English skipper Eoin Morgan has stated that former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum inspired him to become an attacking captain that in turn helped in England's reinvention in the 50-over format. England will take on fierce rivals Australia today at Edgbaston in a bid to eliminate them.
New Zealand was the first victim of the new and rejuvenated English side that handed the Blackcaps a thumping 210-run defeat at Edgbaston, the same venue where England face Australia today, after the Three Lions witnessed a disaster of sorts after being eliminated from the group stages of World Cup 2015. During the match, Brendon McCullum was in charge of the Kiwis while Eoin Morgan captained the English side which posted a monstrous 408-run total.
Morgan revealed that he forged a strong bond with the former Kiwi skipper, who is known for his attacking tactics as a captain, during his IPL stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders.
"He's certainly been an inspiration for me," Morgan said. "Three years at Kolkata (Knight Riders) with him, in which we sort of grew pretty close together, and I learned a lot from him. Watching him lead within a group and his sort of tactical cricket brain and how he goes about things. He always has an alternative view regardless of whether it's right or wrong, which makes things really interesting when you chat to him about cricket."
England's 408 scored on June 9th was their highest until the team recreated the same form and went a notch higher to score 444 against Pakistan last year at Trent Bridge.
The stark contrast in England's way of playing the 50-over format came after their catastrophic exit from the 2015 World Cup following which the English team scored eight of their ten highest scores. Morgan revealed that he fine-tuned his approach with respect to the semi-finalists' of the 2015 World Cup namely India, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
"The brand of cricket they (the four semi-finalists) played was completely different to everybody else," he said. "They were aggressive, they could score 350 if needed, and they always went for an attacking bowling line-up. Nothing they ever did was a step backwards. "So that as a template, as opposed to just singling out New Zealand, I think, is more relevant."
The credit of the team's reinvention has also been given to former coach Paul Farbrace, appointed after the sacking of Peter Moores in 2015, and the current head coach Trevor Bayliss.
However, Farbrace accredited Eoin Morgan for the English team's revival in 50-over cricket in the two-year period he managed the team.
"I think Eoin Morgan is the single biggest factor in England's success in the last two years in white-ball cricket," Farbrace said on Thursday.
"The build-up to that game here where we scored 400, he told the players to go out and play their way and back themselves to play their way. He went out and did exactly that in the first game and continued to do so throughout the series. And I think players started saying 'It's OK to do it. Not only is he saying it, he's actually living it and doing it'. And people have taken his lead from that." he added.
The English side has continued dominating the format which has resulted in the Three Lions becoming the first team to be confirmed of a semi-final spot in the Champions Trophy. However, Morgan has urged his team to not take the encouter against arch-rivals Australia lightly and give it their best shot.
"We're in a position where we have nothing to lose," Morgan said. "We're pretty confident at the moment, and I think the game that we've got, if we produce somewhere near our best, we'll certainly contend.
"If we're looking to win this tournament and go beyond and win the World Cup (in 2019), we need to be beating the best sides in the world, and Australia at the moment are one of them." Morgan concluded.
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