Tag Archives: Ireland

Why understated risk taker Eoin Morgan deserves more credit

Before you think about criticising Eoin Morgan for all of his apparent misgivings, have some perspective for what he’s done to make his career happen.

In Morgan, England have an understated risk taker, driven by his convictions, but of late, disliked for three main things.

These things are a lack of form, what appeared to be a lack of commitment to playing Tests, and an impression he demands special treatment.

Firstly, he’d scored just 328 runs at an average of under 30 in 2016. For many, he was first in line for the chopping block if the team didn’t do so well.

Secondly, before the West Indies, he said he has given up on ever playing Tests again, and he would be available for the IPL again.

This is despite having played his last First Class game in July 2015 for Middlesex (nearly two years ago).

For many this appears as if he’s picking and chosing when he wants to play for England, and it’s not fair It’s certainly not OK for him ti complain about non-selection in a format he isn’t playing.

Thirdly,  and most significantly, when England toured Bangladesh, he didn’t go. Out of the three elements to the undermining of his authority, this is probably the fairest criticism; that said – he did it without platitude-filled press conferences or sob stories. He made his position clear, and many didn’t like it, but at least he gave the side a chance to prepare.

These things slowly eroded some of Morgan’s authority, and it’s a bit unfair.  He isn’t perfect, but don’t he’s risked a lot to get where he is.

Firstly, appreciate how hard he has worked not only on his form, but also to build this team up.

In 2016, Morgan had a torrid time, but he’s made up for it in 2017, with 300 runs in six innings, including two centuries.

Secondly, realise that Morgan  has time and time again sacrificed his career for England.

He quit playing for his native Ireland to try and play for England. A tough thing to do, with no guarantees. He succeeded, but was then dropped.  Undeterred, he quit the IPL to re-stake a claim in the Test side, and when it was apparent he wouldn’t play in whites again, he refocused his career once more.

He didn’t sulk – he focussed on playing ODI cricket, and has succeeded.  As England’s ODI captain, he’s now fifth on the list of most matches as skipper, with a better win percentage than three of the four men ahead of him). Only Michael Vaughan is better, which is impressive company.

And, aside from the poor world cup performance, Morgan’s side is formidable. This England team has power hitting, genuine allrounders, spinners, quick bowlers, and dynamic fielding.

You can’t complain he won’t play Tests, and he wants to play in the IPL, but revel in his successes for England in ODI. It’s precisely because Morgan has specialised, that this young side has become so strong.

Eoin Morgan may not have fulfilled his potential in some areas of the game, but nobody should doubt his commitment to England.

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Ireland Team Preview – T20 World Cup

Ireland 15 man squad: W. Porterfield (captain), A. Cusack , G. Dockrell, T. Johnston,  N. Jones, E Joyce, T. Murtagh, K. O’Brien, N. O’Brien, B. Rankin, P. Stirling, M. Sorensen S. Thompson, A. White ,  G. Wilson

Ireland are a side of decent county pro’s and domestic players. They are not a phenomenal side but definitely have spirit and some big hitting batsmen. They have upset sides in the 50 over format, but have two heavyweights in their group. An upset would be seismic, but if any side can do it It is them and if it can happen in any format it is T20. Ireland will not be looking to win the tournament, but perhaps to take their games as close as possible and ride the wave of being minnows.

T20 World cup record :  P:7  W:1  WIn %:14.28%  L:5   NR/T:1

Best performance: Super Eights 2009

With the bat:

Porterfield in international T20 has a SR of 116.13 SR, one fifty. He crucially has English county experience for Warwickshire regularly playing with players like Bell, Trott, Woakes and his compatriot Rankin. As the International captain, he has to show his maturity and class at the top and keep a steady ship to maintain Irish dignity so they do not crash out embarrassingly.

Opening with Porterfield will be either  the newly Irish Irishman Ed Joyce or Sterling. Fresh from a minor stint with England which he scored a ODI ton against Australia, Joyce has become Irish once more. He and Porterfield are solid county players. Can they step up?

Paul Sterling has a SR of 122 and has 3 T20 Fifties to his name. As a professional cricketer for Middlesex in domestic T20  cricket his Strike rate 133.37 and he has 8 fifties. He will provide a powerful start at the top of the order, but like the others, can he give Ireland a glimmer of hope at the end of the rainbow ? (couldn’t resist)

The Surrey Keeper Gary Wilson and the Northants Keeper Niall O’Brien are also both in the squad giving yet more county experience. In county cricket they are consistent performers that will be invaluable to Ireland having faced other International cricketers in the county circuit before.

Kevin O’Brien has a SR of 97 SR and 1 fifty. He is famed for scoring the fasted ever world cup  century against England (50 overs).  He is a seriously big hitting batsmen and could be the engine behind an Irish upset. He has played for Somerset in their T20 campaign so clearly is thought of highly and can bowl as well.

O’Brien after his exhilaration match winning hundred. One of the great upsets

With the ball- Seamers:

Boyd Rankin is very tall, pretty fast and gets awkward bounce. He has played for the England Lions and has aspirations of test cricket for England. This tournament will be his last appearance in fact as he will be retiring from playing for Ireland to pursue test cricket for England. He could be the strike bowler but what else do Ireland have beyond that.. That will be crucial.

Tim Murtagh is a county pro for Middlesex. He is used to opening the bowling with Steven Finn and is the accurate and canny experienced partner of the tall fast Rankin. He is not so threatening but could give control.

Trent Johnston will provide experience and wicket taking guile. He is the leading Irish T20 International wicket taker but not fast or overly threatening.

With the ball – Spinner:

George Dockrell is only 20 but captained Ireland’s U19 side and is a regular first team player for Somerset. He is picked out as a potential star of the future, perhaps with England. His left arm orthodox is economical and takes wickets. Could he occasionally open the bowling as their best bowler ?

Dockrell already a county regular at 20 years old

Cool head:  Kevin O’ Brien showed his ability to play astonishing cricket under serious pressure in the world cup when he smashed his hundred against England.

Possible flaw: Lack of penetration. Ireland are a side filled with good county players like Rankin, Porterfield, Nail O’brien and Dockrell but lots of lesser known and unproven players. The Big players need to pull their weight if there is to be an upset.

Prospects –  A side capable of an upset for sure, They have good fast bowling and spin bowling stocks, solid top and lower order batting depth. Any further than the super eights will be a major upset but they are in the correct format to upset. They will provide exciting and passionate cricket but i don’t think they will make it to the super eights with the mighty West Indies and Australia to face up to. I hope they do though.