Eoin Morgan’s Bum Deal

Today Jack Mendel continues our build up to Ireland’s ODIs in England this summer with a robust defence of Eoin Morgan, the man set to lead his adopted country against his native one in May.

I’d also like to tell you about the above video of comedian Dara O’Briain commentating on the cricket (or at least trying to)! They were made by Threepipe to promote the England versus Ireland games. Obviously Dara hasn’t got a clue what’s going on. It’s quite funny. 

Before you think about criticising Eoin Morgan for all of his apparent faults, try to appreciate what he’s done to make his career happen.

In Morgan, England have an understated risk taker driven by his convictions, but of late he’s become disliked for three main things.

These things are a lack of form last year, what appeared to be a lack of commitment to playing Tests, and an impression he demands special treatment. Let’s deal with these one by one. 

Firstly, he scored just 328 runs at an average of under 30 in 2016. Not good. He was first in line for the chopping block if the team didn’t do so well.

Secondly, before the West Indies tour he said he has given up on ever playing Tests again, but he would be available for the IPL. This is despite having played his last first class game in July 2015 for Middlesex (nearly two years ago). This appears as if he’s picking and choosing when he wants to play for England. It’s certainly not OK for him to complain about non-selection in a format he isn’t playing.

Thirdly, and most significantly, when England toured Bangladesh he very publicly refused to go. This is probably the fairest criticism of the three; that said he did it without platitude-filled press conferences or sob stories. He made his position clear, and many didn’t like it, but at least he gave the side a chance to prepare.

Although these things slowly eroded some of Morgan’s authority, I believe the criticism was a bit unfair.  He isn’t perfect but he’s risked a lot to get where he is. What’s more, he has worked extremely hard not only on his batting but also to build this team up.

In 2016, Morgan had a torrid time, but he’s made up for it in 2017 with 300 runs in six innings, including two centuries.

Let’s not forget that Morgan has time and time again made sacrifices to play for England. Leaving his native Ireland to pursue an England career was a tough thing to do with no guarantees. He succeeded, but was then dropped.  Undeterred, he quit the IPL to re-stake a claim in the Test side, and when it was apparent he wouldn’t play in whites again, he refocused his career once more.

Instead of sulking he focussed on playing ODI cricket and has succeeded.  As England’s ODI captain, he’s now fifth on the list of most matches as skipper, with a better win percentage than three of the four men ahead of him. Only Michael Vaughan’s record is better, which is impressive company.

And, aside from the poor world cup performance, the teams Morgan has led have been formidable. This England team has power hitting, genuine allrounders, spinners, quick bowlers, and dynamic fielding.

You can’t complain that Morgan won’t play Tests, and wants to play in the IPL, but revel in his successes for England in ODIs. It’s precisely because Morgan chose to specialise that this young side has become so electric.

Eoin Morgan may not have fulfilled his potential in some areas of the game, but nobody should doubt his talent or his commitment to England.

Jack Mendel


2017-04-05T13:02:10+00:00April 5th, 2017|News, Player Spotlight|16 Comments


  1. Nick April 5, 2017 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    Personally I feel the discussion of Morgan’s place in the side by real cricket fans and not the nonsense media comes from the fact England have won 58% of their ODI matches since the world cup.

    The current side at least in the top 7 is considered to be settled so naturally people look for the weakest link. Roy and Hales have been scoring big hundreds while Root and Buttler are established stars with a lot of credit in the bank and Ben Stokes who numbers are improving but his status in the media is such he wasn’t questioned even when they were awful.

    That leaves Morgan who until his recent uptick in form fit the bill after a learn 2016 which included a poor WCT20. He has a decent record since the 2015 WC but he is captaining arguable the most talented ODI squad England has ever had so their are going to be questions when the likes of Billings, Bairstow, Duckett, Malan and more can’t get in the side. It is his gift and his curse.

    • AndyB April 5, 2017 at 2:42 pm - Reply

      Billings fails to get in the side because the selectors labour under the mistaken impression Buttler is a keeper. By all means have him as a bat in T20’s but please get him to hand over the gloves.

      • Nick April 5, 2017 at 3:57 pm - Reply

        Even if Buttler stepped aside as Keeper you would still need to drop one of the four specialist batsmen to cover the new keeper so it comes down to Roy, Hales, Root or Morgan. Which are you dropping?

        Or are you suggesting the dropping the guy with the three fastest ODI hundreds for England?

        • AndyB April 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm - Reply

          My preference would be to let Root focus on tests and 50 over. As test captain he has enough on his plate and there is always the risk that T20 affects his red ball form (as it has with others). However, if that is a step too far I would have no problem bringing in Billings for Roy or Hales. He has better batting technique than either, it seems generally agreed he has the fastest hands in the squad and he just needs a run in the side to show his value. It is a bonus that he is a much better keeper than Buttler (and also better than Bairstow).

