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Dubliner Morgan set to become England captain

SANTRY native Eoin Morgan is set to become the next England cricket captain after it was revealed Alastair Cook will not captain the team at next year's World Cup.

A powerful combination of wretched results, even worse individual form and Cook's vociferous and influential chorus of critics appear to have made it increasingly difficult for England's selectors to stick to their guns.

A meeting in the midlands yesterday, in which they were expected to pick an initial squad of 16 for next month's tri-series in Australia, to be trimmed by one for the main event, suggests Cook has paid for his poor run of form. The 29-year-old has made just one one-day international 50 in his last 22 innings.

Less than a week ago, England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton was still saying he would be "very surprised" if - despite his "miserable" form - Cook was not confirmed as captain on Saturday morning.

Another failure, and defeat, followed to make the margin of England's series setback in Sri Lanka 5-2.

The selectors deliberated at length in September before naming him as captain in Sri Lanka and, in James Whitaker's words, a "unique leader" who would unquestionably stay in charge for the World Cup too.

However, Cook conceded after his latest defeat that he could have "no complaints" if he was moved on.

As for a replacement, Eoin Morgan's case is championed by the loudest voices moulding public opinion and raising the pressure on national selector Whitaker and his colleagues Peter Moores, Angus Fraser and Mick Newell.

There is an unmissable snag, however, in that the Irishman's batting form - since a purple patch in Australia last winter - is not discernibly better than Cook's.

If there are other alternatives, they are not obvious.

Of those guaranteed a World Cup place if fit, 23-year-old Joe Root is a developing and in-form linchpin at number four and surely could do without the extra encumbrance.

Stuart Broad led England, in Cook's absence, to their last ODI series victory but is injured.