My message to England this morning is simple: massive congratulations on a spectacular World Cup win — but now go and dominate every format cricket has to offer.
There is no reason why this group should not be looking to emulate the great Australian sides of the 1990s and 2000s by ruling the world in limited-overs and Test cricket. In fact, they can go one better by sweeping up in the Twenty20 game as well.
They have the skills; they have the right age profile, with only a handful of players unlikely to make it to the next World Cup in India in 2023; and they have the right attitude. They must aspire to be the world’s pre-eminent team, and Sunday’s victory has given them the perfect platform for that.
The question now is where does Eoin Morgan fit into the plan? There is no doubt that no one man was more important to England’s successful campaign than Morgan — it was his vision, his drive and his ethos which fuelled this team.
Clearly, he has a decision to make over his future in the 50-over format, and I am sure he will sit down with the people he trusts and respects over the coming days and reach a decision, one way or the other. Will he make it to India 2023? Unlikely. Morgan is 32, and one-day cricket is not really a game for older men.
But that does not mean I expect him to walk away from the international game altogether. There is a T20 World Cup in Australia in October next year and I would be amazed if he did not fancy having a crack at adding another world title to his CV.
There might be some logic in dividing up the England captaincy still further, with Morgan and Joe Root retaining the T20 and Test roles respectively, and promoting Jos Buttler — who, at 28, should still be at the peak of his powers in 2023 — to the One Day International position. But, ultimately, Morgan has earned the right to decide his own future.
The most impressive aspect of England’s performance on Sunday was how they were prepared to adapt when confronted by different conditions.
England roared to the top of the world rankings courtesy of their ultra-aggressive approach with the bat. No score was too big to chase down, no ball was too good to be smashed out of the park — and no opponent could live with them at their best.
But this final did not allow them to play that cricket. The wicket was too sticky and the ball was doing plenty, so England changed their approach.
This is what the best tacticians always do. Pep Guardiola likes playing beautiful football, but he is also capable of grinding out an ugly win at a tough ground on a horrible day.
The World Cup final pitch was the equivalent of a wet Wednesday night in Burnley for batsmen, so something had to change.
In fact, the batting displays from Ben Stokes and Buttler were, in many ways, a throwback to the old-school England approach — the one, which looked outdated on those hard, flat decks in Australia in 2015, but which were ideal for a pitch that nibbled in north London.
Whether that decision came from Morgan, or was led by the men in the middle at the time, does not really matter — the fact is that the captain is the one who created the team culture, which allowed them to trust themselves.
Tactics are not everything, though. His man management and the calmness that he exuded at every turn of a campaign which had its wobbles was equally important.
I have always said that the best captains are great actors. No matter how much your guts are churning, you have to trick your players into thinking you are completely unflappable. Morgan and Trevor Bayliss might have looked ice cool on the Lord’s balcony, but you can be absolutely sure that they would have been dying inside.
It is all part of the show you have to put on as a leader. It was the same in the 2005 Ashes: I can admit now I was a complete mess at various points in that series, but hopefully never let the players realise it. The worst thing for a player is not knowing what your leader is going to be like from day to day. It unsettles the group.
Instead, a captain’s job is to make people feel as relaxed as possible, so the real skill is in being consistent — and Morgan is clearly a master of that.
It seems obvious to me that he has a tremendous future as a coach. Twenty20 franchises around the world will have seen his role in England’s World Cup win and fancy a piece of that, and it is inconceivable that he will not be England’s one-day coach at some point.
In the short-term, England’s focus is now the Ashes. Root has to try to harness the momentum and exploit the fact that the heroes of that side — Stokes, Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Jofra Archer and Jason Roy — will all feel 10 feet tall when they report for duty in a couple of weeks’ time.
Whatever happens for the rest of their careers, they will always be the men who won a World Cup final at Lord’s and took our game to a new level. Pick up the Ashes as well, and they will be the heroes of the greatest summer our game has ever seen.
— The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2019