Former England assistant coach Paul Farbrace was all praise for limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, calling him the "single biggest factor" behind England's white-ball success.
Morgan was in charge when England exited the previous edition of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, in 2015, at the group stage, after being defeated by Bangladesh. Since then, they have transformed into a formidable side, and are now the odds-on favourites to lift the World Cup for the first time, at home.
Last year, England won five one-day international series, including away victories against Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, and lost only a one-off affair to Scotland, while drawing 2-2 with West Indies this year.
Farbrace credited Morgan for England's rise to No.1 in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Team Rankings and to No.3 in Twenty20 Internationals. "They have the best white-ball captain in the world," Farbrace told Wisden Cricket Monthly. "He [Morgan] is England’s single biggest factor. There are some fantastic players, but Morgan holds everything together.
"What he said to the team here back in 2015 was that he wanted them to play the way that had got them selected and to take the positive option at every opportunity. It’s very easy as a captain to talk about the way it should be done, but Morgs plays the way he speaks.
"That takes guts and skill. He’s never going to be consistent [as a batsman] because of the risks he takes. He’s a bit like London buses – just when you think he’s done nothing, he’ll suddenly play a couple of big innings."
Farbrace went on to shed some light on the kind of work that he, along with head coach Trevor Bayliss, former director of cricket Andrew Strauss, and Morgan, have put in over the past four years to effect the turnaround.
"We talked about having no ceiling – let’s see how good we can be," he said. "We had an outline plan of how we wanted the team to be, but we just kept telling the players ‘go and play, go and play’. Strauss, Trevor, Morgs and me met regularly and we started to drip-feed the plan and asking them what they felt. They started repeating the things that we’d been dropping into them."
England will face South Africa in the World Cup opener on 30 May at The Oval in London.
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