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South Africa v England

Did Eoin Morgan take a veiled swipe at Michael Vaughan when defending England’s dressing room signals?

Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner
@Ben_Wisden 3 minute read

England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan has defended receiving signals from England’s analyst in the dressing room during the third T20I against South Africa.

Images shown by the host broadcaster saw members of England’s backroom staff displaying a combination of letters and numbers from the team balcony during the South Africa innings.

The unusual move prompted much debate, with former England captain Michael Vaughan one of the most stringent critics.

“If I were the England captain and the analyst suggested sending messages to me through signals from the dugout he would get short shrift,” he wrote in a column for The Telegraph. “Absolutely no chance would I let that happen.”

Morgan has since explained the thinking behind the move. “For me, this is a system that we’re going to use to try and help myself and the other leaders in the side, to take the emotion of the decision-making on the field and compare that to the hard data that is continuing to feed data into us, and the guys off the field,” he said.

“There’s nothing untoward about it. It’s about maximising information that we’re taking in, and measuring it against things, coaches’ recommendations, the data, what’s going on. We’re definitely going to continue with it, and give it enough of a sample size to see if it makes a difference to, or improves, our decision-making on the field or our performance.”

However, what drew most interest was what many interpreted as a veiled swipe at Vaughan directly. “Captains are different,” he said. “You get captains that really enjoy the title, the power and the accolades that go with it, and then you have other captains that continue to be pushed and want to learn for the benefit of the team.”

“Captains that really enjoy the title, the power and the accolades” was assumed by some to be intended to include Vaughan, who is rarely shy of putting himself into the public eye or centring himself in a debate when the opportunity presents itself.

Captains are certainly different, but few are as media savvy as Morgan.

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