“Jofra is a very impressive player. He’s a guy who, if he was England qualified, we’d have looked at after maybe the Bangladesh league at the end of last year.” © Getty
England will first play a one-off ODI against Scotland before taking on their arch rivals, Australia, in a five-match ODI series followed by a solo T20I. While there have been constant talks of a changed behavioral approach in the Australian camp in the wake of the landscape-changing ball tampering fiasco, England are in no mood to take the verbal route. Eoin Morgan, the England skipper, who’s been an unabashed admirer of New Zealand cricket, lauded them for showing the world how it was possible to succeed without taking to sledging.
Under Morgan, England have discovered their own powers, a team that had been often guilty of following in others’ footsteps to succeed in white-ball cricket. Apart from the 2009 World T20, England have had not much to show for in their cabinet when it comes to white-ball cricket. As England emerge as the frontrunners to win their maiden 50-over World Cup title next year, at home, Morgan has called for authenticity in their approach, something that has worked for them during this period of their ascendancy.
“No, I don’t want to see any abuse of players,” Morgan noted. “And no, I definitely don’t want to see what might happen in Australia replicated here. It’s not what we’re about culturally. Certainly within cricketing circles. The humility about the way we play cricket sets an example for the majority of other countries around the world. So yes, there might be a laugh and a giggle but predominantly it will be harmless.
“The way New Zealand played at the 2015 World Cup changed cricket. The way they went about it epitomised the way they are as a nation. And that’s important for us. For years we were guilty of trying to replicate whatever the best side in the world at the time did. And that doesn’t work as it doesn’t come naturally. Or it’ll work for a short period and we won’t be able to sustain it.”
As England continue to fine tune their combinations with exactly a year left to the showpiece event, there have been rumours of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) looking to alter regulations pertaining to eligibility in order to accommodate pace sensation Jofra Archer in the national team in time for the 2019 World Cup. However, Morgan, on Saturday (June 10), opined that the existing rules are pretty much going to stay.
West Indies-born Archer is currently serving the seven-year residency period having joined Sussex upon the recommendation made by Chris Jordan. Following his sensational arrival on the scenes, there has been news from different quarters about the residency period being trimmed to four, in accordance with ICC’s rules. As per the current ECB regulations, Archer is eligible for selection only in 2022.
“Jofra is a very impressive player,” Morgan said. “He’s a guy who, if he was England qualified, we’d have looked at after maybe the Bangladesh league at the end of last year. He’d have gone on some Lions and from there we’d have seen what happened.”
Morgan, who was born in Dublin, made his debut for the country of his birth at the age of 16. Soon, he became Ireland’s most promising batsman, helping them take rapid steps in international cricket. However it was just ahead of the 2009 World T20 that he announced his decision of playing for England. The skipper also reflected on how he’d to go through the set rules as well before playing for England.
“But are we looking to break some rules? Absolutely not. They’re the rules. I had to qualify even though my mum is English and I’ve had a British passport since I was born,” he noted.
However if ECB bent the rules to fit in Archer, the captain still felt that he’d not be a part of their World Cup plans, lest there be an injury. England, who are in the middle of their best times in white-ball cricket, boast of a very well settled unit at the moment. “Is it too late if he did qualify at the start of next year? Yes, I think it is. Providing everybody is fit, I think it is.”