London: England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan retired from international cricket with immediate effect on Tuesday, saying he recently woke up and knew now was the time to stand down.
Morgan led England to victory at the 2019 World Cup — their first major global 50-over title — and took them to the top of the one-day and Twenty20 rankings.
Form and fitness
But the 35-year-old batsman has been struggling with form and fitness issues this year.
Dublin-born Morgan was twice out for nought during the recent ODI series in the Netherlands and withdrew from the third game with a groin issue.
Morgan said a “common answer” from former players he had spoken to about retirement was that he would “wake up and know”.
“That moment came for me in Amsterdam,” Morgan told Sky Sports when announcing his retirement at Lord’s, the scene of England’s World Cup triumph.
“I’ve just come to the end. I’m glad I was in a sound enough space to understand that feeling and be well aware of what it meant.”
Morgan is England’s all-time leading run-scorer in ODI and T20 cricket with 6,957 and 2,458 runs respectively.
His tally of 225 ODI appearances and 115 in T20Is are also England records.
Proud and content
But Morgan has made just two fifties from his past 28 international innings across the two white-ball formats.
“The day it hit me, it was quite a sad day, reaching the end of such a special journey but in many ways since that day I’ve been incredibly proud and content with the decision and excited for English cricket going forward,” he said.
Morgan, who will continue to play domestic cricket for Middlesex and the Hundred franchise London Spirit, began his international career with his native Ireland in 2006 but switched his allegiance to England three years later.
He is the only England player to have won both limited-overs World Cups, having helped Paul Collingwood’s side triumph in the 2010 T20 version in the Caribbean.
‘The best leader I’ve seen’
Rob Key, the managing director of England men’s cricket, said Morgan’s career had been about more than the World Cup success.
“As with all great players and leaders, he has changed the way the game has been played, and he has changed the way an entire generation and generations to come will play this form of the game,” said Key.
“His legacy within the game will be felt for many years to come. He is, without question, the best leader I have seen. I wish him well in the next chapter of his career.”
Morgan said while the 2019 World Cup was a “performance highlight”, if he could relive one moment in his international career, it would be the start of England’s limited-overs revival following the 2015 edition.
“The journey since then has been absolutely incredible,” he added.
Morgan took inspiration for England’s white-ball revolution from former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.
McCullum, now England’s Test coach, hit 77 from only 25 balls to inspire New Zealand’s thrashing of Morgan’s men at the 2015 World Cup.
“Baz (McCullum) is one of my close mates and I spoke to him,” said Morgan. “I’ve spoken to him about retirement for a long time. He said ‘you will know. It will be a feeling that comes and hits you.’”
McCullum, speaking after his inaugural campaign as England coach ended in a 3-0 win over Test world champions New Zealand, paid tribute to Morgan by saying: “The impact he has had on English cricket and world cricket has obviously been significant.
“World Cup winner, but the players he has brought through, superstars of the modern game.
“They might have got there anyway, but I think he got them there quicker because of the approach he took. He’s a tremendous leader, a fine human being.”