When the England captain ain’t making runs, the drill goes like this: journalist asks one of his team-mates about his loss of form; team-mate describes him as ‘world class’ and says there’s nothing to worry about.
It was Joe Root earlier in the week and now it’s Jimmy Anderson’s turn.
“Morgs is a world-class player and has been for however many games he’s played. He’s been great for us and we’re just hopeful he can get some form because we’ve seen how destructive he can be when he’s in form.”
While Root may not actually have used the term ‘world class’, that was the gist and it’s certainly a phrase you’ll hear a lot from England players – often about struggling team-mates, but also in reference to far-from-struggling opponents.
But what is world class? What does it mean? If it means suitable for the World XI who are pencilled in for a several millennia long tour of GU Piscium b or wherever then the term is being thrown about a little too freely. If it simply means ‘among the best in the world’ then it seems something of a back-handed compliment. Surely any international cricketer is by definition among the best cricketers in the world?
Don’t suppose it matters really. Australia v England tomorrow. We’re actually – genuinely – looking forward to it. Come on the Englands. Show your (world) class.
We knew this site would become a hub for celebrity gossip one day. We received a surge in traffic yesterday off the back of the fully weird news that someone tried to blackmail the ECB over some sort of relationship Eoin Morgan once had with a human woman.
The landing page of choice for those digging into the story was this one about whether or not Eoin Morgan had a girlfriend. It’s from 2010 and in it we give some excellent and entirely plausible reasons why a woman might like to enter into a relationship with England’s now one-day captain.
If you read the comments, there is a marked change in tone from those left within a couple of days of the post being published and those left later on. See if you can spot it.
He’s been kind of crap of late and even when he has made runs in Tests, they’ve seemed a bit jousey. However, at the same time, he’s been a pyrotechnic gnarl-dog in one-day internationals and they ain’t ten a penny.
Should England drop him? He’s not the only one to have failed to make runs in this series and he made a hundred not long before. Have we been spoilt by the likes of Strauss, Cook, Prior and Trott, all of whom made tons on Test debut? Are we so impatient we punch the microwave for its tardiness?
Then again, can 15 Tests count as being early days? It’s not what it was, because those matches sit alongside 71 one-day internationals – 71 one-day internationals in which he’s been pretty damn good.
Arguments, counter-arguments, assertions, rebuttals, Ravi Bopara and lists of words. Is there meaning in this post or do all these question marks hint at an arse-prangingly prolonged bout of fence-sitting?
Not sure if this opinion is even a slightly different shade of grey to the one the other day.
Morgan or Bopara? Sounds like it was close. The national selector, Geoff Miller, said:
“The controlled innings that Eoin played just gave him the nod.”
When a batsman is being picked to play against Sri Lanka, scoring 193 against Sri Lanka will advance your cause.
We’re not sure why Ravi Bopara neglected to score 193 against Sri Lanka, but in hindsight, that was an error.
We’ve a lot of time for both Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan. Far from feeling it necessary to identify one as being a better bet for the Test team, we’re simply happy that one of them misses out.
The true strength of the great Australian Test teams of yesteryear was measured in Brad Hodges, Michael Bevans and Stuart Laws – the players who couldn’t get in. England are a fair way off that, but having a man like Morgan stewing in county cricket is no bad thing.
Eoin Morgan seems to like a bit of pressure. That’s his greatest attribute. The pressure he felt before scoring a hundred for England Lions against Sri Lanka would all have come from himself, but that still counts.
All forms of pressure get filtered through your own mind, after all. You rate the feelings of other people, decide whether they have a case for applying pressure and then your brain does the application on their behalf if you feel it’s justified.
Many people think we should join Facebook. We disagree and therefore feel no pressure to do so. Conversely, while takeaway delivery drivers doubtless have far worse customers than us, we nevertheless find ourself crippled by nerves when the ‘how much to tip’ question starts to loom.
A lot of people seem to be searching the internet trying to find out whether Eoin Morgan has a girlfriend or not. We can’t say this is something that’s unduly concerned us.
