Should Eoin Morgan, England's Greatest Ever White Ball Captain, Step Down?

The 35-year-old has declined with the bat in recent times
10:00, 01 Feb 2022

Eoin Morgan will always be revered as England’s greatest ever white-ball captain, but has the time come for him to step down? 

The 35-year-old revolutionised the sorry state of the country’s white-ball set-up after their embarrassing group stage exit at the 2015 World Cup. 

And who could forget that famous Sunday afternoon at Lord’s in 2019? The scene of Morgan’s greatest triumph. Everyone remembers where they were as England won their first ever 50-over World Cup trophy in a dramatic Super Over. 

An excellent tactician, Morgan will go down in history as the first England captain to secure a 50-over World Cup and only the second to win world honours after Paul Collingwood’s T20 triumph in 2010.

The skipper was heavily praised for helping Jofra Archer keep a cool head under the intense pressure to seal the dramatic win. It epitomised everything that is great about Morgan’s captaincy and he learned from how quickly the wheels fell off as Ben Stokes was hit for four sixes in a row in the last over of the final as England’s T20 World Cup hopes were crushed in 2016. 

For everything Morgan adds to the side as their esteemed leader, he has sadly become a passenger with the bat in the past couple of years.

You have to remember his primary role in the side is to score runs as part of England’s feared batting line-up. And there’s no arguing against the fact he is no longer in the best six white-ball batters in the country. 

Maybe his main role in the team is as captain and his value in that sense certainly can’t be underestimated. Perhaps that’s unfair given his exploits with bat in hand for the past 15 years. 

But if that’s the case it heaps a huge amount of pressure on the batters around him to fire. 

The left-hander has a burning desire to lead England in this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia. After their painful semi-final defeat in Abu Dhabi last year, against New Zealand, Morgan stressed: ”I'm still offering enough to the side.” But is he? 

Morgan is devoid of any semblance of form with the bat and has simply been more of a hindrance than a help. Since the start of 2021, he’s averaged just 16.36, with a sedate strike-rate of 108.43. And as a franchise gun for hire in domestic cricket, he has averaged 18.13 with a strike rate of 118.13 from 28 innings. It hardly strikes fear into the best T20 bowlers across the globe. 

Moeen Ali’s brilliant 63 to send the recently-concluded series against the West Indies to a decider was the first T20I half century by an England captain since… Jos Buttler against Pakistan last summer. 

And now seems the perfect time for heir apparent Buttler to take the reigns. The wicket-keeper’s Test future is in severe doubt after his horrendous Ashes tour Down Under. 

Buttler is England’s prized white-ball possession and has deputised brilliantly in Morgan’s absence in the past. He is an aggressive cricketer and would bring a new lease of life to the shorter forms. 

There is plenty of talent waiting in the wings and that is testament to the culture Morgan has cultivated during his seven years in the role. 

Morgan undoubtedly has one of the greatest white-ball minds in world cricket and there’s an argument to be had that he should transition into becoming the head coach. That is something I believe should happen. 

It would help England split the roles and have a dedicated Test coach and white-ball coach because their arduous touring schedule is too much for one person to handle.

Morgan might not be keen to take up a backroom role just yet and could easily prefer to travel the world being paid handsomely in franchise cricket, and who could blame him taking up that opportunity? 

The Irish-born stroke-maker turns 36 in September, a month before this year’s T20 World Cup kicks off in Australia. There will never be a perfect time for him to call it a day with an international white-ball event scheduled for every year of the next decade. 

Whatever Morgan chooses to do his legacy as England’s greatest white-ball captain is secure. 

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