Morgan hoping to remain as captain of World Cup flops

Captain Eoin Morgan insisted that he would leave the World Cup with “no regrets” despite England’s failure to qualify out of their group.

England's Ian Bell bats during their Cricket World Cup pool A match against Afghanistan in Sydney. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
England's Ian Bell bats during their Cricket World Cup pool A match against Afghanistan in Sydney. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

England won just two of their six games at the tournament and only avoided their worst-ever World Cup with a rain-affected nine-wicket success over Afghanistan in Sydney.

“There are no regrets,” said Morgan. “Absolutely not. We’ve given it everything and certainly I have.”

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England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton has already confirmed a “major review” will be launched into the failings at the tournament.

That had led to speculation some senior players could have played their last one-day international, but Morgan does not think there should be a clear-out as preparations begin for the 2019 World Cup, which will be held in England.

“No, absolutely not,” he added.

“We haven’t got guys coming towards the end of their careers. I don’t see a reason to.

“I think we have the right calibre of squad, guys on the outside need to be banging down the door.

“It’s an easy thing to sit here while we are not doing well and say somebody outside the squad is better.

“We considered everybody when selecting the squad. I still believe we had the right group of players here.”

Coach Peter Moores’s position has come under increasing scrutiny after England were blown away by the bigger nations before their tournament was ended by ninth-ranked Bangladesh in Adelaide.

Their successes came against associate nations Scotland and Afghanistan, with the latter playing at their first World Cup.

Morgan nonetheless wants to remain as captain, although admitted that decision is now out of his hands with the ECB to rake over the performances.

“I think there is going to be a review over the next couple of weeks,” he said. “I can’t determine whether I’ll still be captain. The hunger is still there to do it.

“I’ve learned a lot throughout this tournament particularly when things haven’t gone so well. You learn a lot about yourself and about the team.

“Things like that moving forward are crucial.”

England will fly home next week where the recriminations have already begun and Morgan feels any finger-pointing should be directed at the players rather than the coach.

“I certainly think it’s not fair to blame Moores,” he said. “It’s important that we realise where the responsibility lies.”

Australia and New Zealand most significantly exposed the gulf in class between them and England’s squad, which contained nine World Cup debutants, and Morgan conceded his team’s inability to fight back in adversity was an area of concern.

“We need to get our basics right – things like building an innings, creating partnerships and building pressure with the ball. When we’ve been poor we haven’t done both of those things.”

While England’s players might be bracing themselves for their reception back home, Afghanistan coach Andy Moles expects his team to receive a “warm welcome” to their war-torn country.

A maiden World Cup win over Scotland stood out as an obvious highlight and they almost pulled off a shock against Sri Lanka.

They were just 22 minutes away from sharing the points with England at the SCG, after play resumed following a long rain break just in time to allow the reply to a Duckworth-Lewis revised target of 101 in 25 overs.

Ian Bell’s half-century ensured the chase was reeled in without too much alarm, but Afghanistan will head home knowing they came close to finishing level on points with England.

“I’m sure that they’ll be received with huge warmth,” said Moles, a former Warwickshire opener. “We all saw the celebrations that happened all around Afghanistan with the win against Scotland.

“One thing I can say is that the Afghan players are a very proud bunch of young men that want to do well, not for themselves but for the unification and the message it sends around the world from Afghanistan.”