However, using our extraordinary ability to put ourself in someone else’s shoes, we have gained an accurate insight into what a girl might see in him.
- Ice-cold temperament that’s perfect for marshalling a run-chase
- The ability to hit giant sixes, seemingly at will
- Supple batsmanship of breathtaking dexterity
- Adaptable approach, moving from accumulation to aggression in a heartbeat
- Sees England home and wins cricket matches
That’s pretty much everything a girl looks for in a man, right?
Of course he isn’t, but Morgan’s 130 was better than Tendulkar’s 203 against Sri Lanka – we’ll say that much. England v Pakistan has been a game for bowlers and only then does batting really mean something.
Most of us are happy about this. People mistakenly believe that sport is all about action, but it isn’t. Like anything absorbing, sport is about plot and narrative. It’s the difference between the second batch of Star Wars films and Blade Runner.
The former is all fours and sixes, shorn of context, ambling towards an inevitable conclusion. The latter is the ball beating the bat and field settings being changed – nothing tangible, but every little thing is shot-through with meaning and you’ve no idea where it’s going.
Apologies for the delay. We’ve a new internet provider and getting back online is never easier than pushing string.
Eoin Morgan’s hundred against Australia is worthy of high praise, but if we’ve learnt anything from the serious-faced Paddy finishotron, it’s to pace yourself. We’ve got to leave ourself room for manoeuvre for when he plays an even more exceptional innings.
We’ve said he’s played the best Twenty20 innings by an England player, we’ve called him a Paul Collingwood deluxe and we’ve said he’ll make it as a Test batsman. We’re not going to leave ourself anywhere to go at this rate.
With that in mind, Eoin Morgan’s 85-ball 103 not out to get England home against Australia was somewhere between ‘passably fair’ and ‘reasonable’.
By this new scale, Ajit Agarkar’s bowling is now officially ‘unclassified’.
Eoin Morgan has been included in an England Test squad for the first time after excelling in the shorter formats. However, his first-class average is 36 – and that with a lot of second division cricket. Is he good enough to make runs in Test cricket?
We tend to think he is.
Can he cope with Test bowling?
Yep, although we’ll have to see how he copes when bowlers bounce the shit out of him, which is the first thing a Test team should do with any batsman who is seen as being a one-day specialist. Bangladesh won’t do this, so we’ll have to wait for Pakistan’s arrival later in the summer for our answers here.
Is he patient enough for a Test innings?
This is harder to gauge. He does have a double hundred in first-class cricket, but his average is pretty piss-poor. From what we’ve seen, he’s a batsman who always plays the situation, which is a good sign. He doesn’t just bat, he adapts. In the longer format, we reckon he’ll set himself for hundreds.
Does he have the right character and attitude?
You can’t fault Eoin Morgan on that score. This is why he’s in the Test squad. Judging by how successful he’s been for England, it seems like he might switch-on when he’s on the bigger stage. Perhaps he struggles to find motivation in the second division of the County Championship. We can’t even find the motivation to read the scores, so we’d understand that.
The King Cricket verdict
We’re definitely in favour. We’ve seen enough ordinary-looking batsmen scoring runs in Test cricket where technically accomplished batsmen have foundered to believe that it’s what’s in your ‘ead as counts. Eoin Morgan’s ‘ead is full of fist-pumping victories as far as we can tell.
Some cricketers are crippled by nerves. Others find they need nerves to get them going. We’d put Eoin Morgan in the second camp.
Of all the many eye-catching features of Eoin Morgan’s batting, it’s one of the least noticeable which is perhaps the most significant. He’s very, very calm.
Eoin Morgan is the England one-day batsman you most want to watch, but he’s increasingly the one you most rely on as well. He’s like a Paul Collingwood Deluxe.
If you pieced together a one-day batsman from bits of other ones, you’d have something not dissimilar to Morgan. Chris Gayle’s power, wrists that put Murali’s to shame and the coolness and eye for a run-chase of Michael Bevan.
Most of you are English. Don’t let us down here. Let’s work out how it’s all going to go wrong.