Eoin Morgan © Getty Images
Eoin Morgan scored a superb century against Australia in the first ODI © Getty Images

Eoin Morgan, who was out for a first-ball duck in the fourth One-Day International (ODI) against Australia, denied that the blackmailing controversy he was embroiled in had anything to do with his early dismissal. Morgan, who is England’s ODI captain, was being blackmailed by an Australian man who threatened to reveal certain details surrounding a relationship Morgan had had five years ago.

According to a report in dailystar.co.uk, Morgan said, “It hasn’t been distracting at all. I spoke with the ECB yesterday, and I was very happy for them to deal with it. They told me just to focus on the cricket 100 per cent and I’ve done that. I’m happy it’s all been cleared and everything is over and I can get on with my cricket, which I managed to do today.”

Speaking on the match, which Australia won in the final over, Morgan said, “I think the template is right but executing it is going to be a challenge throughout the 100 overs. I see us making huge steps, if you see where we were against Sri Lanka before Christmas and where we are now, I think the skill level we’re showing is much better.”

Morgan went on to say, “We were very dominant in the first 40 overs and set ourselves up for a commanding total. Somewhere around 340-plus would have been the score we were looking for but we didn’t manage to get there. It is frustrating but it’s still very early in the trip and we are making strides. One of the areas we’ll look at again is those last 10 overs against high-quality death bowling. Today is a learning curve for us.”

England play their next match against India, and will be hoping for a win help them qualify for the final against Australia in what will be the last ODI played in Australia before the ICC World Cup 2015 — co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand — begins on February 14.