Cricket in 2018- The best ODI captain of the year
Morgan has been head and shoulders above his counterparts.
Updated - Dec 24, 2018 3:59 pm
With the arrival of T20 cricket, One Day International cricket has witnessed many revolutionary changes. A team-total of 300+ which earlier was considered safe is now no longer a safer bid, players understand the importance of every single run, bowlers have learned the art of variations in their style of bowling, and batsmen have taken hard-hitting and improvisation to a whole different level.
With shorter boundaries, greater quality of bats and new field restriction rules, ODI cricket has turned into a batsman-friendly game with average innings’ scores breaching 300+ in the past few years. The players known for their hitting capabilities have taken over from the slow movers or innings builders and the format which earlier tended to slow down in the middle overs now moves at a rapid pace throughout. The change was necessary as the onset of T20 cricket turned ODI cricket into a boring format with its viewership and fan base decreasing.
In the year 2018, each team has taken their ODI assignments very seriously, thinking of it as an opportunity to experiment and find out the best possible playing XI with an eye on the World Cup in the UK next year. No team wanted to waste the opportunity they got and tried every permutation and combination to find an ideal combination to be fielded in the biggest tournament of cricket.
So, the role of the captain has become very crucial as he has to decide which players are the best based on the team’s requirement and assign them roles and responsibilities accordingly. Apart from that, the skipper had to take full responsibility for the events, happening on the field and put his best foot forward in making decisions. With ODIs turning out to be high-scoring affairs, the head of the team has to deal with many pressure situations throughout which can impact his decision-making capabilities, so he has to be calm and composed to take decisions wisely.
Morgan soares above expectations
Captain’s innings start right from the beginning: analyzing the pitch behavior, taking the all-important decision to bat or bowl at the toss, making good bowling changes according to the situation, placing fielders according to a bowler’s demand, instill a sense of belief in the team by motivating his players, taking right DRS decisions and guiding his team to a victory. All the above tasks were performed very nicely by English skipper Eoin Morgan throughout the year and for this reason, he has been crowned as “ODI captain of the year 2018.”
Captain Morgan has shown phenomenal leadership skills in the past year or so, marshaling his troops really well throughout the year. The Dublin-born Morgan did his homework to perfection by analysing the pain-points, learning what the team is lacking and thus picking the best players based on the learning and assigning them roles to perfection. He has built a balanced team with quality batsmen, world-renowned all-rounders and settled bowling unit with a mix of spinners and pacers. The best part about his team is everybody knows what is expected from him and they perform their roles religiously.
Apart from being the commander of the very strong batting line-up, the 32-year-old has been a very shrewd leader, taking very good decisions under pressure situations and thus winning games for his side when mattered. The fact that only England Cricket Team, in the past year or so, stuck to their same playing eleven without experimenting too much gives us an idea of how well he understood the needs of the team. It looks like, of all the cricketing nations, Morgan’s conversion of feedback to feedforward was flawless.
England- A brute force
Morgan’s team is currently on a rampage mode, demolishing every team they play and winning matches everywhere in the world in the 50-overs format. It looks like there is no team which can match their potential currently. The record of the Three Lions itself speaks for their successful run in the year 2018 as they have played 24 matches, winning 17 of them and losing half a dozen while one against Sri Lanka was washed out. The win-loss ratio for the Morgan-led team is also the highest in the year 2018 at 2.833.
The Brits have won every series they were part of in 2018 with the exception of a one-off ODI against Scotland which they lost. They had won series against Australia (4-1), New Zealand (3-2), Australia (5-0), India (2-1) and Sri Lanka (3-1). It is noteworthy to mention that the series against Australia, which England won 4-1, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka were not home series’ and winning against such reputed teams in their backyard is quite commendable.
The team is currently sitting pretty at the top of ODI rankings and with the form they are in it is highly unlikely that they will give up their top ranking very soon. Captain Morgan’s team has made many records, both individual and team, during the current year. Playing against Australia in Nottinghamshire, England extended its own record in One-Day international cricket by 37 runs after smashing the highest-ever total of 481. The game saw a whopping 21 sixes hit by English players in an innings and they won the match by 242 runs, their biggest win in ODIs in terms of run margin.
Morgan’s rich vein of form
Talking about the left-handed batsman’s individual record, Morgan is now England’s all-time highest run scorer in ODIs with 5813 runs to his name in 189 matches surpassing Ian Bell’s 5416 runs in 161 matches. Also, he has captained the English team 90 times in 50-overs cricket which is the most by any player in the history of English cricket. Apart from his captaincy skills, Ireland born English captain has scored heavily with the bat, amassing 756 runs at an average of 42 in the ongoing year.
If the team continues to be in the form they are in, undoubtedly they are going to outclass every team in the World Cup which is bound to take place in their backyard next year. The current England side is so far the best limited-overs side ever fielded in the history of the game and are sure shot the favourites to lift the prestigious trophy in 2019. The credit for this change in fortunes should be given to leader Eoin Morgan.