England in Bangladesh 2016-17 September 11, 2016

Morgan, Hales withdraw from Bangladesh tour

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'Told myself I'd never play in danger again' - Morgan

Eoin Morgan, England's limited-overs captain, will not travel to Bangladesh to lead the team in their one-day series due to concerns about security, the ECB has confirmed. Opening batsman Alex Hales has also ruled himself out of the tour for the same reasons.

Jos Buttler, the team's vice-captain, will take charge in Morgan's absence, with squads for the three ODIs and two Tests set to be announced on Friday. Morgan and Hales were foremost among the players to have spoken of their uncertainty about going to Bangladesh, after a terrorist attack in July, and communicated their intentions to Andrew Strauss, England's director of cricket, at the weekend.

"Whilst we understand and respect Eoin and Alex's decision, we are disappointed that they have made themselves unavailable for selection for the Bangladesh tour," Strauss said. "We have had open and honest conversations with all the players about the security arrangements in Bangladesh and at this stage we are not expecting any other individuals to withdraw from the tour. Final selection for the Bangladesh tour, will now take place on Friday.

"As with all England overseas tours, the safety and security of players and staff is of the utmost importance to ECB. We will continue to monitor the situation in Bangladesh, take advice and consider the appropriate steps up to and throughout the five weeks we are on tour."

Morgan was reported to have told Strauss he would not be going to Bangladesh before the players went for their end-of-season assessments at Loughborough on Friday and Saturday. Those in line for selection were given until this weekend to make a final decision on whether they would accept the recommendation of the ECB's security advisor, Reg Dickason, that the tour should go ahead as planned.

Strauss has said he believes it is "100% safe" to tour, after a delegation including Dickason, the PCA chief executive, David Leatherdale, and ECB director of cricket operations, John Carr, reported back last month.

In a statement on Sunday, the ECB said: "A thorough and detailed risk assessment was approved and accepted by the ECB board and the England players and management have been fully briefed on all aspects of the safety and security arrangements."

Earlier in the week, Morgan gave details about previous security scares he had experienced on the subcontinent. He referred to a bomb going off in Bangalore while he was playing at the IPL in 2010, as well as political unrest in Bangladesh in 2013. Last year, Australia cancelled a tour of Bangladesh on government advice and did not send a team to the Under-19 World Cup.

"I have been to places before when things have become a distraction and once or twice when that has been security, and when it has been I told myself I would not put myself in that situation again," Morgan said. "Playing international cricket - or any cricket - is not about worrying about different things, it should be the best time of your life, it should be something that you are looking forward to and wanting to do well in and are able to focus on."

While the ECB made clear that the decision whether to tour would be down individuals and no player would be penalised for pulling out, Strauss had been hopeful that Morgan would join Alastair Cook, the Test captain, in committing himself to the tour.

"Would I like both our captains to be on that tour? Absolutely, definitely," Strauss said on Wednesday. "The captain has certain roles and responsibilities that are greater than just looking after themselves. He obviously has a duty to the team. But they're still human beings - and I think that's an important point to make. They have their own thoughts, concerns, issues and views on life - and we've got to understand that."

With Buttler taking charge for the ODIs in Bangladesh, England may have to make a decision about the captaincy in the longer term, ahead of limited-overs series in India and West Indies scheduled for the start of 2017, followed by the Champions Trophy. Morgan has overseen great success since the 2015 World Cup, with England winning four of their last six ODI series, as well as reaching the final of the 2016 World T20.

For Hales, the decision could have immediate ramifications for his international career. While he is a regular in the limited-overs teams, his Test place is far less secure after failing to record a century in 11 matches; opting out of the two Tests against Bangladesh is likely to see Hales omitted for the subsequent India series as well, with Lancashire's 19-year-old opener Haseeb Hameed tipped to replace him, although he may have been dropped in any event.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RedInkling on September 15, 2016, 9:22 GMT

    I would very much like to see Haseeb Hameed play for Hales in the Test Team If you are old enough, you are good enough.

    Also, they are not soldiers that they have to go. But they have jeopardised their place in their respective teams.

    Cricfan71912077: I agree with your first point. Strauss should definitely go because otherwise what is the point in saying it is safe???

