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Captain Morgan goes into ODI series intent on staying for three more years | Sport


Eoin Morgan remained non-committal about how long he will captain England but is optimistic about overseeing the next two T20 World Cup campaigns and did not rule out continuing to the defence of their 50-over title in 2023.

Morgan took some time to contemplate his future in the weeks after leading England to a historic triumph with their victory over New Zealand in the final at Lord’s last July. He was in charge for their T20 series win over New Zealand at the back end of last year, when the Irishman indicated he would like to continue in his position at this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

Prior to the one-day international series against South Africa, which begins on Tuesday at Newlands and marks the start of the cycle towards the next 50-over World Cup, Morgan believes he could be in situ for the 2021 T20 World Cup in India and possibly beyond. “I’ve looked at the next two T20 World Cups and I feel in a good enough space right here and now to be able to say I’m hoping to be here for both of them,” he said.

“But things change, when you make decisions to stay on or continue, the majority of the time, that decision is taken out of your hands. For me it’s a matter of focusing on this year’s T20 World Cup, doing the best we can to put ourselves in a position to try to win it and then look beyond that as well.”

Morgan will be 36 by the time England travel to India to defend their crown in three years’ time but the Dubliner is bullish about how he has played in recent years, as well as how he has matured as captain.

The statistics corroborate this. Since the start of 2015, he has averaged 43.6, with seven of his 13 ODI centuries coming in that time. “Over the last four years I have been in the best form of my life,” he added. “The level of experience I have now has allowed me to grow in confidence as a leader and allowed me to be the best version of myself. And certainly making the decision towards the end of last summer things became clearer and more evident when I had time to think, sit back and reflect. Certainly coming back from New Zealand from five T20 internationals the way that I played and felt physically, I felt really good.”

England’s one-day side underwent a revolution under Morgan after the shambles of their 2015 World Cup campaign but the build-up towards the next one will be characterised by evolution – and with more of an emphasis on the shortest format because of those two global competitions in the next couple of years.

Morgan did not name the side that will take to the field at Newlands but it is anticipated Somerset’s batsman Tom Banton and the Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson will make their ODI debuts as England seek to expand their talent pool.

Only Morgan, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root and Chris Woakes are expected to retain their places from the side that beat New Zealand in last year’s nerve-shredding World Cup final. On their previous ODI visit to South Africa in 2016, England lost the series 3‑2 despite winning the first two matches, and it is those memories, plus their T20 World Cup final defeat that same year, that drives Morgan on.

He added: “I don’t think for one instance that guys are taking the position we are in for granted but also they will look further beyond winning one World Cup. Days like the T20 World Cup final in 2016, losing down here in the fashion that we did, really do contribute to creating that drive moving forward.

“Us recognising things don’t last for ever, and trying to make the most of it is extremely important because sides over the years have had unbelievably great individual players but actually haven’t won a great deal. We are very fortunate to have won something but the drive forward is extremely important.”

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