If there is one thing that we like doing here at 51allout, it is getting in a tizz about Eoin Morgan. For example, we spent most of 2014 and the early parts of 2015 slagging him off, before he went and proved us wrong by making a batch of decent ODI scores against New Zealand and Australia and marshaling the team to several victories. And just when we thought we should give him a free ride, he went and spoiled it all by stinking up the England batting like a particularly rotten egg.
Around a year ago, when the World Cup campaign was turning out about as successfully as a new range of Betamax pornography published by Max Clifford, we tentatively suggested that there is no actual need for England to have a permanent ODI captain – at least until the next major tournament rolls around with the air of inevitable doom that it brings. Or rather, we thought we did, but we can’t find it right now (and nor can we find a picture of John Savident driving his open-top Morgan, which was going to form a crucial part of this article), so it may have been a dream. But it is a point that we return to.
We all know ODIs linger in the memory about as long as a silent, unpungent fart. We all know that England have been utter horseshit in World Cups for as long as Joe Root can remember. Every four years it’s time to throw out the old and bring in the new and make plans for four years’ hence; plans that have previously included having Alastair Cook as captain and Jamie Dalrymple as an integral bowling option. So with lots likely to change over the next three years, why persist with one man as designated captain – especially when his captaincy credentials aren’t especially Brearley-esque and his batting doesn’t always demand inclusion.
At present, England have James Taylor sitting on the sidelines somewhere, whilst Morgan scored 64 runs across five innings against South Africa. If he wasn’t captain, it’s fair to say he wouldn’t have played all five games. Meanwhile, England have a fairly inexperienced team with few players with any professional captaincy experience. Would Root, Alex Hales or Ben Stokes even not benefit from a few games in charge away from the more intense pressure of a World Cup or Test match? This isn’t entirely a criticism of Eoin Morgan, but his recent problems emphasise the situation. England have always been slow in adapting to change in limited overs cricket, and have never been trendsetters (unless stocking your team with players from other countries is a trend?). We genuinely can’t see a fault with our plan.