England's captain Eoin Morgan
England's captain Eoin Morgan (R) juokes with Adil Rashid as he carries the World Cup trophy during a victory event at The Oval in London on July 15, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

London: England skipper Eoin Morgan was an emotional man on Sunday night. He walked into the press conference carrying the World Cup and placed it on the table, staring at it for a while before answering questions.

The range of emotions on Morgan’s face was evident. “It has been an extremely emotional experience. I still can’t quite believe, that is why I’m carrying it around as much as I can. I can’t believe we’ve got over the line. It has been an extraordinary day.”

Taking his eyes off the World Cup, he looked at the media and said: “You guys watched the most incredible game of cricket with nothing between the sides. Sometimes sport has very, very fine margins. I think it was the finest of margins today, and it could have gone either way. And I’m thankful it went our way.”

Morgan feels this is the reward for his team’s four years of toil. “To me and to the team, and everybody who has been involved over the last four years, it means absolutely everything. The planning, the hard work, the dedication, the commitment and the little bit of luck really did get us over the line. It’s been an absolutely incredible journey for everybody around the country and around the world who has followed us and supported us. A big thank you to all. It’s been phenomenal!”

The England skipper reiterated that is was the belief in themselves that helped them win.

“Right from the very beginning of the tournament, all the way through, regardless of our performance, people believed in us because we believed in ourselves and I’m very thankful for that.”

Can this triumph lead to cricket getting more popular in his country and more people taking up the sport? “I certainly hope participation levels go up or continue to rise. I think the nature in which the game was played today was absolutely outstanding.”

Regarding captaincy, Morgan’s remark was a very practical one. “We will let the dust settle and in the meantime, we’ll celebrate as hard as we can. I think that’s deserved. And then we will look at things. Four years is a long time away. I think the big question I will have to answer is whether I will be in the team in four years’ time. Will I be good enough? These guys are improving very quickly. Will I be able to keep up with them?”

When asked about Ben Stokes, Morgan referred to him as superhuman. “He’s almost superhuman. To come through it is extraordinary. He really carried the team and our batting line-up. I know Jos [Buttler] and his partnership was extraordinary, but to bat with the lower order the way he did I thought was incredible.”

Morgan also thanked Jofra Archer, who held his nerves and bowled brilliantly. “Jofra was pretty easy. He’s an unbelievably talented player and has an unbelievable array and repertoire of balls to bowl. We were trying to keep it simple and bowl yorkers the whole time until he bowled that short ball. It was reaffirming what he was trying to do the whole time and that he was doing a great job.”

When it came down to the Super Over, Morgan had to ensure that everyone in the team enjoyed the pressure of the Super Over through some advice and team talk. “It was such a ridiculous situation to be in. I could see there was quite a lot of pressure at that point and we needed to release that. So my advice to them was to smile and enjoy the situation. We needed to ignore everything and just defend our game in that situation. And the guys responded brilliantly to that.”

In addition to appreciating his team’s efforts, Morgan was gracious in his praise for New Zealand and the way they played. “I commend the Black Caps and Kane, they have been just incredible. A hugely admirable team, great in spirit, the way they play, the fight they show and the fact they have done it for an extremely long time. We’re newcomers to this and we want to be as consistent as them come the next World Cup. But to get over the line reaffirms everything that we have done over the last four years and justifies it as well.”