Morgan ready for next step in England’s white-ball progress
Skipper sees parallels between his side and the one that won World T20 in 2010, wants team to play without fear in knockouts
29 March 2016 21:47
Now, Morgan – the only surviving member of that 2010 team – has an opportunity to lead his men where they have never been before. And, duly, he let out that rallying cry, asking his men to go out there and express themselves on the big occasion of the semifinal against New Zealand at the Ferozeshah Kotla in Delhi on Wednesday (March 30).
“In my experience, in getting to the knockout stage in any tournament you have done the hard work and it is almost now that you have earned a licence to go out and express yourself as much as you can,” said Morgan on Tuesday. “That attitude means getting the best out of yourself. If you have guys coming out who are very relaxed about performing on the big stage, that takes a lot of weight off your shoulders.”
Morgan was all praise for his team, who racked up three wins in the Super 10 stage of the tournament. “I think it shows the amount of character we have in the group,” said Morgan. “We haven’t had to repeat the same things twice, so it shows different sides to everyone’s personality. That shows the group as a whole can be very powerful if we string a game together.”
Morgan also believed his team was improving at a rate that would make any captain happy. “I can’t quite believe how far we’ve come overall in our white-ball cricket. The guys we’ve selected have done outstandingly well and shown a great attitude in learning,” said Morgan. “It’s not always easy to come up against very strong sides who knock you back on a day-to-day basis, but every question that’s been asked of us we’ve come back with either a counter-answer, or a more aggressive option.”
At the same time, Morgan wanted to keep some emotions in check. “I feel excited. I don’t feel I’m close to a World Cup final, and that’s a really good place to be. We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves,” said Morgan. “We’ve got a tough game tomorrow against a really strong New Zealand side, who have played probably the best cricket of the group stages. So we’re going to have to come up with a very strong game of cricket.”
Ironically it was England’s series against New Zealand last summer that set the ball rolling for Morgan and his team. “I think that series was very important. Coming into this series we talked about emulating what Australia and New Zealand did at that World Cup,” said Morgan. “From where we were to where they were, we were miles away. In order to bridge the gap we had to try and emulate the fashion in which they played and the aggressive nature in which they went about their game and particularly with the ball. Throughout the World Cup their swing bowlers were fantastic and that encourages a positive mindset throughout. With the bat it can come more naturally so they did play a key part absolutely.”
Morgan was also happy to draw parallels between this campaign and England’s successful run in 2010.
“Yes, quite a few [similarities] actually. The main one would be how relaxed everybody is around the group. How much they are enjoying the challenge of playing international cricket at the moment and their hunger to win,” said Morgan. “It is alright having fun and enjoying what you are doing but if you don’t have that inner drive to want to improve and win games of cricket you are going to stand still for a long time. This side has shown strengths which are similar [to 2010].”