Revolutionary England captain Eoin Morgan has called it a day on his white-ball international cricket career. After one half-century in his last 48 innings of domestic and international cricket, which ended with two ducks in the Netherlands, the time has come.
On the eve of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Morgan was appointed captain, but England's prospects were in ruins when they were eliminated in the group stage. Following his transition from Ireland to England in 2009, Morgan not only scored 13 One Day International (ODI) centuries for England, but his calm leadership style allowed bowlers like Adil Rashid to thrive. He was also an advocate for the team's diversity. After the 2019 World Cup final, he is credited with remarking that "Allah was with us" and that they had "the rub of the green" in reference to the team's variety in terms of ethnic backgrounds and cultures.
During the four years between the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, England won 16 of their 20 bilateral ODI series, climbed to No. 1 in the rankings, and broke the ODI total world record thrice as players like Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy and Ben Stokes delivered on their attacking mandates.
The one that got away was the 2016 T20 World Cup final loss to the West Indies, as well as the semi-final loss to New Zealand. It is unclear if Morgan will join the England team's backroom staff, but he will continue to play domestic cricket, including in his capacity as captain of the London Spirit men's squad in The Hundred.
Because of the T20 World Cup later this year in Australia, which will be played on fields that should be ideal for England's army of hitters, Morgan has allowed his successor - most likely Jos Buttler - and head coach Matthew Mott enough time to get to know one another. But it's unlikely that his retirement will put a halt to the seven-year transformation.
If England go on to unify the T20 title with the 50-over silverware Morgan won at the Home of Cricket on July 14, 2019, his legacy will only be further enhanced. That’s because Buttler will take charge of not just a team in Morgan's image but a generation of cricketers all the way down the pyramid who play in the style he dictated.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports: “Eoin has been the most influential white-ball cricketer England have ever had.
“He’s been our best white-ball captain, and he has been a fantastic player.
“And he gave us the best moment in English white-ball cricket that we’ve ever had, at Lord’s. It was an incredible day, an incredible finale, and a lot of it was down to the skipper,” Hussain added.
Morgan played a total of 248 ODIs, scoring 7,701 runs at an average of almost 40. He made 14 hundreds and 47 fifties, with a high score of 148. His T20 record boasts of 115 matches and 2,458 runs, at an average of 28.58 and a strike rate of 136.17.
Meanwhile, Morgan announced his retirement from all forms of domestic and franchise cricket too after playing the inaugural edition of the SA20 in February 2023.
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Featured photo: Glyn KIRK / AFP