Exclusive interview with Eoin Morgan: The T20 World Cup is my main goal… but I will have to play it week after week


oin Morgan joined Middlesex as a wide-eyed teenager from Dublin in June 2003, the same month the ECB first launched a professional T20 competition.

In micro and macro terms respectively, the two changed the English game irrevocably over the next 20 summers. But as Morgan, who turns 36 this summer, embarks on another T20 campaign with Middlesex tomorrow, it’s worth wondering if it will be his last.

With only a white ball contract at Middlesex, a quad injury and not having been sold at the IPL auction, Morgan went four months without a game. He calls it “real time” with his young family.

After his time out, he speaks with genuine enthusiasm for the game. There is excitement about the new era of England, for the Test team under his great friend Brendon McCullum, and in cricket in white ball with Matthew Mott, whom he has admired “from afar” for many years and “can’t wait” to work with.

And while it’s been a while since Morgan, for all his white ball evangelism, has been a big fan of the Blast (which he finds harder to handle than most of the tournaments he’s called home , notably the Hundred), there’s excitement for that too. His expectations for Middlesex are tempered, but he hopes the confidence gained at the top of the County Championship Division Two will prove contagious.

“You don’t have to be a genius to see that we’ve been struggling with our T20 cricket for some time now,” he said. “The focus has generally been on four-day cricket.

“Obviously we’ve had a fantastic start to our league season, so hopefully the confidence will be a bit stronger from there and we’ll bring new energy to the overseas players, myself and some youngsters.”

He chooses Joe Cracknell and Blake Cullen as young players who particularly enthuse him.

Morgan is no longer Middlesex’s T20 captain – prolific Stevie Eskinazi takes over – and will see his own involvement reduced at the start of the season. He won’t play back-to-back matches (Middlesex has twice three in four days at the start of the season) in hopes of avoiding injury, having learned from the T20 tour to Barbados in January. He will therefore play at Gloucestershire at Radlett tomorrow, but not at Hampshire on Friday.

“There is nothing specific [injury wise],” he says. “I’m just old I think! It takes longer to recover. I played both games in a row in Barbados and then I got injured. as a batsman, but I fired my quad in the warm-up, which meant my body just didn’t recover at all.

Morgan is looking to retain his body for a busy five months with England, from Dutch ODIs to the T20 World Cup in November, via home series against India and South Africa, and series in Pakistan and South Africa. Australia, not to mention the Hundred.

Morgan’s durability for the English calendar is concerning. They play back-to-back T20 matches this summer, all seven T20s in Pakistan will be squeezed in less than a fortnight, while two ODIs in three days (as they did in the Netherlands) would look likely to trouble him now too.

Eoin Morgan isn’t looking past the upcoming T20 World Cup with England

/ AFP via Getty Images

“There are back-to-back matches in international matches, so just getting there and seeing how I’m doing, will be a decision made then,” he said. “There is more comfort looking towards the World Cup, because there are no matches in a few days. Everywhere else we play, they see the weather and just want to have matches.”

Morgan isn’t looking beyond the World Cup (England’s ODI defense in 2023 seems a long way off) and accepts he has to take things ‘week by week’, with ‘contingency plans’ – Jos Buttler or maybe Moeen Ali as captain – in place. He also knows he has to earn his place in the team through runs, which have been thin lately.

“Particularly after recently being injured on the West Indies tour, I have to be as honest as possible with Keysy [England managing director Rob Key] and everyone else to make sure we’re in the right position in Australia in October,” he said. “I’ve always said that if I’m on the way to a pitch and I feel done or done, or lack motivation for it as a leader, I’ll communicate with Rob as soon as possible.

“But I think it’s important that I play week after week to start and aim for the T20 World Cup.”

With so much focus on reviving England’s struggling Test team, Morgan accepts he’s unlikely to have his best squad before the World Cup, giving the summer an experimental feel, and rails against the perception that white-ball cricket has taken a big precedent in recent times. years.

Morgan is close friends with new England Tests coach Brendon McCullum

/ AFP via Getty Images

“I don’t expect to see a lot of multi-format guys until October,” he says. “I prefer them to be eaten by Test cricket for the summer and rest a lot. We don’t want them cooking themselves in August and still having three months of cricket to play.

“It has been the case for a few years. The understanding around it [not having the best players at all times][ for the new coach is important. It’s fine saying it in theory but obviously when you are being held accountable mainly for results and a little bit of development, and are handed a team that is maybe third string, it is a more difficult pill to swallow. Baz [McCullum] and Motty’s relationship will be very important. Split coaching, however, he says, is “necessary.”

“To cover both to the best of your ability as a coach or manager is next to impossible, with the demands of the schedule,” he says.

Morgan says he can “identify” with the state of the Test team, having helped lift the white ball setup in 2015, and thinks McCullum is the perfect man for the job. It should be noted how he uses the word “manager”, like football, in place of coach.

There’s a part of me that wishes to be a budding young Test cricketer with Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum in charge

“I’ve worked with Baz as a manager for the past two years at the IPL. It’s incredibly exciting for Test cricket, not just English cricket. There’s a bigger side to it. For test cricket to continue to be attractive it needs a strong England The start of this is to make a statement of intent, with a very strong appointment of one of the best coaches or managers in the world .

“There’s a part of me that wishes I was a budding young Test cricketer with Ben [Stokes] and Baz being in charge.

It’s like 2003 all over again.

standard Sport

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