Tag Archives: Eoin Morgan

England’s cricketers begin 2019 In the Caribbean

After completing a first Test series win in Sri Lanka in 17 years, England will look to build on their progress and begin 2019 with victory in the Caribbean.

This will be the 14th time England have toured the West Indies, and for many years the hosts had the upper hand.

However, most of their series victories came during the 1970s and 1980s, when their legion of fearsome fast bowlers featured the likes of Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Colin Croft and Malcolm Marshall.

But from 1995, the wheel of dominance shifted more towards England.  The  main reason for this is that the West Indies have struggled to find a group of players who could possibly come close to replicating the success of those past teams.

Other than Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, there hasn’t been any batsman or bowler who has really made a name for themselves in all three formats, but especially in Test cricket which is still regarded as the pinnacle, despite the rise of Twenty20.

The West Indies cause also hasn’t been helped by a drift away from cricket among young people in the Caribbean, plus numerous instances of squabbling and strife between the players and their board in recent years.

England’s last Test series in the Caribbean was in April/May 2015 when the sides shared The Wisden Trophy with a 1-1 drawn series. Denesh Ramdin and Alistair Cook were the respective captains.

Test Captains  

Jason Holder

The captain of both the West Indies Test and one-day teams, the Jamaican all-rounder will lead out his side for the 28th time. Under Holder, the hosts have won just seven out of their last 27 Tests. This includes 15 defeats and five draws.

Holder replaced wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin as Test skipper in 2015, and his first series in charge was in Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, where the West Indies lost both games in a two-match series. The West Indies are currently a lowly eighth in the Test rankings, ahead of only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

However, there were signs for renewed optimism during their tour of England in 2017, when Holder and his side managed to achieve a dramatic five-wicket victory in the second Test at Headingley, with Barbadian Shai Hope scoring a century in both innings.

Holder, 27, also took over the captaincy of the ODI team from Dwayne Bravo after the Trinidadian was sacked as after six games due to a poor run of results.

Joe Root      

The England Test skipper had a 2018 remember. After being mauled in Australia and New Zealand, Root and England came back with a bang by winning the second Test against Pakistan followed by a 4-1 home series win last summer against top-ranked Test side India.

Root also guided England to their first-ever Test series victory in Sri Lanka last autumn. Can he lead his side to back-to-back series victories away from home in the Caribbean?

T20 Captains:

Carlos Brathwaite

Since the 2016 T20 World Cup in India, Carlos Brathwaite has made a name for himself in West Indian cricket. Brathwaite who helped his team cross the finishing line in the World T20 final was named captain after Darren Sammy’s departure in 2016.

The Jamaican all-rounder began his International captaincy career in a two-match T20 series against India in Florida, 2016 where his side took a 1-0 series victory following a washout in the second game.

The upcoming series against England could prove to be a tough nut to crack, can Brathwaite and the West Indies provide a steep test for England?

Eoin Morgan  

Middlesex’s Eoin Morgan will be in charge of England’s limited overs series in the West Indies.  Morgan took over the role following Alistair Cook’s withdrawal from captaincy in the one-day format in 2014.

He led England to the 2015 World Cup, where they were stunned by Bangladesh in a 15-run loss in a Pool A match which ultimately knocked them out of the tournament.

The stylish left-handed batsman also led England to the final of the 2016 ICC T20 World Cup in India, where they lost to the West Indies courtesy of Brathwaite’s four sixes in the penultimate over.

England form in white ball cricket has been quite impressive in the past two seasons, with series wins against New Zealand, Australia, India and Sri Lanka. Can Morgan lead his team to another successful one-day series?

One To Watch: Olly Stone

Warwickshire’s right-arm paceman Olly Stone, 25, made his ODI debut in Sri Lanka last autumn, but a rain-affected series meant he was only able to show glimpses of his talent.

As far as his performances in county cricket go, Stone picked up an eight-wicket hall in the first innings of a match against Sussex in April 2018.

Tour Schedule:

Tour Match

15-18th Jan: three-day warm-up game vs WI Board, Three WS Oval, Barbados     Local Time:10:00    GMT: 14:00

Test Series

23-27th  Jan: 1st Test, Kensington Oval, Barbados     Local Time: 10:00    GMT: 14:00

31stJan -4th Fab: 2nd Test, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua      Local Time: 10:00    GMT: 14:00

9-13th Feb: 3rd Test,  Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia      Local Time: 10:00    GMT: 14:00

Tour Match

17 February: One- day warm up game vs Vice Chancellor’s XI, Three WS Oval, Barbados      Local Time: 10:00    GMT: 14:00

One-Day Series

20th February: 1st ODI,  Kensington Oval      Local Time: 11:00     GMT: 15:00

22nd February: 2nd ODI, Kensington Oval     Local Time: 11:00     GMT: 15:00

25th February: 3rd ODI, National Stadium, Grenada     Local Time: 09:30    GMT: 13:30

27th February: 4th ODI,  National Stadium     Local Time: 09:30    GMT: 13:30

2nd March 2019 5th ODI, Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia     Local Time: 11:00   GMT: 15:00

T20 Series 

5th March: 1st T20,  Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia   Local Time: 16:00  GMT: 20:00

8th March: 2nd T20, Warner Park, St Kitts & Nevis     Local Time: 16:00  GMT: 20:00

10th March: 3rd T20, Warner Park, St Kitts & Nevis    Local Time: 16:00  GMT: 20:00

Squads

England have announced their squads for the Test and One-Day Series:

Test squad: Joe Root (Yorkshire) (captain), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Sam Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Keaton Jennings (Lancashire), Jack Leach (Somerset), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (Middlesex) (captain), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Tom Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), David Willey (Yorkshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham)

 

 

Cricket balls

Will white ball contracts spell the end for Test cricket?

