Eoin Morgan insists he does not regret his England retirement

‘I can’t pinpoint one thing… I had just reached the end of the road’: Eoin Morgan says there was ‘no temptation’ for him to delay his England retirement, as he insists he has been ‘content’ since making the decision

  • Eoin Morgan confirmed his decision to retire from international action today 
  • He steps away having won the World Cup and changed the white-ball game 
  • But he has insisted that there was ‘no temptation’ for him to delay his decision 
  • Morgan cannot also pinpoint the specific time he realised he would call time 

Eoin Morgan sat in the ECB boardroom at Lord’s reflecting on his pioneering career and caught sight of the World Cup he did so much to win displayed high on the wall to his right.

‘I didn’t see that in here,’ said Morgan, who led England to that dramatic Super Over victory against New Zealand three years ago. ‘That’s pretty cool. It’s incredible.

‘That just reminds me of the journey. The hardest, most challenging time but also the most enjoyable, culminating in the final here with the best people. Good times.’ Then a pause. ‘Actually, I think that’s a replica. I do. I don’t think that’s the real thing.’

Eoin Morgan has insisted he has no regrets over his decision to retire from England action

Morgan was always the real deal from the moment Andrew Strauss charged him with transforming England’s white-ball cricket in the aftermath of the nadir of the 2015 World Cup and through that journey that peaked on that fabled day at Lord’s.

Along the way the Dubliner became one of the most significant figures in English cricket history, the man who changed the white-ball game and has now even seen his blueprint copied by England’s Test team through Ben Stokes and his great friend Brendon McCullum.

But it is a journey that has come to an abrupt halt as Morgan has decided to call time on his international career, at 35, within sight of a Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in October that was expected to be his swansong. Instead England will now be led by Jos Buttler, who will be confirmed as Morgan’s successor later this week.

Morgan confirmed his decision today, but steps away having won the World Cup in 2019

‘It was a little over a week ago,’ said Morgan when asked to explain why he was calling it a day now. ‘I went to bed having written notes about various different things, team orientated, heading towards the World Cup. How to get there, what we’re doing, the normal run of the mill stuff I do.

‘Then I woke up next morning with just a completely different feeling, one I’d never had before. And it’s hard to describe unless you’ve been through it. I’ve talked to a lot of people over the last three years in the lead up to this transition and the most common theme is “when you know, you know”. I used to think they were full of s***.

‘Genuinely, I used to sit there and think “I’m not sure about that.” But on that Monday that’s how it felt. I can’t pinpoint one thing. I had just reached the end of the road.’

That Monday was the day after Morgan made his second duck in consecutive matches against the Netherlands in Amsterdam and concerns about his lack of runs had started to grow. Suddenly, despite protestations to the contrary from the players who worshipped him, the World Cup seemed a step too far and Morgan knew it.

He is one of the most significant figures in cricket history and has changed the white-ball game

However, Morgan made ducks in each of the first two matches vs Holland and missed the third

‘Before when I’ve been out of form I’ve been able to see a picture out of it,’ continued Morgan. ‘And if the team were doing crap I could see a picture out of that too. This time I couldn’t see either. The feeling that day was that the World Cup was a million miles away.’

Morgan insists there will be no regrets over the timing of his sudden departure. ‘The day it hit me was a difficult day but since then I’ve been very content,’ he said.

‘There was no temptation to carry on. I’ve always put the team first regardless of what my retirement looks like and if I had tried to hang on until the World Cup it would have been unbelievably unfair on the team. And it would have been unfair to our fans.’

Equally there was no temptation to have one last game in that final ODI in Amsterdam even though the groin strain that was said to have ruled him out was genuine. ‘It was part of how I was feeling that day,’ said Morgan. ‘I’ve woken up in the past with back spasms, slipped discs and all sorts of things. But I would work my way out of bed and see a way forward. This was an old injury that flared up again and that contributed to my decision.’

He has told reporters that there was ‘no temptation’ for him to keep playing for his country

Wicketkeeper-batter Jos Buttler (C) is poised to replace Morgan ahead of the T20 World Cup

Now he will initially distance himself from his team – ‘but I’ve told the coach (Matthew Mott) I will always be on the end of the phone if he needs me,’ – work for Sky on the upcoming white-ball matches against India and South Africa, play for London Spirit in the Hundred and carry on with a post-graduate diploma in strategic leadership and governance at the University of Liverpool he began earlier this summer. 

He will not be short of offers, the most likely of which will be a return in the long-term to the England set-up as a mentor.

‘I think the England team have unbelievable potential not only over the next couple of years but the next generation,’ added Morgan who is still ‘searching’ for the right future role. ‘There will be no mixed feelings if they go on to big things without me. I’ll be absolutely over the moon if they win this World Cup and the 50-over one next year.’

Thanks to the Morgan revolution England have every chance.

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