It’s safe to say the England cricket team is at a crossroads. For the best part of a year now they have flattered to deceive, suffering some embarrassing results and generally looking disjointed and lacking an identity as a side — do they want to promote youth and try to integrate the next generation of stars, or go with a more experienced side capable of winning in the present. Either way, it’s clear since parting with Chris Silverwood back in March they’ve struggled for consistency.
New Zealander Brendon McCullum has been tasked with restoring the reputation of red ball cricket in England, and while they are hardly favourites for their next test against India when it comes to cricket betting odds, there has been steady progress. However, the discussions over the captaincy continue to be problematic, with many believing Eoin Morgan needs replacing.
The Irish-born batsman has struggled for form as of late and since taking over from Joe Root, who was at times almost singlehandedly carrying the side on his back before resining in April, failing to get a half-century in one-day internationals and Twenty20s for well over nine months now, and the added pressure of the captaincy will certainly be doing him no favours.
At 35 years old, he is one of the senior figures in the side, and while he has enjoyed successful outings in the white ball game, his teammates believe he can turn his poor fortunes around and still lead England to some measure of success.
“There’s ups and downs in everyone’s careers,” his England team-mate Jason Roy had said with defiance. “I’ve had a shocking few games at times and at some stage things turn around. They have for me and it’s no different with him. He’s an incredible guy around the changing room. An incredible captain and he’s working just as hard as the next man.”
“He’s always leading the group really well,” Sam Curran pleaded. “I’m very certain it just takes that one knock when he gets back into form and everyone would have forgotten about it.”
Ben Stokes was originally tipped to replace Root when he stepped down, and with Jimmy Anderson injured the Durham all-rounder has had to step up in terms of responsibility within the dressing room. Having missed games himself last season due to coronavirus isolation and injuries, he knows how tough it can be to come under scrutiny, and also jumped to Morgan’s aid.
“Well, he’s only had two low scores so I wouldn’t say he’s going through a hard time at the moment,” he said. “I think the press are the only ones giving him a hard time and I think the players have shown it’s not an issue with them.
“People are allowed to not score many runs and more than that he’s our captain. He’s a phenomenal leader and always will be so I’ve got no issues with anything going on with him at the moment.”
Only time will tell if Morgan can fit the billing as England captain. With some tough fixtures on the horizon that the cricket predictions have them to struggle in, particularly India and South Africa, it will be interesting to see how the side perform and if McCullum can steady a ship that looks more like sinking with each defeat.