England coach Peter Moores has denied that Eoin Morgan’s captaincy is being undermined by his chronic lack of runs.
Morgan’s first tour in charge of the one-day team has quickly turned sour, having started it with a century against Australia, as he has managed just two runs in five innings since.
The left-hander made his third successive duck against Australia as his side plunged to a 111-run defeat to open their World Cup campaign, and already alarm bells are starting to ring.
“No, it doesn’t undermine him at all,” Moores said of Morgan’s shortage of runs.
“Eoin isn’t a bloke who is going to hide from this; he knows he’s got to perform, he knows that’s his role.
“He’s been through periods like this before where it hasn’t worked and come out the other side.
“In some ways it’s strange he’s had a tough time against Australia as it’s a side he’s done very well against in the past. In the last series he was the stand-out batsman.”
Morgan has barely been in the job for two months after he was brought in to replace Alastair Cook following his lean pre-Christmas tour of Sri Lanka.
The 28-year-old’s problems mean that England find themselves back in a position where runs from their leader is again a central issue of debate.
Moores believes this situation is different to matters in Sri Lanka, however, saying: “There’s one difference. For Alastair it (a lack of runs) was over time. For Eoin, you’re going back less than a month since he scored a brilliant hundred at Sydney.
“The way that was constructed was a quality one-day innings and showed all the best sides of Eoin Morgan. It had brute power, placement of the ball and pacing of an innings.
“The fact that he has got out so early on so many occasions is really frustrating as he hasn’t managed to establish himself at the crease and get going.
“The aim is to get in and allow himself to play. He’s got to keep it simple – which he will, it’s one of his strengths – get ready to play against New Zealand.”
England flew out of Australia yesterday – which might offer Morgan some relief – and arrived in Wellington ahead of their second Group A game against New Zealand on Friday.
They will therefore have the best part of a week to bounce back from their MCG thrashing, when Moores admitted his players did not do themselves justice.
“No, we didn’t,” he said.
“The disappointing thing from the day is that we had an opportunity for us to put a marker down of how we were going to play and we didn’t do that. We have to take that.”
Moores will also use the week to assess what his best team is after changes were made from the settled side that reached the tri-series final earlier this month.
Chris Woakes was handed the new ball in every game of that series, but Stuart Broad took over duties at the MCG, while Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance’s inclusion in place of Ravi Bopara forced James Taylor down the order from three to six.
Moores brushed off suggestions the changes unsettled his players.
“It’s really interesting that people say that. Not at all,” he said.
“We asked James Taylor to go into the middle order. He’s played there a lot. He feels he’s very strong there because of his adaptability. He likes the role and it was the first time Gary had been available for selection in a month. He’s had a broken finger.”
Taylor responded to the change with a defiant 98 not out and was only denied a century when James Anderson was run out – a decision the International Cricket Council later confirmed was incorrect – to end the game.
“Many would say that, seeing James get his highest ODI score in that role on Saturday, that it’s a great role for him,” said Moores, who also dismissed suggestions Woakes might have been pondering his demotion when he dropped centurion Aaron Finch before he had scored in the first over.
“You don’t drop a catch at square leg because you think you should be opening the bowling. If you think that, I can categorically say that wasn’t the case.”
Moores was happy to accept that England’s death bowling was not up to scratch, though, after they conceded 105 runs in the last 10 overs.
“I thought it wasn’t just about execution (on Saturday). Our plans weren’t as good as they could have been,” he said.
“You have to take simple options and we didn’t always take the simple options.
“There’s no point hiding from it.”
Most significantly Moores said his bowlers were not delivering enough yorkers, adding: “We have under-used it.
“I think in this game the players were sucked into the width of the wide boundaries and felt that was the best option.
“You have to set the right fields for that and we didn’t always get the right fields.”
After the game, the ICC took the unusual step to confirm that Anderson was incorrectly given out at the end of England’s innings.
Anderson was adjudged run out in a farcical end to the match as both sets of players were left unsure by the ruling of on-field officials Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena – who have both previously won the ICC Umpires of the Year award.
Taylor had correctly reviewed an lbw decision, but replays also showed that Anderson had been caught short of his ground and Dharmasena gave him out.
The ICC revealed in a statement, issued just over an hour after the game, that the ball should have been called dead and that they had met with the England management to confirm the error.
New Zealand beat England by nine wickets in the third and deciding women’s one-day international at Mount Maunganui’s Bay Oval.
Heather Knight (79) and captain Charlotte Edwards (40) led the scoring as the tourists set a challenging total of 217-9 from their 50 overs. However, the hosts passed the target with six balls to spare thanks to the efforts of Rachel Priest (96 not out) and Amy Satterthwaite (76 not out).