We can’t wait to get started – Morgan says England are ready for World Cup
England captain Eoin Morgan will carry a message of “no regrets” into a World Cup campaign he would happily start tomorrow.
A significant piece of the jigsaw fell into place on Tuesday morning at Lord’s, where the final 15-man squad was announced. Out went Joe Denly and David Willey, with Jofra Archer’s place rubber-stamped after a brief but persuasive audition against Pakistan and Liam Dawson drafted in from the cold.
Alex Hales’ absence – discarded earlier this month after failing recreational drug testing – barely drew comment on the day and Morgan insisted he could not look back with anything but pride on his side’s journey from also-rans four years ago to favourites on home soil.
Speaking at the launch of England’s new kit, a powder blue homage to the one worn by Sir Ian Botham et al in the 1992 final, Morgan said: “There’s absolutely no regrets, we’re positioned in the best possible place at the moment.
“Our exceptional days are better than we could have imagined – the world records etc – and I could never have seen those at the start of 2015.
“We’d like to start playing tomorrow. We’ve had some really good preparations against Pakistan (a 4-0 series win) and I don’t think it could have gone better. Everyone just wants chopping and changing. Everyone just wants to get on with the tournament.”
There are warm-up games against Australia and Afghanistan to take care of first, neither restricted to 11-a-side, before the curtain finally goes up with South Africa’s visit to the Oval on May 30.
They will be wearing their new outfits on each occasion, hoping to channel the spirit of 1992’s runners-up finish before going one better at the Lord’s showpiece.
The distinctive jerseys are still a regular sight at England internationals 27 years on, and Morgan is desperate for the current generation to create a legacy of their own.
“It’s a huge opportunity we’re looking at to go out and express ourselves and continue to play as we have in the last four years,” he said.
“The other one is to inspire the next generation of cricketers to come into the game and pick up a ball and a bat, hopefully come out of the tournament worshipping one of the guys in our team.”
Morgan is as influential a skipper as England have ever had in one-day cricket and head coach Trevor Bayliss suggested ahead of final selection that the Irishman would hold a casting vote.
Whether or not it came to that in a meeting that lasted around 90 minutes is not known, but Morgan made it clear he has complete confidence in the group he has been given.
“I was very fortunate to sit in on the meetings to start with, I try to feed back the mood in the changing room,” he said.
“Obviously Ed has the final say, we just try to give him as much information to make the call as he can. We are very happy that he backed us with our decision and we are happy with the squad moving forward.”