascinating win for England in the ODI World Cup last year, which was the first in the history of the country.

Regardless of everything else that happens between now and the end of his career, nothing will change the fact that he was the first captain to ever lift an ODI World Cup trophy for England.

That said, one wouldn’t put it past Morgan to even better his legacy before he calls it a day, and judging by his form in T20Is since last year, it’s easy to understand why.

Player

Matches

Runs

Average

Strike Rate

Eoin Morgan (England)

17

506

38.92

173.28

Ross Taylor (New Zealand)

16

442

31.57

127.74

Muhammad Usman (UAE)

19

383

23.93

131.61

Richie Berrington (Scotland)

15

380

31.66

140.22

Tamoor Sajjad (Qatar)

15

380

34.54

135.71

*T20Is matches from 2019-2020

Not only is his average of 38.92 in T20Is over the last year better than his career average of 30.27, but his strike rate of 173.28 from 2019 to 2020 is also much better than his overall strike rate of 138.95 in the shortest format of the game.

Morgan has scored five of his 14 career T20I fifties over the last year, including his best of 91, which he made off just 41 balls against New Zealand last November.

Furthermore, he’s the leading run-getter in T20Is in the past year with 506, ahead of the likes of Ross Taylor, Kieron Pollard and Mohammad Nabi. His strike rate of 173.28 from 2019 to 2020 isn’t bettered by any of the top 10 run-scorers over the last year either.

The fact that he’s in such good nick can only bode well for England’s T20Is World Cup aspirations next year.

Unlikely to change their successful formula, expect the England skipper and his boys to go all guns blazing in pursuit of the grandest prize in the game’s youngest international format as Morgan eyes becoming the first captain to hold both the ODI and T20I World Cup trophies simultaneously.

Having said that, it’s worth pointing out that winning the T20I World Cup in India will be easier said than done. Lest we forget, his numbers in the T20Is in India and the Indian T20 League, in particular, doesn’t exactly inspire confidence at first glance.

After six seasons and 52 Indian T20 League matches, Morgan has scored 854 runs at an average of 21.35 and strike rate of 121.13. However, the Irish-born English captain will be looking to improve that record in the upcoming edition of the Indian T20 League in UAE.

With conditions in UAE similar to India’s, Morgan can make use of the upcoming Indian T20 League by acclimatising to his surroundings and getting a better understanding of what to expect next year.

He can view the upcoming Indian T20 League as somewhat of a dress rehearsal for the T20I World Cup next year and look to better his numbers in domestic T20's biggest stage.

If Morgan can carry his recent T20I form into the Indian T20 League, expect fireworks from the often belligerent left-hander as he looks to get some runs under his belt in India with the long-term view of doing the same in the T20I World Cup next year and winning the tournament.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Mike Hewitt

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