It’s time for Eoin Morgan to retire – he is no longer worth his place in England’s white-ball teams

It was not Salt’s first spectacular entrance for England either. Called into the new one-day squad last summer, after Covid regulations ruled out England’s first-team choices, Salt took the attack to Pakistan from the first over in a controlled not over-hyped manner. He announced his quickness of feet as well as cricket brain at Lord’s especially, running down the pitch second ball to Pakistan’s fast left-armer Shaheen Afridi, and hitting a match-shaping 60 off 54 for a depleted side.

Captaincy in T20, as in every other format, can be worth quite a few runs. England were blown off course when Morgan’s injured quad kept him out of the third match in Barbados, and Moeen Ali could not place the same firm hand on the tiller. But the pitch was a belter, and even under Morgan England’s bowlers could have gone round the park.

Indeed they have been going round the park quite a lot recently under Morgan’s captaincy. There is only so much a captain can do if his pace bowlers are mesmerised by the power-hitter at the other end into persistently bowling length. At the climax of the T20 World Cup semi-final, when New Zealand needed 57 off 24 balls, Chris Jordan conceded 23 in one over then Chris Woakes 20. In the second game of this series in Barbados, Jordan again went for 23 in an over then Saqib Mahmood, with 30 required by West Indies off the final over, for 28. 

Strolling over calmly from midwicket or extra-cover, as Morgan did in the super-over of the 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s, is no longer enough. After Jofra Archer had gone for nine runs off two legitimate balls, Morgan helped him to restrain New Zealand to only six more off the final four. But again this format has moved on. New Zealand in the super-over had one top-class power-hitter at the crease in Jimmy Neesham; the stronger countries in the next T20 World Cup in Australia will, most of the time, have two.

A chance was there for Morgan to justify holding on to his batting place in the opening game of this series. The Bridgetown pitch was lively, England “went” too soon, they were 10 for three and lost four wickets in the six-over powerplay. Morgan was at one end: even if he cannot hit sixes in the same arcs as Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, and now Salt, here was scope for skilful batting if not power-hitting. But Morgan, throwing his bat at Jason Holder, could not connect with a single ball in one over; another maiden passed; and he was out for 17 off 29 balls, all but one-quarter of England’s innings.

And it can hardly be advanced on Morgan’s behalf that his captaincy and batting did much for London Spirit in the inaugural Hundred. London Spirit finished bottom, winning one game and losing six.

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