Eoin Morgan admits he needed to find out if the 'drive' was still there to captain England at Twenty20 World Cup as his side gear up for series opener against New Zealand
Eoin Morgan has admitted he needed to discover if he still enjoyed cricket before committing to the captaincy for next year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.
Director of cricket Ashley Giles confirmed last month that Morgan would lead the team as they bid to add the 20-over trophy to the 50-over World Cup won in memorable fashion at Lord’s in July.
But on the eve of England’s five-match T20 series in New Zealand, Morgan said he did not want to rule out remaining in the job for the following T20 World Cup too, which takes place in India in 2021. By then, he will be 35.
Eoin Morgan needed to find out whether he still had the hunger to be England captain
Asked what, beyond the state of his perennially troublesome back, influenced his decision to stay on in the role, he replied: ‘If I was enjoying it. Coming back for Middlesex was a bit unnerving – not knowing how I’d feel going out to bat or back in the field.
‘But certainly the drive was there, and after the T20 Blast finished I took a couple of weeks to think about things, and the next year became clearer.
‘I won’t say I’ll be finished after the next World Cup, as I’d be afraid I’ll only creep over the line and maybe fall off. I don’t want to let anyone down. I want to drive through the World Cup in Australia and then make a call after that.’
Dawid Malan (pictured) could partner Jonny Bairstow at the top of the order for England
Morgan’s immediate task is to sprinkle his white-ball magic on a youthful 20-over side that will attempt to beat New Zealand without the likes of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Joe Root or Jofra Archer – all rested after a gruelling summer.
And though the New Zealanders regard the tourists’ inexperience as their best chance of hitting back after their Lord’s trauma, Morgan believes the events of the summer can serve England well as they set about trying to live up to their No 2 world ranking – four places ahead of their opponents.
England: Bairstow, Malan, Vince, Morgan (capt), Denly, Billings (wkt), Gregory, T Curran, Jordan, Rashid, Mahmood.
New Zealand: Guptill, Munro, Seifert (wkt), Taylor, Mitchell, Neesham, de Grandhomme, Santner, Sodhi, Southee (capt), Ferguson.
‘I think it gives us confidence, knowing we can do it against the best in the world,’ he said. ‘We’ve got pretty much every base covered.’
That may not quite apply to the squad out here, with England facing tough choices after a pair of warm-up games brought a solid win and a crushing defeat.
Dawid Malan, whose five T20 appearances have yielded four fifties, could partner Jonny Bairstow at the top of the order after Somerset newcomer Tom Banton failed twice in Lincoln, while all-rounder Lewis Gregory and fast bowler Saqib Mahmood are set to win their first caps.
But they will come up against a seasoned New Zealand side missing only their injured captain Kane Williamson – and with a point to prove after their agonising defeat in the World Cup final.
Ross Taylor says he is over the disappointment of the ODI World Cup final defeat
No conversation with a member of their dressing-room is complete without a check on their wellbeing after they were denied the trophy on boundary countback – a rule since abolished by the ICC. Veteran batsmen Ross Taylor was the latest to reveal his state of mind.
‘I’ve got three young kids,’ he said. ‘Two of them remember it, and one has no idea what happened, which is pretty humbling. The sun comes up and you move on.
‘You get over the disappointment and you accept you played in one of the greatest, if not the greatest, one-day games of all time. It is a strange feeling when you come home and talk to people and you're apologising for not winning the World Cup but they quickly tell you it was a tie.'