Test cricket was once the cornerstone of our great game, it was the pinnacle, the ultimate stage on which to showcase your skills. The La Scala of the cricketing world.

Grace, Bradman, Hutton, Lloyd, Gavaskar, Botham, Lillee  — the list goes on of greats whose careers have been defined by their performances in the Test arena. But is this a thing of the past?

In case you missed it, England internationals, Adil Rashid, Alex Hales and Reece Topley have all turned their back on red ball cricket as the trio have signed ‘white ball’ contracts with their respective counties and in doing so, almost certainly ended their Test careers.

All white now

As we all know, cricket is not what it once was. With a new, more dynamic audience craving speed, innovation and power, white ball cricket is thriving. So much so that worldwide domestic T20 competitions and their teams are now investing astronomical sums of money in players that have little hope nor little ambition of Test selection.

Tymal Mills is earning more in the IPL than England captain Joe Root

I present to you, Tymal Mills. The Sussex T20 specialist recently landed a whopping £1.4 million from Indian Premier League side, Royal Challengers Bangalore, which rather astonishingly, is just shy of double the salary of England Test skipper, Joe Root.

Not bad for a guy that has taken just three international T20 wickets in four matches.

Players such as Mills certainly cannot be begrudged or blamed for committing to the shorter format, but can the same be said about those with realistic hopes for Test match selection? Do players have a duty to support the game’s most traditional format?

Not according to former England bowler Chris Tremlett: “Some people will be disappointed that Hales and Rashid are no longer putting their hats in the ring for Test cricket, but the game is moving forward.

“Like it or not, this is the way modern-day cricket is going and it’s a personal choice for the players in question. You look at IPL contracts and that is where the money is – players are bound to follow it.”

Dagger through the heart

So, as the game continues to evolve into a calendar full of limited overs games, will higher profile players make themselves unavailable for Test selection as they eye the big bucks?

One man who could indeed do that is South Africa’s A B De Villiers. The quite brilliant Protea batsman is one of the most sought after one-day players in world. Despite being in the middle of a Test series battle against Australia, rumours persist that this could be his last outing in white clothing as he looks to cash in.

If that is the case then it would be a dagger through the heart of Test cricket and could potentially encourage other high profile players to follow suit.

Testing times

So how do the players see it?

“No one is watching it [Test cricket] and soon, it won’t be viable. There’s no money in it because it’s all in T20 leagues and we have to be worried about that,” says England Test opener, Alistair Cook.

Whilst England’s current limited overs captain, Eoin Morgan echoes those thoughts:  “Test match cricket has had a lot to worry about for a while now. If something was going to be done about it, it should have already been done already.”

Make county cricket great again

I agree with Eoin Morgan that something should have been done but the rapid rise of T20 cricket has made it difficult for the ICC and the respective governing bodies to come up with a solution. Or perhaps I’m being rather naive and in fact they see T20 as a lucrative cash cow they want to milk for all it’s worth, even if it means the Test arena is neglected.

So what are the options?

Financial Incentives

If players want the big bucks, then give it to them.

The ‘Test Championship’ has been talked about for some time now with no sign of it forthcoming. The ICC need to introduce this as soon as possible and offer big rewards, not only for the team winning it but for standout individual performances.

Show the players they can be rewarded.

Make county cricket great again

The stereotypical view of first class cricket in England is that it’s miserably cold, viewed by a solitary fan accompanied by his or her Jack Russell and played by glorified club cricketers.

Whilst that isn’t the case, it’s not a million miles from it and that should be a huge concern.

The ECB has to start engaging the youth of Britain and raise interest levels in the longer format and they need to do that by introducing a friendlier schedule.

Nobody wants to watch cricket in April with a flask of coffee in their hands and a blanket over their lap, so stop shaping the schedule to suit limited overs games and start playing first class games in school holidays, even if that means a shorter schedule.

Prioritise quality over quantity and make it fun.

Let the kids see a fiery spell of fast bowling on a quick bouncy pitch in July, not a 200 ball half century in April.

Innovate in the Test arena

The shorter formats are innovative, so why isn’t Test cricket?

Day/night Test matches have been a great hit with the crowds — let’s have more of them.

What about introducing penalty runs for slow over rates? Even as a cricketing purist I can acknowledge that the longer format can be painful to watch at times. So why not introduce an ‘over clock’? All overs must be bowled inside an allowed time or penalty runs are awarded to the batting teams.

Yes, these ideas aren’t perfect, but it’s a start.

Whatever is done can’t come quickly enough, because as it stands Test cricket and its future looks bleak.

Cricket balls photo by Farrukh via Flickr Creative Commons under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)