Dubai: Eoin Morgan, England’s World Cup winning captain last year, feels that he is getting into the ‘‘best years’’ of his career with experience and still has enough to offer in the white ball game for his country.
Being regarded as one of the best finishers of the game today, ‘Captain Morgan’, as he has come to be known, revealed that he has matured in this art especially over the last two years. ‘‘The more experience I acquired batting in the middle order, I have learnt to finish the games and find myself in a good space now,’’ he said in a candid conversation on ‘Knights Unplugged,’ a pre-season video released by his IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders.
The IPL 2020 season has now been postponed indefinitely with the nationwide lockdown extended in India to curb the growth of coronavirus pandemic, but Morgan fondly recalled memories of his earlier tenure with KKR, the unique experience of playing in the league, a memorable World Cup campaign last year and of course - glimpses of life in the times of lockdown in England. The country, alongwith the rest of Europe, has been also ravaged by the virus - but what has lifted the spirits of the Morgans is the presence of his newborn baby in the household.
Giving an insight into his proficiency with the reverse sweep - which makes it so difficult for the bowlers to decide their length to bowl to him - the 33-year-old said the secret goes back to his formative years as a player. ‘‘It look me a lot practice to work this out. When I came to play for Middlesex as a 16-year-old at Lord’s from Ireland, I realised that the straight boundaries are really long and it’s difficult for me to pick up runs there. I tried the switch hits to get boundaries on the square...however, I now play it less and less for I have got out playing it a few times,’’ Morgan said.
The World Cup memories gets the somewhat reticent Morgan light up and it was no different on this occasion. ‘‘The final was one of the best cricket matches ever played. You could say that the our campaign began in the aftermath of the 2015 World Cup when we were bundled out after the league stages. A lot of effort and planning had gone into those four years and the role of our support staff - who kept questioning us in a constructive way - was one of the key behind our success,’’ he said.
The World Cup triumph had, in the following months, propelled Morgan to a cult hero status in England and he enjoyed every moment of it. ‘‘I was flattered when a couple wrote to me asking for permission to name their child after me while the British Royal Mail decided to rename a Post Box after me. I live near the Lord’s (venue of the World Cup final) and the Post Box is in the neighbourhood,’’ he said with a smile.
Moving onto to the topic of IPL, Morgan said he was extremely excited to return in the Knights’ camp. ‘‘I had spent three years there and was a part of their first triumph in 2012.
‘‘It was a chaotic season...there was a big celebration back in Kolkata where people lined up the streets to receive us and I remember Eden Gardens being full. I was there just for a couple of hours before leaving for home but I vividly remember the boys doing lap of honour, the sheer joy in people’s faces,’’ he remembered.
It was the inevitable question of life under lockdown which kickstarted the conversation, and Morgan seemed to have his hands full with a three-week old family member in the house. ‘‘Taking care of the baby is a fulltime job, I have changed around 1000 nappies now - it’s something my wife doesn’t like much,’’ he revealed.
England’s captain in shorter formats, however, is not so fussed about workouts. ‘‘I know people are obsessed with workouts now, but I do just about enough to keep myself in shape. As for the rest of the time, I am trying to make the most of a bad situation by being with the family - doing barbecues outside if the weather permits, reading and of course: Netflix.’’
What has be been watching? ‘‘I had been feeding on Narcos on the life of Pablo Escobar, a bit graphic but a very good watch. Then I have also signed up for a web series called ‘Masterclass,’ where experts talk about things ranging from cooking to leadership,’’ Morgan added.
How to pronounce ‘Eoin’ right?
The pronounciation of the first name for Eoin Morgan has often been a cause of dispute, but the England ODI captain made things easy for the viewers. ‘‘Spell Eoin as Owen, much like the former England footballer Michael Owen. Don’t look at the spelling, it’s a celtic name and little far-fetched. This way, you won’t get it wrong,’’ he added.
Captain Morgan’s best picks
Morgan’s choices on whom he would back for playing for his life
On a golf course: Tiger Woods (other options were Rory McIlroy; Phil Mickelson)
Football: Leo Messi (Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney)
Cricket: Andre Russell (Sunil Narine, Jaques Kallis)
Tennis: Roger Federer (Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams)