Eoin Morgan says World Cup win would make England’s ‘incredible’ journey worthwhile

Written by on 14/07/2019

Eoin Morgan says England need to win the Cricket World Cup to make their “incredible” journey since the 2015 tournament worthwhile.

England, the top-ranked ODI side on the planet, play New Zealand at Lord’s in Sunday’s final – four years after they were dumped out in the group stage after beating only Scotland and Afghanistan.

“To be the best you have to win trophies,” captain Morgan told Nasser Hussain in an interview you can watch in full on Sky Sports Cricket World Cup from 9am on Sunday in our build-up to the final or in the video above.

“I think the progress we have made has been incredible – it’s astonishing how far we have come and the opportunity that now presents itself.

“Whether we win or lose, one thing that will remain is the ambition to be competitive to try and win every trophy and every tournament we participate in.

“That hunger should remain the same past this World Cup – but to make everything worthwhile we need to win.

“I will be so proud of the team if we win – everyone in that changing room who has given something over the last four years, even guys who haven’t been selected and will be sat at home watching but who have made the collective unit create a level of expectation.”

Morgan told Nasser about England’s revolution as a white-ball side, which included reaching the semi-final of the 2017 Champions Trophy…

Morgan was named as captain ahead of the 2015 World Cup after Alastair Cook was sacked but saw his team exit in the pool phase, after being beaten by Australia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and suffer an eight-wicket hammering to New Zealand, in which they were skittled for 123 before Brendon McCullum powered the Kiwis to their target in 12.2 overs…

“For about three or four months going into that World Cup, even when I wasn’t captain, everyone in the side knew we were playing the wrong style of cricket. We knew we were behind the eight-ball, behind the best sides in the world. The preparation wasn’t great and going through that was extremely difficult. The New Zealand game was humiliating and rammed home how far we were behind. In many ways, it became the cornerstone of the reasons we went for drastic changes. Yes, the personnel needed to change but we would have to be given a little bit of rope to play with, including in selection, in order to change the team.”

Morgan was retained as captain by incoming director of cricket Andrew Strauss despite the World Cup debacle and set about constructing a team that could compete…

“There was a period after the World Cup where I was in a little bit of limbo and didn’t know if I would get the captaincy or not and if I would have to fight for my place in the team. To get the nod to lead the team [was great] – but I immediately said: ‘We need to change things’. It was everything. From the way we addressed 50-over cricket right at the top – it needed to stand side-by-side with Test cricket. There needed to be more on the line than ‘we play a bilateral series and then it’s the Ashes that everybody focuses on’. We selected guys who could play a positive brand of cricket, which sells the game and is great, but that, come 2019, would also make us competitive enough to win a tournament.”

Morgan showed he was boss when he asked Strauss to step out of the room in an early team meeting as he looked for his players to voice their opinions…

“Straussy is brilliant – a fantastic leader and a great man. He came in and spoke about the direction he wanted us to take moving forward. I started my meeting and noticed not many players were talking. I forgot that when Straussy was playing a lot of the guys were kids and looked up to him a huge amount and were intimidated by him. So, I politely asked him to leave and initiated a conversation about testing the ceiling and seeing how far we could go, particularly with the bat. That became a priority, for guys to play the best versions of themselves.”

A new-look England defied even Morgan’s expectations when they racked up 408-9 against New Zealand in the first ODI in June 2015, despite the fact Jason Roy was out for a golden duck from the first ball of the match…

“I was surprised – I don’t think I was the only one! Being there at Edgbaston was incredible. Joe Root scored a 71-ball hundred but in the same game Jos Buttler scored a 66-ball hundred. To set that as a benchmark, it almost became a template. When a bowler comes on you want to put him under pressure. He might not allow you to do that but find a way. When Jason got out it could have had a very different outcome. I look at teams who respond well when things are going against them – anyone can be a good side when things are going well but to respond like that was outstanding.”

England’s lengthy unbeaten run in bilateral ODI series saw them top the rankings and head into the home World Cup as favourites – but they were on the verge of being knocked out of the tournament after back-to-back defeats to Sri Lanka at Headingley and Australia at Lord’s…

“We felt like we were outplayed by Australia at Lord’s. I think there was quite a big hangover emotionally from the previous game against Sri Lanka – there was a feeling in the changing room that we hadn’t done ourselves justice, hadn’t performed anywhere near to the way we would have liked and had gone away a little bit from the identity we play with. That overflowed against Australia, our performance was down and Australia took advantage. Going into the final two games, needing to win one if not two, we needed to get rid of that. Everyone needed to know, if they didn’t already, where we were at emotionally as a group and draw a line under it.”

England rallied, however, recording successive wins over India and New Zealand in the group stage and then thrashing Australia in the semi-finals to make their first World Cup final since 1992…

It was brilliant, there was a sense of relief, in many ways. All the hard work we have done in the last four years since that horrible World Cup. We have grown together, made a lot of leaders, been extremely disciplined and continued to learn. When it comes to the changing room belief is a huge thing. It’s one of the strongest attributes I have ever had and it has stayed with me from the very beginning. If you live and breath it, it will definitely rub off on people.”

Will England win the Cricket World Cup? Find out live on Sky Sports Cricket World Cup, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky One from 9am on Sunday.

(c) Sky News 2019: Eoin Morgan says World Cup win would make England’s ‘incredible’ journey worthwhile

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