Monday 23 October 2017

Morgan has no regrets over tour as he returns to England

Eoin Morgan returning to cricket for the first time since the end of last summer. Photo: Nigel French/PA
Eoin Morgan returning to cricket for the first time since the end of last summer. Photo: Nigel French/PA

Nick Hoult

Eoin Morgan says he has "no regrets" about pulling out of the tour to Bangladesh and believes he "absolutely" retains the full support of the England players.

Morgan is on the verge of returning to cricket for the first time since the end of last summer when he plays for the Sydney Thunder in Australia's Big Bash. He will then take over the England one-day captaincy from Jos Buttler for the white-ball matches in India next month.

It will be Morgan's first involvement with England since skipping the tour to Bangladesh due to security concerns which could have undermined his job as captain but he is confident his fellow players accepted his decision.

"I wasn't comfortable travelling because of security concerns and I weighed up the question, 'Would I be able to perform as a captain and as a player given the security concerns in Bangladesh?'," said Morgan.

"I'm still comfortable with it. It is something I considered before confirming my decision to the ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board].

"I tried to imagine all the different circumstances and didn't feel comfortable enough in my mind to go and be able to perform.

"I have had a great deal of support, everyone who I trust in a tight-knit circle has supported me, everyone within the game that I trust has supported me, players ex- and current who I lean on for big decisions.

"It's been really good, it was a difficult decision to make and I don't think a lot of people would have made it but I am certainly happy with the decision that I have made.

"We're a tightly-knit group who back each other's decisions no matter what the case and in particular in this case where every decision for the individual was right for him.

"When you speak about security there are so many external factors: you've got to consider family members, kids, wives, girlfriends, mothers, fathers and it sits differently with different people.

"I think creating the platform for everybody to feel comfortable and not begrudging anybody for going or not going I think shows the strength within the side."

Part of the reason Morgan pulled out of the tour was his experience of seeing the aftermath of a bomb attack at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore when he was playing in the Indian Premier League in 2010. He has subsequently returned to India several times to play in the IPL but believes Bangladesh was a different case.

"I think one thing that had changed from 2010 in India was that other teams had travelled there and security had increased, also since then there had been no terrorist attacks or sightings or threats in regard to either a tournament or a national team," he said.

"I think going to Bangladesh and being the first Western team to travel there since the terrorist attack and the fact that Australia had pulled out even before the terrorist attack happened, was another reason."

Buttler led England to a 2-1 series victory in Bangladesh with Sam Billings and Ben Duckett taking their opportunities to impress in the absence of the captain and Alex Hales, who also pulled out for security reasons.

The ECB stuck by its promise not to hold skipping the tour against any player with both Morgan and Hales restored to the team for the India series which includes three one-day internationals and three T20s and begins in Pune on January 15.

Morgan, who will today be announced as the interim captain of the Sydney Thunder, has lost his IPL contract with the Sunrisers Hyderabad. He will play five Big Bash matches before arriving in India early next month.

Keaton Jennings will captain the North and James Vince the South in a series of limited-overs matches organised by England for March in the United Arab Emirates.

Mark Wood, the Durham pace bowler, will continue his recovery from injury in a series of games for players on the fringes of the England one-day team.


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