  2. oreston April 5, 2017 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    I confidently predict that no Irish captain will be on the losing side in the forthcoming ODI series. If you think about it, whatever happens that has to be good for Irish cricket 🙂

    It’s just a pity that so few will see the action (anyone know if it’ll be on TV in Éire?)

  3. Down at Third Man April 5, 2017 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Morgan is underrated as a captain. Came to the ODI job with a vision of his own. Quick brained. Was not part of the bullying culture that Flower misguidedly tolerated (if he didn’t promote it). Doesn’t take any nonsense from senior pros. Respected by those in the ranks and those on the verge of the team. Transformed as they say the brand of cricket England played, which is no mean feat.

    How much is a captain worth? Huge amount in the fast moving T20 game. Considerable amount in ODIs. Much more than is generally accepted in Test cricket – where an independent captain is a potential threat to the authority of an over sensitive coach and/or Development Director. We shall never know what kind of Test Captain Morgan might have made. Better perhaps than generally imagined. He’d have brought appropriate strategy, flexible tactics, better control of the off-field staff, a restless search for technical development and his own game would have thrived on the responsibility and the authority.

    The big question remains: will Root turn out at this stage to have far too insecure a personality to hack it? He is much more one of the boys than appreciated. He’s perpetually teased and has been goaded into acts that seemed irrational but for such provocation.

    • "IronBalls" McGinty April 5, 2017 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      Excellent, thank you! His leadership is beyond measure, something never accounted for by statisticians!

  4. Colin Mehigan April 5, 2017 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Great article

  5. Neil April 5, 2017 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    The first question any captain faces. Is, are they good enough to be in the XI on merit.
    At times Morgan hasn’t been, and that’s why he’s faced questions.
    When you’ve got Bairstow, Billings and Duckett all out of the side, you can’t have too many failures.

    I personally don’t buy the praise of his aggressive captaincy either. Dropping Rashid in India was anything but.
    Arguably with our batting line up now we can’t be anything other than attacking with only Root really having the ability to drop anchor.

    Missing Bangladesh is a red herring, I saw that as the pro British press /fans using it as an opportunity to try and get rid of an Irish captain.
    There’s no way Cook would have received that criticism.

    All in all, he’s in the job until after the CT when it will all be up for review again.

  6. AndyB April 5, 2017 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    Bit unfair on Dara. I am pretty sure none of us would have any idea what is going on (apart from uncontrolled violence) if asked to comment on hurling or Gaelic football.

    • James Morgan April 5, 2017 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      I love Dara. I saw him do a platform at the national theatre and he was excellent. I think he does a great job in the video 🙂

  7. Stillicho April 6, 2017 at 12:47 am - Reply

    Cannot get away with the guy I’m afraid. He should be playing for Ireland, helping his nation procure test status, and when a captain chickens out of a tour it is going to receive negative press – what did he expect?

    • AndyB April 6, 2017 at 10:35 am - Reply

      I suggest you take up journalism since several news outlets demonstrated a similar level of ignorance and prejudice.

      I am no fan of Morgan as a cricketer but he was absolutely right to look to play at the top level by playing for England. He could have been waiting decades for Ireland to be granted test status (or at least until a suitably thick brown envelope had been passed under the table at an ICC meeting). His case reminds me of that of Shara Proctor, the long jumper from Anguilla, who was forced to transfer allegiance to the UK because Anguilla is not a member of the IOC and it was the only way she could compete at the Olympics.

      As for chickening out of a tour; I will have more respect for that opinion when you have placed yourself in the firing line. Given the recent events in Bangladesh and the failure of cricket authorities in some countries to provide proper security (such as in the Broad case in Pakistan) his decision was understandable even if a minority position. I would be interested to know what insurance the ECB or ICC provides to support players in the event of an attack. If I were the PCA I would advise members to avoid certain tours if less than £10m life cover per head is in place (given the earnings of top players). It is easy for journalists to criticise; in too many cases the biggest risk they take is alcohol poisoning.

      • Stillicho April 7, 2017 at 2:55 am - Reply

        Yet Morgan had played in Bangladesh as a Twenty20 mercenary! An expert had been sent out to analyse the situation and gave it the clear. Morgan is the captain. If Morgan genuinely felt there was a real security risk, he should have excised leadership, disagreeing with the ECB’s assessment and convincing his players that there ”is a security risk” and to walkout.

        I also do not agree with you regarding his switch of national allegiance. He is Irish. He will always be Irish. Ireland could’ve used him to strengthen their batting. He should feel it a great honour to play for his ‘real’ county, a privilige, the highest distinction that can be bestowed on a sportsperson.

        He is even going to lead England against his real county, which is an absolute disgrace however you dress it up.

  8. MediaPenguin April 7, 2017 at 12:26 am - Reply

    Morgan proved himself a spineless, gutless individual over Bangladesh..l In the Great War would have been shot for cowardice. Should never be allowed to wear any international shirt again.

    • AndyB April 7, 2017 at 9:05 am - Reply

      Just back from the trial of the Flanders Pigeon Murderer General Melchett? 🙂

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