Eoin Morgan – ‘We have a lot of talent in all three formats, it’s about trying to use it’ | locust

Eoin Morgan is already eyeing England’s T20 World Cup challenge © Abu Dhabi Cricket

“There is no coach, no general manager of cricket, no manager.” Eoin Morgan succinctly sums up the power vacuum in English cricket, which means the start of the 2022 season arrives with a sense of unease.

Morgan rarely spends the first few months of the season at home and although he was not sold in February’s IPL mega-auction, he is away as Middlesex start their County Championship season against Derbyshire at Lord’s. This time he’s back in Abu Dhabi, home of England’s T20 World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand in November, coaching young players alongside his “best pal” Paul Stirling in a week-long camp.

“We’ve played a lot of good cricket in that time,” Morgan told ESPNcricinfo, reflecting on the World Cup. “But we didn’t give our best when we needed to and we were honest enough to realize we weren’t good enough on the day against New Zealand.

“Our guys want to be on the business side of tournaments. They look at teams that haven’t even made it past the group stages – like India, who have become favorites – and it happens, but we want to compete with the best in the later stages.”

England were without a number of first-choice players in the semi-finals, including Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Sam Curran, Jason Roy and Tymal Mills, but Morgan insists his side had the quality to win tournament. “The guys we missed give context. But the team and the squad we had in that World Cup had the skills to be able to go on and win.

“We just didn’t produce it when we needed it the most in the big moments of the game, especially in that chase. New Zealand built and built and built and we didn’t find way to prevent them from doing so.”

After spending 18 months in near-constant biosecure bubbles, the time since that loss has been a welcome break for Morgan. He briefly stayed at the Emirates for the Abu Dhabi T10 and played two of England’s games five T20Is in Barbados before a quad injury ruled him out of the rest of the series, but was given the chance to spend time with his family and get away from the pressures of the game – especially with his own form which waned over the last 12 months.

“[I looked at the IPL] to be honest,” Morgan says of his non-involvement, just six months after captaining the Kolkata Knight Riders to the final. “Being at the biggest tournament in the world is an experience I’ve used to my advantage over the years and I’ve had great memories and experiences along the way. But as for the rest of the year for us, once I start playing again, it doesn’t stop until after the World Cup. I had a great time at home: good time with the family.”

With interviews for the GM job underway, Morgan has yet to be approached about his vision for the direction of English cricket’s journey, but insists he doesn’t have “a view of ‘together’ on whether or not the role of the head coach should be split between the format lines. , but notes that expectations for clean-ball teams were significantly lower the last time England went this route.

Morgan chats with Shane Warne during the first season of The Hundred ©Getty Images

“A lot of people have jumped to conclusions about appointing a coach, but the first point of call is to get a cricket manager in place and then the recruitment process starts after that,” he says. “The last time we had a shared coaching role things were very different. It was Ashley Giles and Andy Flower under another cricket general manager.

“If you want to change anything, the level of expectation around different series and different formats has to be very well communicated and fully understood by the coaches and both teams. We have enormous talent in all three game formats and it it’s about trying to use them.

“You talk about working with the No. 1 or No. 2 ranked teams in the world in two formats – working on the cutting edge of things, managing the level of expectation that comes with it. Our players have handled that really well, but they thirst to get better and better and to be for that purpose as long as they can.”

Morgan’s name comes up regularly in coaching discussions, but he’s shy about his ambitions. “At the end of the day, I still want to have some sort of role within cricket,” he says, “but what that looks like, at the moment, I still don’t know. I haven’t identified a role that I’m dead determined to want to do it, but I certainly believe, having been the most experienced player I’ve been in the past few years, that I have something to offer in this title.”

As well as a new England coach, he will work with a former one this summer, following the appointment of Trevor Bayliss to the London Spirit. Morgan’s relationship with Bayliss – which he describes as “fantastic” – is well known but the circumstances are unfortunate, with the post only vacant due to The Sudden Death of Shane Warne last month at the age of 52.

