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Netherlands v England 2022

In numbers: The extent of Eoin Morgan’s 18-month slump

Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner
@Ben_Wisden 4 minute read

What’s worse than a golden duck? Ask Eoin Morgan.

If his first baller in England’s world record total in the first ODI against the Netherlands was an amusing reminder of how, in cricket, team success and individual glory don’t always go hand in hand, then his seven-ball struggle in the second confirmed what has really been clear for a while: England’s captain is desperately out of form. This tour, against weaker opposition and with the English press having one eye on the Test series paused back home, could have been a chance for Morgan to rediscover some touch. Instead, the questions around his place in the England side have only grown louder.

It’s tempting to write this series off as an aberration, a three-game sojourn that would have been almost immediately consigned to history were it not for the exploits of Jos Buttler and co. last Friday. But Morgan’s malaise is long-lasting and deep.


This is clearer in T20s than in ODIs. In the shortest format, since the start of last year, Morgan has averaged 17.86 at a strike-rate of 116.27, and hasn’t passed 50 in that time. Even with the inconsistent nature of T20 cricket, this is a big sample size, comprising 43 games, the equivalent of three full IPL league campaigns.

The drop-off was a sudden one. In 2019 and 2020, Morgan enjoyed his best patch of form for England in T20Is, averaging 38.85 at a stunning strike-rate of 170.53. He was consistent, and he was explosive. He looks a distance from that player now.

So what hope is there? Morgan has always been a player of feast or famine in T20I cricket. Since 2012 he has had three excellent years and six poor ones, with only one, in 2018, falling into neither category. Perhaps the next upturn is just around the corner.

This is also a patch of poor form confined purely to the shortest format, although that’s partly because England have played so little in ODIs since the start of last year. In that time, he has had five innings, one of which was an unbeaten 75 not out to seal a series win against Sri Lanka. Before then, his form was excellent. From the beginning of 2017 until the start of 2021, Morgan averaged over 45 at a strike-rate above a run a ball, a feat matched by only Jonny Bairstow in that time.

However, in general, Morgan’s periods of poor form in T20Is have matched those in ODIs. Up until the start of 2021, Morgan’s three worst years in T20Is in the last decade, by average, coincided with his three worst in ODIs.

Whether Morgan can turn his form around will surely rest on the month of July. England will play India and South Africa, two strong contenders for the T20 World Cup and for next year’s Cricket World Cup, in two three-match ODI and T20I series each, giving Morgan 12 games to rediscover his best.

Then it’s The Hundred, and after that, England’s next white-ball game will be in October, less than three week’s out from their first T20 World Cup game against Afghanistan.

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