“We Allah with us as well. I spoke to Adil [Rashid] and he said ‘Allah was definitely with us’ and I said ‘we had the rub of the green’.” The words of Irish-born limited overs cricket captain Eoin Morgan after his incredibly diverse England side won the 2019 Cricket World Cup at Lord’s after that famous Super Over.
Morgan encapsulates what it is to represent English cricket – where your birthplace, religion, or beliefs should not come in the way of team success and prosperity.
And amid news that the Dubliner is tomorrow set to announce his retirement from international cricket – and handing back his one-day and Twenty20 cricket captaincy – he has undoubtedly left a legacy all who support England can appreciate.
Tough start for Morgan
Morgan’s tenure as full-time captain started with a thrashing at the hands of Australia in a 2015 World Cup warm up match – despite him scoring 121 – before being discarded in the group stages of the showpiece event.
England’s big wigs then focused on the one-day game with the intention of lifting the 2019 World Cup.
His side broke the world record in posting 408-9 just months after the 2015 World Cup humiliation and have since broken that record a further four times – culminating in this month’s total of 498 against the Netherlands.
And cricket fans the world over know how the 2019 World Cup ended, the run out of Martin Guptill in the final ball of the Super Over handing England trophy – a trophy Morgan would lift.
Even when obstacles occurred – in the form of Alex Hales testing positive for recreational drugs – Morgan acted as a captain should have and took the call to drop the in-form batter on the chin.
A modern England
“It actually epitomises our team,” Morgan added after that final. “It’s quite diverse backgrounds and cultures and guys grow up in different countries.”
Morgan’s tenure will be known for leading a modern England, an England that represents all of us.
He may be set to retire today but the England and Wales Cricket Board would be wise to keep him close by going forward.
Yes he’s the record one-day and T20 run-scorer for England and yes his recent innings have been below par.
But Morgan was what England needed, when they needed it.
And amid the otherwise harrowing stories that have come out of English cricket surrounding a lack of inclusivity, it’s important to celebrate the Irishman for his contribution to a better, more aware, England.