  • Drew12 on September 14, 2016, 16:30 GMT

    CRICFAN71921077 hold your horses there, Australia is still by far the best odi side. The oddity is, Australia is also the holder of, or close to that, of most t20 records too. And that type of international isn't even something that is seriously merited here. Note that I said international, ok.

  • nrizvi on September 14, 2016, 11:21 GMT

    Why double standard, he is mentioning he will never put himself in dangerous position and mentioned about how he has been in a situation at Bangalore and whole team left Bangalore, but later he traveled to India to play World T20I.

  • cricfan71921077 on September 14, 2016, 11:04 GMT

    Its time for Strauss to go as an administrator. What i would prefer he should be with England team in Bangladesh atleast to step up as a leader. From few years now - england has transformed themselves as a best ODI team. More of the credit goes to Morgan, Joe Root and Jos Butler - who were showed their class and are influential throughout, as a result - more of the talent likes of Stokes, Hales, Bairstow, Roy join the party and takes the performance one level up. I genuinely think Mr. Finn should be in for ODI's.

  • cricketcarl on September 14, 2016, 6:28 GMT

    blame the ECB who left the decision up to the players, they should wear the ramifications, opinions of the players shouldnt become negative, im sure morgan and hales will continue with good intentions and play with great pride.

  • CricketoverChai on September 14, 2016, 5:40 GMT

    Completely understand Morgan's concerns. If there is a security threat then each person has a right to be a bit selfish and think about his own safety. Him and Hales pulling out may actually be a blessing in disguise for England though, as they can test their bench strength and give them some rope, since regulars are absent.

  • Trickstar on September 13, 2016, 20:49 GMT

    @Wayne_Larkins_barnett Well I'd suggest more than a handful of FC games at 19 years old and he's also played no U19's games in the sub continent either, as well as not going through the usual England Lions tours. We've seen plenty of young players come through on their first season and do good because bowlers haven't worked them out and they then go into their second and it all goes wrong. Picking a 19 year and dropping him in the furnace that is the England Cricket team can destroy a player for a few years, we've seen it happen to far more experienced players than Hameed. Saying that it would do no harm to take him to Bang to get him around the squad and see how he fits in. As for your comment about Tendulkar wouldn't have got picked till he was 25 playing for England, well that's a bit daft when players like Cook, Root, Stokes, Bairtsow, Buttler etc were all 21/22 when they got picked. They all had played a few season of County Cricket to learn their craft as well & Lions tours

  • Drew12 on September 13, 2016, 10:48 GMT

    I just read the post by D.S.A and need to comment. The number of assumptions you are making is astounding. It should be remembered that outside of the inner circle of a persons closest confidants (or even his own mind) we cannot assume to have a similar level of knowledge. This is why it takes a level of courage in its own right for somebody like Trott or Johnson to come out in public and be so openly vulnerable by revealing themselves.

    You don't know how those members of the team who are still travelling to B'desh feel about doing so. They likely have fears that they aren't able to bring themselves to voice in public. You don't know what experiences Morgan and Hales have been through in the past, or what fears their inner circle have, that have brought them to this decision.

    This probably applies to a few posts but D.S.A. was just the one I read. I didn't particularly mean to single you out because it's a general point I am making.

  • cricfan75150255 on September 13, 2016, 3:00 GMT

    Can't wait for this English team to visit India. Especially tests. In 2011, they brought a fab batting line up, Cook Trott KP Root Prior, and a couple of seasoned spinners in Swann and Panesar. But this time, it's just Cook and Root, and a whole bunch of talented players but who will be having their first real test of spinning sub continent conditions in front of loud noisy partisan crowds. Can be a bit overwhelming you know. India's spin line up is also better sorted out than last time. Ashwin is on the top of his game, and can land the ball on a coin all day, flight dip, conventional turn, ably supported by Jadeja (very difficult to read when there is some spin on the track) and the experienced Mishra. I expect India to roll them over in tests, unless there's one or 2 marathon one's from Cook, a white wash is also distinct possibility, in the shorter formats though, there would be an even contest.

  • Lmaotsetung on September 13, 2016, 0:20 GMT

    I don't think Keaton Jennings is Eng qualified yet...not sure.

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