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England v Sri Lanka

How concerning is Eoin Morgan’s loss of form?

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

It’s been a tough time with the bat for England skipper Eoin Morgan of late – his dismissal for 6 in the first ODI against Sri Lanka on Tuesday means it’s now 15 innings a row (across both white-ball forms) that the 34-year-old has failed to cross fifty in international cricket.

First, a focus on the shortest form, where Morgan has endured a somewhat dramatic slump. From May 2019 through to the second T20I against Pakistan last August, the left-hander put up some stunning numbers: in 11 innings, he accumulated 465 runs at an average of 58.12, five half-centuries, a strike rate of 185.25 and a T20I-best of 91 against New Zealand at Napier that included seven sixes and seven fours.

Since then, there have been 10 innings, 105 runs at 11.66 and a strike rate of 128.04. There is a rather large caveat to throw into the mix here, however. Much of Morgan’s golden run came at No.4 in England’s batting line-up, while his slump has coincided with him spending more time at No.5 and 6 to help his side close their innings with more gusto.

In ODIs, while from a smaller sample size, there hasn’t been much to shout about either since his golden T20I run came to a close. Five innings since last September have now resulted in 116 runs at 23.20. Morgan’s run of form will therefore be a storyline worth keeping an eye on over the remainder of the summer.

What England can take solace in is the fact that Morgan knows how to bounce back from a slump: after he averaged 25.45 in ODIs across the calendar year in 2014, he struck 967 runs at 43.95 in 2015 as he helped usher in a new attacking era for England’s ODI side; after averaging 29.81 in 2016, Morgan struck three centuries in 2017 and averaged 45.94.

However, they will also be keen for their captain to regain form sooner rather than later. Morgan will turn 35 years old before the T20 World Cup starts, and England only have 10 white-ball games scheduled between now and then. Morgan’s legacy as England’s greatest limited-overs captain is secure. But ever since that epoch-defining day at Lord’s in 2019, there have been questions about when he would step down, and who would lead England into their 2023 title defence. The next six months could prove pivotal in determining for how much longer Morgan remains in charge.

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