Is Eoin Morgan England's best one-day international captain ever?

Is Eoin Morgan England's best one-day international captain ever?

Published on: Sep 25, 2020

There is an old saying, "Tough times never last, but tough people do!" That quote resonates well with the story of a ice-cool Irishman, who changed the brand of English cricket. Eoin Morgan's cricketing journey started when the Irishman made his ODI debut for Ireland back in 2006, but the British passport holder by birth only had one dream growing up in Dublin, that to play Test cricket.

Two months before the biggest event in ODI cricket, the Cricket World Cup, the then English captain Alastair Cook decided to step down from his role, and Eoin Morgan was given the honour of captaining the English side to lead them into a World Cup campaign. Eoin Morgan, who had been around the English side for quite some time, had the experience but what he did not have was time on his hands to bring his ideas to live and impose the his brand of cricket.

This eventually did not do any good for England as at that point as they entered the World Cup underperforming and with a new captain who was finding his feet. The departure in the league stage of the 2015 Cricket World Cup is still one of the lowest points in English cricket history. Morgan wasn’t in a great spot himself with his only bat managing to get 90 runs in 5 innings, and then to cap it all off was a loss to Bangladesh. England was devastated, and Morgan, the leader, was being doubted.

Then the ECB made the decision to appoint former England Captain Andrew Strauss as the team director, and against all the odds, he decided to keep Morgan on as captain.

One of the first and tough calls Strauss had to make as the director was whether to stick with Morgan as captain in the limited-overs after a such an embarrassment. It can be extremely easy to look past a player who was in poor form himself and suffered a loss as important as that, but full marks to Andre Strauss for sticking with Eoin Morgan and entrusting belief in the leader.

Morgan set the tone, showing the fearless brand of cricket he wanted to instill in that England side. Morgan averaged 58 in ODIs and what stood out was his strike rate of 101.75 with 754 runs in only 14 innings. That was a start and a sample of what he wanted to achieve with English cricket. This paved the roadmap for every part of the English side, which led to guys like Jason Roy, Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow being at the top of the order.

England then decided to bring out flat tracks at home to support their style of play, and this started paying rich dividends. Despite Morgan's below-par year in 2016, he had done enough in that first phase to bring the environment around the team that he wanted to see.

Morgan has notched up astounding numbers as captain so far post the debacle of the 2015 CWC; he has only lost 25 games and won 62 in the same time. The 2019 World Cup will have easily been his most significant achievement as captain. Still, it was in 2018 when England amassed the world record total of 481-6 against an Aussie side that were still World Champions, that cricket fans started to take real notice of how good of a side this England side was. The new brand of English cricket he desired had arrived.

Morgan's World Cup campaign in 2019 stands out for the knock against an impressive Afghanistan team, where he scored 148 runs from just 71 balls at SR of above 200 with a record 17 sixes. He scored 371 runs in 10 innings in the CWC19 campaign at an average of 41 and a strike rate of 111.07. These numbers would not have mattered for Morgan if they did not go on to beat the odds and clinch the World Cup in their backyard with conditions suited for their style of cricket. The England team were massive underdogs going into the final, with an average of 2/1 odds, according to bookmakers. If you want to place any bets on cricket in the future, you can use this page with cricket betting sites for 2020.

When Morgan eventually hangs his boots up one day, there will be many fans talking about Eoin Morgan, the captain who won England their first Cricket World Cup. Still, the legacy Morgan would have left behind, and the impact he has had on English limited-overs cricket will be the more significant achievement for him.