England skipper Eoin Morgan prepared to drop himself during World Cup if needed
"When you drop yourself as a captain it sets the tone and example of 'nobody's place is cemented'."

Eoin Morgan has stated that he would not hesitate to drop himself from England’s XI during the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup if it meant putting the home team in a better place to get their hands on the most coveted prize of all.

Top-ranked England have never won a major ICC one-day trophy, with the 2010 World T20 in the Caribbean the only global title to their name.

“It is a brave call but we have come a long way with this team and we need to put ourselves in the best position in order to be contenders,” Morgan told Sky Sports ahead of the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Dambulla. “If that means I am not good enough to be in the team as a captain or as a player I will be the first one to say it, I’m an honest guy. I’m more than capable of making a tough decision.

“I’ve dropped myself in the past to create opportunities for guys and see if they can play at international level or given them an extra chance to prove themselves. When you drop yourself as a captain it sets the tone and example of ‘nobody’s place is cemented’. We are trying to build a squad of 16 or 17 to try and win a World Cup, that’s the objective. It’s not an individual trying to get runs or wickets – it’s a team collective everyone must be prepared to buy into.”

Since Morgan was named ODI skipper after the 2015 World Cup, England have won 13 of 17 bilateral ODI series to surge to No 1 in the ICC rankings. They have won eight successive bilateral ODI series in a row and tomorrow face Sri Lanka in the first of five ODIs.

Under Morgan, England have won eight consecutive bilateral ODI series.
Under Morgan, England have won eight consecutive bilateral ODI series. @Getty

The last time England toured Sri Lanka was in 2014, when the fortunes of the two teams were vastly different. Then, England lost the ODIs 2-5 on the path to a dismal 2015 World Cup as it struggled to cope with the demands of the game’s speed.

“It’s a new tour, different conditions and the challenge for us, like any other winter tour, is applying our own mentality and positive, aggressive style of play,” said Morgan. “Last year we learnt a huge amount and grew a huge amount, particularly in our bowling department – we though the pitches would be a batsman’s paradise in Australia and New Zealand but they weren’t and a lot of times bowlers won us games.”

Sri Lanka have slipped to eighth in the ODI rankings after a poor run over the past two years, in which time they have lost bilateral series to South Africa (twice), Pakistan (twice), India (twice) and to Zimbabwe at home last year. Most recently, they lost to Bangladesh and Afghanistan to exit the Asia Cup in successive matches. Morgan, however, was aware that at home they are dangerous.

“Sri Lanka could be very similar and present different challenges, particularly for our batsmen up against two wrist spinners. They will be good healthy conditions for us to come up with answers to,” he said. “Hopefully this will make us a more rounded team and whatever the conditions at home next summer, we will be able to process it, adapt and make good decisions. We will continue to challenge ourselves, never mind the opposition. Right now I think we are in a good spot. There is still a lot of cricket to be played [before the World Cup] and hopefully the guts of our work will be done this winter.”