Eoin Morgan's struggles for both clubs and country had been criticized by many pundits in the past couple of years. But henceforth, with the well-adorned Irishman's retirement from international cricket knocking on the doors, England are now set to become incredibly stronger across all formats.
For over the past seven years, Eoin Morgan’s England have redefined what people initially thought could be possible in ODI cricket. Yet, perhaps the only weak link in recent times England could have had was their leader’s presence in the playing XI. The statistics, which never lie, highlight that the 35-year-old only had a solitary half-century in his first 48 innings across the international and domestic circuits (26 for England, 22 for the others). This includes his back-to-back ducks against the Netherlands in the recent ODI series. Hence, for his dubious form, he is all set to retire from international cricket officially on Tuesday afternoon at a press conference at Lord’s.
Safe to say, Morgan is someone to English fans and players quite similarly to how MS Dhoni is adored in India. The Irishman became England’s T20I captain in 2012, taking over from Alastair Cook, and two years later, also became their captain of the ship in ODIs. He is set to end his illustrious international career with numerous achievements and will be widely regarded as one of their modern-day greats in the history books.
If I don’t think I am good enough or I don’t feel I am contributing to the team, then I will finish.”
Morgan to Sky Sports ahead of the Netherlands tour.
Between the two World Cups from 2015 and 2019, Morgan led England to win 16 out of 20 bilateral ODI series win. Perhaps with some luck in their favour, they carried the momentum by earning the badge of world champions in the 50-over format for the first time. Now, he is set to call time as their leading run-getter of all time in both ODIs and T20Is. Notably, no one has represented England more than him in limited-overs cricket.
Eoin Morgan in ODIs (for England):
225 Matches | 6,957 Runs
Eoin Morgan in T20Is (for England):
115 T20Is | 2,458 Runs
With the T20 World Cup scheduled to be played in Australia later this year, Morgan is expected to pass the baton to Jos Buttler, whom he labelled ‘the best white-ball cricketer in the world’ two weeks ago. Echoing what Michael Vaughan told BBC Test Match Special on Monday, ‘it is exactly the right time for him (Morgan) to step aside.’ Under Morgan, England’s intensity in attacking the bowlers from the beginning of an innings, helped them break the highest ODI team total three times, with the most recent in making 498/4 against the Netherlands. Now, the time has come for pushing the boundaries even further.
He (Morgan) really is the legacy white-ball captain and in 30-40 years' time people will still remember him what he's done England's white-ball team. He must be wonderful to play under and he was a brilliant batter."
Michael Vaughan on BBC Test Match Special
Unlike the Test setup, where Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum had to face plenty of challenges to roar back, Buttler – Morgan’s potential successor – does not need much to worry about. For ODIs, they have two highly volatile openers in Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, followed by Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, and Buttler himself to form a batting unit that can seek inspiration from a legion of followers. For T20Is, on the other hand, Buttler will promote himself at the top to open with Roy, and the rest of the batting order will go one place down.
With the likes of Philip Salt and Sam Billings as covers and now in Morgan’s absence Alex Hales could be recalled, no batting unit across the world looks more ruthless than England’s at present.
It is strange to comprehend the side without him (Morgan). Things move on and you have to get used to it, but it is sad. "I'm not surprised at the same time because he is a very selfless person and probably is thinking about the team more than anything."
Moeen Ali on BBC Test Match Special.
Like the Irishman’s formula, England, under Buttler and the limited-overs head coach Matthew Mott, will continue to bat deep in the post-Morgan era. Even in the recent Netherlands ODI series, they used David Willey, who can easily be regarded as a genuine all-rounder and can open T20 innings if required, at No. 10. Willey’s 23.56 average in the 50-over format also suggests he can be a clutch player with the bat at crucial junctures.
The biggest challenge Buttler will face at the helm is to form a reliable fast-bowling unit which can adapt to different conditions. At least for some time being, England’s spin department is sorted with the presence of Adil Rashid and the multi-tasking Livingstone. But had Jofra Archer not been ruled out for the season due to a stress fracture to the lower back, the scenario could have been different.
Since England’s T20I series in India last year in March, Archer has not played a single game for his country. During this period, he has undergone three bouts of surgery and is still continuing to recover. No one knows how the 27-year-old talismanic speedster will fetch once he is done with the rehabilitation.
To support Archer, England have Reece Topley and Willey at present for the audition. With a 39-year-old James Anderson and a 36-year-old Stuart Broad – England’s two most wicket-takers in Tests – no longer participating in the limited-overs cricket, the likes of Mark Wood, Chris Jordan, and Chris Woakes must step up with alacrity to get the much-anticipated T20 World Cup glory which they secured back in 2010 under Paul Collingwood.
Can Buttler replicate in Australia what Collingwood did 12 years ago? Well, only time will tell that. However, it can be easily said that England, with Morgan’s retirement, are now clear favourites to win the next edition on paper. The above statement is not for disrespecting someone who has build a legacy, but for a potent unit that boasts of having more match-winners than anyone else. Under Morgan, they have learnt how the limited-overs cricket should be played, and now they will only go upwards and onwards.