Let me begin with some trivia:

  1. What is England’s highest ODI score?
  2. What is England’s highest victory margin in terms of runs in ODIs?
  3. What is the highest aggregate in an ODI in England?
  4. What is England’s highest score batting second in an ODI?
  5. How many times England successfully chased a target of 300 or more against Australia in ODIs

The answers to the above questions are irrelevant to the context of this article. What relevant is all the above records got materialized in this English summer. Quite an achievement for a team which was eliminated after the first round in the World Cup six months ago. The entire DNA of the team was changed following the ignominious World Cup exit. The outgoing players included big guns like Alistair Cook, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad and James Anderson. Young blood were injected in the likes of Jason Roy, Alex Hales, James Taylor and Mark Wood and they not just brought about reversal of fortunes but also fashioned a new way of play unpreceded by any English team before.

The most important cog in the wheel and the link between the past and present was the skipper Eoin Morgan. Form had deserted him and his claim to ODI captaincy was hanging on a thin thread. The resurgence of England in ODIs in the home season is reminiscent of the way in which Morgan revamped his career.

Morgan’s ODI career

Matches Inngs Runs Avg SR HS 100/50 Ducks
Post CT 2013 – Aus tour 2013/14 10 10 548 68.5 93.03 124* 2/4 0
Post Aus tour 2013/14 – WC 2015 29 26 491 18.88 72.31 121 1/1 5
Post WC 2015 10 10 600 66.66 110.1 113 1/6 1
Post 2013 CT 49 46 1639 38.11 90.4 124* 4/11 6
Overall career (for Eng) 128 119 3794 38.32 91.64 124* 7/23 9

Morgan’s career stats since the Champions Trophy 2013 are very similar to his overall career. However he hasn’t achieved the consistency he yearned for. A long dark blotch was sandwiched between two purple patches. In the twin bilateral series against Australia in 2013-14 period, he scored a minimum of 30 runs in each of his completed 10 innings averaging 68 with two hundreds to show for. It was followed by a dismal year and a half where his averaged stooped to under 19 in 29 matches culminating the World Cup debacle. He hit a century on his first match after taking over the captaincy from Cook against Australia which was followed by three ducks in as many games against the same opposition. He batted at #5 position in most of these games and was even demoted to #6 at times.

However the sacking of Cook and Bell meant Morgan moving up to the key #4 position from where he could control the game. The results were staggering. Morgan became the second Englishman to score 600 or more ODI runs in a home season after Andrew Strauss’s (745 runs) in 2010. He averaged 64 and 69 in the two series and thereby became the first English captain to average above 50 in an ODI series involving more than two matches since February 2012. Morgan also became the third English captain since Kevin Pietersen (2008) and Andrew Strauss (2010) to average above 50 in two consecutive ODI series with a minimum of three matches.  After the first 26 matches as captain, Morgan crossed fifty 13 times – the most by any player at that stage and one ahead of next placed Cook.

During the dark phase for Morgan, he usually came to bat after solid starts by the top order. The average run rate while Morgan came on to bat was 4.87 with three wickets down – more steady than spectacular. In the current season, thanks to the change in personnel at the top and promoting himself up the order, the average run rate at the time of his arrival at the crease is 6.18 with two wickets down instead of three.

Over by over break up

Post Aus tour 2013/14 – WC 2015 Post WC 2015
Overs Runs Balls Dis SR Runs Balls Dis SR Diff in SR
0 – 10 8 45 1 17.78 10 27 1 37.04 19.26
11 – 20 100 186 5 53.76 149 161 0 92.55 38.79
21 – 30 151 256 12 58.98 237 213 1 111.27 52.29
31 – 40 96 109 3 88.07 197 140 6 140.71 52.64
41 – 50 136 89 5 152.81 7 8 1 87.5 -65.31

In the phase before the home season Morgan used to arrive in the crease around the 20th over with score at about 98 with 3 wickets down. Whereas post-World Cup promotion to #$ meant his average arrival time to the middle was around the 11th over with a score of about 68 with 2 wickets down. This meant he had the momentum and had much more time to build the innings rather than resurrect the innings. In the overs between 11 – 30 his strike rate was a paltry 56.78 in the pre-World Cup period while it sky rockets to 103.20 in the current home season.

Post Aus tour 2013/14 – WC 2015 Post WC 2015
Overs Runs Balls SR Dis Runs Balls SR Dis Diff in SR
Mandatory PP 8 45 17.78 1 10 27 37.04 1 19.26
Batting PP 41 45 91.11 0 38 18 211.11 1 120
Other Overs 442 589 75.04 25 552 500 110.4 7 35.36

During his rough period till the world cup, Morgan was dismissed between overs 11 – 30 17 times in 26 innings while came down to a solitary dismissal in the next 10 games. This meant he was often dismissed before the introduction of batting Powerplays which existed then.

During the period of struggle Morgan kept getting dismissed by the off-spinners. R Ashwin accounted for him thrice while the Sri Lankan trio of Dilshan, Senanayake and Mendis dismissed him twice each. Against right arm pacers he average 13.17 at a strike rate of 64 with 12 dismissals. However in the current home season he rediscovered his mojo and averaged 73.5 against the right arm bowlers and stroked at well above run-a-ball against them.

Post Aus tour 2013/14 – WC 2015 Post WC 2015
Runs Balls Dis Avg SR Runs Balls Dis Avg SR
Right arm pace 158 245 12 13.17 64.49 294 252 4 73.50 116.67
Left arm pace 65 68 2 32.50 95.59 99 107 2 49.50 92.52
Off spin 194 243 10 19.40 79.84 147 140 2 73.50 105.00
Slow left arm 74 123 2 37.00 60.16 60 46 1 60.00 130.43

 

Diff in Avg Diff in SR
Right Hand pace 60.33 52.18
Left hand pace 17.00 -3.06
Off spin 54.10 25.16
Slow left arm 23.00 70.27

With the pool of young guns around him Morgan would have to set his sights on building a team for the next World Cup in 2019 at home. But one thing is for sure – he would be certainly be striving to achieve more consistency with the bat rather than periods of floods and droughts as his career had witnessed so far.

 

A paucity of spinners in Indian cricket
Ravi Shastri - The perfect fit for the job