England’s Morgan targets World Cup form turnaround
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Captain Eoin Morgan will face the twin challenges of rallying a struggling team while contending with a personal form slump when England takes on co-host New Zealand at the Cricket World Cup on Friday.
While disappointed at England’s 111-run loss to Australia in its opening match and nagged by a “sense of frustration” that the elements of his team’s game haven’t clicked into place, Morgan believes improvement isn’t far away.
Back-to-back games against the two co-hosts represented a rugged opening to the tournament for England, and while easier matches following should see England through to the knockout stage, a loss to the Black Caps would reduce the margin for error.
“Our senior players will need to stand up and we’ll need to lead from the front,” Morgan said. “We didn’t do it (against Australia) at the MCG which was disapponting within itself.
“So guys like myself, Jimmy (Anderson), (Stuart) Broad, (Ian) Bell, need to make contributions in order to make the young guys feel quite comfortable within themselves.”
In a frank news conference on Wednesday, Morgan acknowledged his own lack of recent form. He made 121 in the opening match of England’s tri-series against Australia in mid-January but his more-recent scores have been 0, 2, 0 and 0 and he has passed 50 only twice in his past 24 innings.
“I try to keep it as simple as possible so you don’t look any further forward than what’s in front of you and I’ve done that and it hasn’t worked,” he said. “But I believe it will work and when it does I can hopefully make it a match-winning performance or build on somebody else’s performance.
“Re-engaging with that belief you need to have and that determination in your training probably gives me more confidence than if it was my first time going through a bad run.”
While individuals have made contributions in recent matches — notably James Taylor’s 98 in the World Cup opener against Australia — Morgan regretted England is not producing unified performances.
“There is a sense of frustration,” he said. “The big games that we play (early in the World Cup) are great practice for the later stages in the tour and if we can get wins under our belt against good opposition it can breed confidence for later in the tour.
“We’ve had guys who have put in good individual performances but guys haven’t built on that around them and that’s been disappointing.”