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Can Eoin Morgan end England's ODI trophy drought?

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Eoin_Morgan_England_CricketWhen England embark on their attempt to win a first global 50-over tournament at next month's Champions Trophy, they will be led by a man who regards new ground as part of the territory- Eoin Morgan.

From the moment he inherited the cricket bug from his father and brothers in a part of north Dublin that traditionally preferred the Irish sports of the Gaelic Athletic Association; Morgan has done things his way.

English cricket should be grateful. Without his single-mindedness, they might not be able to play a series against South Africa more instead of a warm-up series just like all the other teams who are busy playing scheduled warm-up matches, trying to find the right combinations before heading into the main tournament. 

England, well led by Captain Morgan, ended up winning the 3-match series against South Africa 2-1, boosting the confidence of the entire team. Now they believe in themselves and believe that they really can win the Champions Trophy. England will first meet Bangladesh on June 1 and will be hungry to take revenge for being knocked out of the 2015 world cup by the Bangla tigers. 

Morgan was the third highest run-getter of the SA series with 160 runs in 3 matches at an average of 53.33. He looked in good touch in all the three matches which is a good sign for the Champions Trophy. When it comes to captaincy, Morgan is definitely a captain who does things according to his instincts. 

Morgan took over shortly before the 2015 World Cup. After their embarrassing ouster from the tournament, the team was revamped. In June of the same year, England made an astonishing 408 against New Zealand at Edgbaston. Since then, they have scored at 6.27 runs an over — the only team in the world to go at quicker than a run a ball in 50-over cricket.

Under Morgan’s captaincy, they have passed 300 on 19 occasions, a total which used to be regarded as frivolous by England's Test-obsessed culture. And they are world-record holders, having demolished Pakistan last summer to the tune of 444 for three at Trent Bridge

 

From the start, there have been talks about Morgan’s way of handling things. Rob Key, who captained Morgan during an England Lions tour of New Zealand in early 2009, recently said, “If Morgan spoke, he spoke sense and he had a good read on people. He's the kind of guy who would think it's the worst thing in the world to take a good spinner for just four an over. If he was up against someone like Ravi Ashwin, he'd try to hit him out of the attack. He knew what he wanted and he knew how to do it. He didn't waste words or try to curry favour with the coaches. He believed in his way.” 

In recent times, England cricket has been under the scanner for some reason or the other. After making their way out of the ICC World Cup 2015, England cricket faced a new revolution in the form of changing captain and coaching staff which certainly helped, with the players better able to respond to the encouragement of Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace than the well-meant busyness of Peter Moores. But without Morgan's determination the revolution would not have been possible.

His willingness to do things differently was evident soon after he was appointed as the captain of England team, both on and off the field.

Known for his single-mindedness, he has a clear vision and does what he thinks is right. This kind of attitude really favored England as they managed to play freely and score mountains of runs in recent times. If England needs to lift the title and end the drought then they would require their captain to fire in the Champions trophy. 

Criticism also struck Morgan when he refused to sing the British national anthem at the start of matches, as well as widespread unease about his failure to tour Bangladesh last winter because of security concerns. 

The series against South Africa pleased him so much that he said, “A series against the world’s best side is something which you always look forward to as a captain before going into any mega tournament. This kind of a series is always a good way to prepare yourself and know your weaknesses.” 

By winning the series, the entire England team is excited and confident of drawing first blood in the tournament.

For quite a long time there had been an unquestioned orthodoxy in one-day cricket, which is partly why Morgan was happy enough to look beyond it. If England lift the Champions Trophy on June 18, his vision will be beyond question. In the whole by looking at Morgan’s attitude one can say that England cricket is now in safe hands.

 

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Yatin Singh is a graduate of Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, studied B.A (H) Journalism. Yatin,...

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