Eoin Morgan is the MS Dhoni of this decade

Saurabh Gandle Roar Guru

By Saurabh Gandle, Saurabh Gandle is a Roar Guru

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    England won the final ODI against New Zealand, wrapping up the series 3-2 to claim their sixth consecutive ODI series.

    The six victories came over teams including Australia, South Africa and now New Zealand. With such a truckload of momentum behind them, the England side of the last three years is favourite to lift the World Cup at their home ground.

    One man has been a catalyst for the side’s changing fortunes. Starting as a middle-order batsman batting at number five, Eoin Morgan caught attention when he scored 103 not out off 85 balls against Australia at the Rose Bowl. It’s not just the runs he scored but the way he scored them that caught the attention of Kevin Petersen, who is not afraid to call spade a spade.

    In the following months KP sung the praises of Morgan’s attitude as a calm customer under pressure. He was vital to England’s win in T20 World Cup back in 2010, and he continued his rich form in the tour of South Africa and against Pakistan at home. He has become a pillar of strength in ODI cricket in following years.

    Post-2014, after KP was axed and Alastair Cook failed to inspire the win, Morgan was named the captain to lead his team in the World Cup. The results were not impressive, but Morgan started his full-time captaincy at the tri-series against Australia and India before the World Cup, where he scored a hundred against the Aussies.

    However, the following period gave way to a string of poor results, including four ducks, a loss to Bangladesh and elimination from World Cup before the quarter-finals.

    England captain Eoin Morgan bats

    (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

    What followed was period of self-reflection and some tough decisions, such as dropping seniors James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ian Bell and introducing fresh faces such as Jason Roy, Sam Billings and Alex Hales.

    It paid rich dividends as England went on to score 9/408, their highest international score, against World Cup finalists New Zealand, as led by the talismanic Brendon Mccullum.

    It was same Brendon Mccullum who slammed the England attack all over the park two months earlier. Baz certainly wouldn’t have imagined trading fire for fire in such a short time.

    As Eoin Morgan alluded to after being bowled out against New Zealand for 302, he wants to be ahead of the game and will always go for an aggressive approach instead of playing defensively. He didn’t want to change his mode, as was clear when Morgan mentioned he would prefer his side to be 2/40 than 0/20.

    The model envisioned by the England and Wales Cricket Board looks on track, and England seems to be the bar for other teams.

    After being a high performer, Morgan has quietly moved out to the role of anchor, aggressor and decision-maker while allowing new players like Ben Stokes, Jason Roy and Jos Butler to hog the limelight.

    The improvements were massive, and Englsnd reached finals of the T20 World Cup. They would have won the trophy had it not been for annihilation by Ben Stokes.

    All this is parallel to how MS Dhoni’s career went ahead. Just like Eoin Morgan, MS Dhoni started as a middle-order batsman and went on to become the captain of the team, restructuring it after a series of disgraceful performances.

    MS Dhoni’s captaincy created a new surge of optimism among the Indian line-up. The youngsters were supported in critical situations over more experienced heads, and new-generation players like Tom Curran were backed in all-important penultimate or final overs, like in the third ODI against New Zealand. MS Dhoni also famously rested himself from the decider of this series to allow younger players to slot in.

    Morgan and Dhoni’s abilities to remain calm and composed are what holds both of them in good stead.

    In terms of number of runs scored, Dhoni is nearing 10,000 runs in one-day matches and Morgan isn’t too behind. He’s the second highest run-getter for his team in ODI matches after Ian Bell, and with time on his side he will stretch the gap to Bell by a large amount.

    India captain MS Dhoni bats during a Twenty20 cricket semi-final

    (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

    Remarkably England have scored nine of 11 of the highest ODI totals since the last World Cup and have scored their runs quicker than anyone else in that time. That’s testimony to Morgan’s captaincy. and wonders it has produced.

    Morgan should go down as one of England’s best-ever captains in any format. He has transformed the way they play white-ball cricket. He has made English supporters fall in love with the limited-overs game after decades of being behind the rate. He has led a team that is setting the world standard in the 50-over format.

    It is similar to when India crashed out of the 2007 World Cup. The T20 World Cup win and their approach to playing cricket brought back public eyes to cricket.

    For Morgan a prolonged loss of form meant he hasn’t been given due credit, but the team management knows how important he is, which makes him the MS Dhoni of this decade.

    A World Cup win will be icing on the cake, but regardless of the result, he has registered his claim to be standing among England’s great captain.

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • March 13th 2018 @ 7:01pm
      Paul said | March 13th 2018 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

      sorry Saurabh, but until he wins something major, like a WC or Ashes series, he’s not even close to be in the same league as England’s great captains.

      I also hope you don’t put any money on England for the WC. All they have to do is lose one finals game and they’re out. They’ve choked many times before and can do it again if bad weather doesn’t get them first.

      • Roar Guru

        March 13th 2018 @ 11:42pm
        Saurabh Gandle said | March 13th 2018 @ 11:42pm | ! Report

        Well greatest captain not always is about records but the impact such as Vaughan winning Ashes in a decade or Strauss winning Ashes both home and away but both records as number of wins is behind Cook .But is Cook superior to them no.Eoin started this surge in ODI team and seeing that even Cook followed him as he said in post match conferences after Ashes 2015 that he has become more open and even used his feet against Lyon seeing England aggressive approach in ODI a month back

        He surely will be ranked among greatest captain once his career is said and done.We can comeback here and talk then.

    • March 16th 2018 @ 3:41pm
      Perthstayer said | March 16th 2018 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

      Paul,

      I don’t believe a WC defines a captain. Getting the best out of players is the measure. If their best isn’t good enough in the odd game, well such is life.

      “Do your best to get a big score/bowl well” is very different from an atmosphere of you need to get a big score/get wickets. Curran is a good example.

    • March 16th 2018 @ 3:57pm
      Perthstayer said | March 16th 2018 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

      Sean Fitzpatrick had a 77% win record, yet didn’t win the RWC

      • March 16th 2018 @ 4:06pm
        Jake said | March 16th 2018 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

        He was ordinary

    • March 16th 2018 @ 4:00pm
      Perthstayer said | March 16th 2018 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

      Brian O’Driscoll had 63% win rate

      • March 16th 2018 @ 4:06pm
        Jake said | March 16th 2018 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

        Over rated,

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