Eoin Morgan has forsaken his Test career as he instead concentrates all international ambition exclusively on leading England to the 2019 World Cup.
Morgan, who also revealed he would undertake an extra 10,000-mile round trip back to the Indian Premier League after two May one-day internationals against his native Ireland at Bristol and Lord’s, was not announcing his retirement from Test cricket when he nonetheless admitted he has no hope of adding to his 16 caps.
England’s white-ball captain was speaking on the eve of the first warm-up match, facing the UWI Vice-Chancellor’s XI at Warner Park before three ODIs against the West Indies, as he mapped out his and his team’s short- and long-term plans.
They will include ensuring all 14 tourists take part in at least one of the two List A fixtures, today and Monday – and will not necessarily feature Alex Hales on this tour despite the opener’s anticipated addition to England’s squad following a scan on Monday to confirm the extent of his recovery from a broken hand.
Hales’s potential, rather than definite, return means there will be much to be gained over the next three days by others.
Morgan himself, meanwhile, has come to terms with his highly probable full stop in Test matches.
Asked if he sees any likelihood of revisiting a format he last played more than five years ago, he said: “I think Test cricket has gone for me. I don’t think I’ll ever play it again.”
At 30, the inventive left-hander is already a veteran of 240 limited-overs internationals.
He is therefore focused on England’s white-ball aspirations and specifically campaigns in this summer’s Champions Trophy and the World Cup two years later, both on home soil.
Morgan anticipates being in charge for both, adding: “Yes, absolutely. That’s where all the plans are going towards, what we’re working towards as a side so it will be great to be a part of it.”
Could he also stop playing first-class cricket too then, and rest between Twenty20 domestic leagues and white-ball internationals?
He could, but will not be doing so – yet.
“I think if that’s what I wanted to do, then yes,” said the Irishman. “But it’s not – at the moment it’s not.”
He will therefore try to fit in Specsavers County Championship fixtures with Middlesex this summer.
“I think it’s more important for me to actually strive to keep working on my game in red-ball cricket, to continue to work on the first 30 balls I face in a white-ball game.
“While that desire is still there, the idea in my mind that I need to keep working on the red-ball game, I’ll stick with it.”
The short formats are nonetheless undeniably his priority, and Morgan was pleasantly surprised when he was signed by Kings XI Punjab at this week’s Indian Premier League auction.
He was not valued at the huge sums commanded by England team-mates Ben Stokes and Tymal Mills, but was not expecting to be heading to India at all this Spring.
He will, in fact, be doing so twice – returning to lead his adopted country against Ireland on May 5 and 7, then travelling back to the sub-continent on May 8 for a maximum two remaining IPL fixtures before all of England’s likely Champions Trophy squad must report on May 14 for a training camp in Spain.
Back in the present, the first task for Morgan’s team is to dispel all memories of their last white-ball match, which ended in an embarrassing 75-run Twenty20 defeat against India in Bangalore, after they lost their last eight wickets for eight runs.
“Under-performing like we did in that last game is hugely disappointing, because we worked so hard throughout the tournament,” he said. “So to finish on that note – it would be nice to put it right pretty soon in this series.”
Whether Hales will be available is not yet known.
Morgan said: “He is having a scan on the 27th, which is the (same day as the) second warm-up game. If he comes through well in that scan and everything’s good to go, he potentially will fly here to meet up with the team.
“He’s still in a cast. It’s not a full cast, but until we see the scans, we can’t really get a gauge.”
Possible England team (v UWI Vice-Chancellor’s XI at Warner Park): EJG Morgan (capt), SW Billings, JJ Roy, JE Root, JC Buttler (wkt), JM Bairstow, MM Ali, CR Woakes, AU Rashid, LE Plunkett, JT Ball.
Solomon Mire top-scored with 46 as Zimbabwe levelled their one-day international series against Afghanistan with a comfortable seven-wicket Duckworth-Lewis win in the fourth match in Harare.
Chris Mpofu took 3-25 as Afghanistan were bowled out for 111 inside 39 overs, with none of their batsmen reaching 20.
Zimbabwe’s target was revised to 105 from 42 overs and they eased home.