Eoin Joseph Gerard Morgan
September 10, 1986, Dublin
Left hand bat
Right arm medium
Middle order batter
Catholic University School
Eoin Morgan became England's ODI captain in slightly chaotic circumstances less than two months before the 2015 World Cup and was less than enamoured with an entirely inadequate campaign. What he observed, not just from his own side's lacklustre display, but the inspiration provided by Brendon McCullum's New Zealand side, convinced him an entirely new approach was necessary, with a policy of no fear (and no retribution) at its heart. It required a man of strong will not just to say it, but to implement it, but Morgan did so, seeking to fashion an England side that would play with courage and be impervious to pressure or criticism.
The revival he led was dramatic, culminating in England lifting the World Cup for the first time at Lord's on a nerve-shredding evening in July 2019. They went into the tournament ranked as the No. 1 ODI side, having set a host of new records, including the two highest scores made in the format. Morgan, relentlessly committed to this bold style of play on good days and bad, was at the heart of the transformation.
Morgan's self-sufficiency and independent thought has caused him to tread a path that has not always been popular with English administrators. He preferred the IPL to county cricket long before it was ECB policy. Although he strove for a while to play for England in all three formats, he played the last of his 16 Tests in 2012 and his interest in the longer format appeared to wane once he recognised he had little chance of a recall. A somewhat private man, he is respected by his players for his inner strength, cool temperament and tactical nous but remains largely a closed book to those outside the dressing room.
Once the selectors had decided to dispense with Alastair Cook just before Christmas in 2014, Morgan, the regular ODI deputy, was the most obvious candidate. A left-hander who quickly built a reputation for inventive and audacious strokeplay, Morgan also possessed the patience and power of shot to be a natural "finisher" - a role England had struggled to fill for a decade. In some ways, he was a prototype, encouraging the English game to adopt a more inventive approach only subsequently to face up to the challenge that he might be overtaken by more highly-powered models.
As a young man in Dublin, Morgan was recognised as a cricketer of rare unorthodox talent, who plays the ball exceptionally late and was adroit both at sweeping and reverse sweeping. Time at Dulwich College only hardened his desire to play for England, which he never tried to hide back in Ireland.
Morgan made his Ireland debut at the age of 16, making 99 against Scotland in Ayr, and was soon signed by Middlesex, who gave him his debut a week after his 19th birthday. He floundered in the 2007 World Cup: batting at No. 3, he made only 91 runs in nine games. But he soon established himself in the Middlesex line up, especially in limited-overs cricket, and his switch to England was long anticipated. After securing Ireland's qualification for the 2011 World Cup, in April 2009, he was called up by England, thereby denying Ireland the chances to pick him in the World T20 and beyond.
At the age of 23, he shot to prominence on the back of two match-winning innings against South Africa. First was a 34-ball 67 in the Champions Trophy in September 2009, followed two months later with an unbeaten 45-ball 85 in the opening Twenty20 of England's tour of South Africa. His bold approach and crisp hitting evoked comparisons with Kevin Pietersen.
His growing stature was confirmed when he was the only England player to be awarded a new contract at the auction for the third season of the IPL in January 2010. He was signed for $220,000 by Bangalore, where he joined England team-mate Pietersen. But he failed to make an impression and was soon left on the bench. He returned to his best for England in the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean as his powerful shot-making and coolness under pressure helped England to their first triumph in global limited-overs events. With three ODI hundreds that year, his first for England coming against Bangladesh in Dhaka, his reputation was soaring.
Despite a modest first-class record he was rewarded with a surprise call-up to the Test side for England's first Test of the 2010 summer, against Bangladesh. Walking out to bat at 258 for 4, he could not have asked for a gentler introduction and showed enough confidence to pick up his first Test boundary with a reverse-sweep. With the retirement of Paul Collingwood, a permanent space opened up in England's Test side. Centuries against Pakistan and India represented the high points, but a disastrous tour of the UAE in early 2012 effectively ended his Test career.
He remained an indispensable member of the one-day side, though. And while there were prolonged fallow periods - from September 2012, for example, he went a year and 17 innings without an ODI half-century and, by the time he was appointed captain, he had scored one fifty in 19 innings - he produced enough outstanding innings to retain his place. Going into the 2019 World Cup, he was England's record run-scorer in ODIs.
While his captaincy record at domestic level was not inspiring and the 2015 World Cup campaign was painfully poor, progress was fast once England embraced a new coaching regime and bolder selections. A watershed series against New Zealand saw England, so hesitant and mediocre at the World Cup, pass 400 for the first time in ODIs and secure their highest successful chase (both records that were subsequently overtaken). A new template had been set.
Such was Morgan's stature within the side, he survived his decision to skip the Bangladesh tour in 2016 on security grounds and oversaw a spell of 12 bilateral series wins out of 13, including nine in a row broken only by an aberrational defeat against Scotland. If highlights were a 4-1 victory in Australia in early 2018 and a 5-0 whitewash at home later in the year, it was all a prelude to the 2019 World Cup where he became the first England captain to lift a global 50-over trophy.
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