“He’s an amazing player who adds value everywhere. We’d love to see him back in the park and we always know there’s still a little time left, but it looks like he’s building up well”

Eoin Morgan on Jofra Archer

“It was devastating news,” Morgan says. “To be quite frank, I still haven’t really understood. Along with many other people around the world, I will miss him terribly. He’s a guy I’ve been very lucky to spend a lot with. of time – a huge charismatic and inspiring human being with whom I shared some memories.

“He’s a very infectious guy and probably what he was most passionate about was talking about cricket. When he was in charge of the London Spirit, hearing him talk about cricket and learning from him by listening to him was as close as it gets. him. We will miss him.

Spirit were among the teams to sign a national player with a top pick in this week’s draft, bringing in Liam Dawson on a £125,000 deal. Morgan explains the decision with a nod to the limited availability of key international players in this year’s competition, making their absences a positive that will allow him to gauge how players like Joe Clark, Tom Kohler Cadmore and Tom Banton cope with the pressure of a price tag.

“With the availability of foreign players, the value and stock of our local guys is increasing quite significantly,” he says. “Watching the reaction to how they play under these circumstances should give us a good look at them. It presents a brilliant opportunity for these guys, but it also adds another kind of pressure that we didn’t have before. .

“In an open draft, where everyone knows your worth and your worth and there’s a number next to your name, it adds a different dynamic. For me, as England captain, it’s a great insight into how a guy is going to handle the pressure of having the label of being ranked ahead of someone else, or being picked at a certain position.”

There may be opportunities for some of these fringe players even before the Hundred, with England’s next set of white balls – three ODIs against the Netherlands in Amstelveen in June – sandwiched between the second and third Tests against New Zealand, effectively settling any multi-format players out of contention.

Morgan is in Abu Dhabi for a week-long coaching masterclass © Abu Dhabi Cricket

“In each country I think we see different names on the rosters and a bigger divide between red and white ball cricket,” Morgan said. “It pretty much guesses where the game is at and the demands that being an international cricketer places on you. It takes a lot of time to work on your game in all three formats. To do this while still playing A full The game schedule is proving difficult for everyone, and we’ve actually managed it remarkably well over the past five or six years – and since Covid even more so.

“We have a huge identity within white ball cricket which shows our leaders getting up and playing the way they said they wanted everyone to play. When the whole team was wiped out before the Pakistan Series with covid our second- string team led by Ben Stokes arrived and replicated how we play and what we do For everyone who has been involved in building the last five years it was a huge compliment – probably the biggest compliment you can pay any white ball player during this time.”

This process continued in Barbados, with Banton, Phil Salt and Reece Topley among those who showed glimpses of their quality after missing out on the T20 World Cup (Topley was a traveled reserve and replaced the injured Mills in the squad, but did not play a game). Archer, who has not played international cricket for over a year due to his elbow injury, was also part of the squad and his return later this summer will give a major boost to the hopes of the England to realize its long-term ambition: to organize the two World Cups simultaneously. .

“Being injured for an extended period of time you can get quite distant with the team, but Jofra has stayed close and it’s great to have him with us,” Morgan said. “He’s obviously an amazing player who adds value everywhere. First and foremost we’d love to see him back in the park and we always know it’s still a little while but it looks like he’s built well.

“That has been one of our strongest assets over the past six years – having the ability to look down, not necessarily around the corner. When you look down and strategize on what you need and when you need it, it gives you an ability to take more risks and grow in different areas.We proved that in the World Cup when we had guys coming in continuously, they could replicate what other guys could do, so by doing exercises like this [the Barbados series] are extremely important to us.

“After going through the 2019 World Cup process, we always said it wasn’t necessarily specific players we needed. It was about having as many fit players as possible. By choosing that squad of 15 three years ago, we really could have picked 19 guys, that’s the position we want to be in before the selection meetings before the World Cup in Australia.

Matt Roller is associate editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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