Eoin Morgan
Renaissance Man? : England's white ball captain Eoin Morgan gestures next to his teammate Chris Jordan during their recent campaign in ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The role of Eoin Morgan in England cricket, once he is done and dusted with his international career, will be a special one. He could easily be looked upon as a Renaissance Man of sorts who led the white ball revolution in his country over last six years - captained them to their first 50-overs ICC World Cup and brought them so close to the World T20 trophy in both the last editions.

The 35-year-old, however, wants to wear any such stature loosely on his sleeves as he is now in the middle of his current assignment - being part of the Dwayne Bravo-led Delhi Bulls in the ongoing fifth edition of Abu Dhabi T10 League in the UAE.

Asked if he is conscious of his stature, Morgan told the Delhi Bulls media in a freewheeling interview: ‘‘It is a huge compliment, I have not thought about it. The biggest compliment to myself and my team is that during Covid this summer, 15 of the squad went into isolation and we had to pick a whole new squad that came in that not only played well against a full fledged Pakistan side but they came out and played the brand of cricket we played. I and my wife were watching the game. I called Jos (Buttler) and other guys and said ‘geez this is amazing this is great to watch. This is what it must be like when watching us’. It doesn’t matter what name is written on the back of the shirt.

It’s really a far cry from the pre-2015 World Cup times, when England were hardly considered among the favourites in a global white ball event. ‘‘What we have achieved in the last six years is to create more expectations around us because now we are looked at as favourites or second favorites in tournaments for years and years in my career. Even in the 2010 T20 World Cup which we won in the West Indies, we were a complete afterthought. Since we played in the Champions Trophy in 2017, we have been the favourites. We know we have a chance of winning, it’s not a false hope or false anticipation. Those two things are huge compliments to what we have achieved as a group.’’

Barely a week had elapsed since Morgan’s England, who were looking hot favourites till they were pipped at the post by New Zealand in the semi-final, that he is now focused on the job at hand in the UAE capital. Asked how challenging it is mentally to get over with the disappointment of failing to go the distance, he observed: ‘‘I think how you process things and understand them and move on from the games. A good example is the IPL campaign at Kolkata Knight Riders this season. At the beginning of the league we won two out of seven, we weren’t performing well and struggling as a team and then Covid hit, we all flew home and then six months later we joined the campaign in the UAE and we got all the way to the finals. Guys came with a fresh mindset and ambition and better understanding. A lot has to do with confidence, feeling comfortable with your own team and trying to wrestle back into the tournament.’’


As someone who has seen there and done that, does the aspects of captaincy remain the same both for England and as a franchise? ‘‘Here I think, both have their challenges and when you talk about leading your country, its normally over a longer period, you build longer and stronger bonds over the couple of years maybe towards leading to a World Cup or a Champions Trophy or maybe a Test series or as coming in to any franchise team and lead over the period however short or long it is and you trying to achieve that collective goal but trying to work with what you have at the time, so in franchise cricket, there are as many challenges just different ones than you come up against in international cricket.

Looking ahead at the Delhi Bulls campaign, where they got off to a winning start on the opening night of the tournament on Friday, Morgan sounded upbeat of a strong campaign under Bravo. ‘‘Bravo is one of the most experienced T20 cricketers in the world if not the most, you think how long he has been around and how many games he has player and the biggest factor that he is a winner and won competitions around the world and won the T20 World Cup as well, so he is going to be essential and hopefully achieving success.’’

On the opening night, Delhi Bulls took down the defending champions Northern Warriors by six wickets in the opening match of Abu Dhabi T10 while Team Abu Dhabi beat Bangla Tigers by 40 runs.