Morgan: I’d be surprised if T20 World Cup goes ahead
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Eoin Morgan would be “surprised” if the T20 World Cup goes ahead as scheduled later this year but indicated any deferment will not shape his future as England captain.
The International Cricket Council on Wednesday rejected claims a decision had been made to postpone the tournament from its original slot of October 18 to November 15 in Australia and that all contingency plans are being explored.
However, the vagaries presented by the global coronavirus pandemic present significant obstacles, not least how the squads and support staff from 16 nations, including the hosts, can be accommodated without risking an outbreak.
And Morgan believes potentially exposing a country that has had just over 7,000 confirmed cases with a death toll of 103 presents a significant risk, as things stand.
Speaking to promote Chance to Shine, Morgan said: “I’d be surprised if it goes ahead. My reasons for that would be if you look at how Australia have handled the pandemic, they’ve shut down the borders pretty early, had a limited number of cases and deaths in comparison to the rest of the world.
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“Their biggest worry moving forward – a small negative to a huge positive – would be they almost don’t know what the immunity would be like if the virus does have an outbreak.
“Having 16 teams across several venues has the potential to expose something.
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“It might only be a handful of cases to be spread, but when you look at how quickly it escalates, you weigh up the chance of playing a World Cup or postponing it, (which is) probably a bigger positive.”
Any alteration to the calendar lends itself to speculation about the impact on Morgan, who considered his position after leading England to a historic 50-over World Cup triumph last summer because of a back injury.
Last winter he announced his intention to captain England at the 2020 and 2021 T20 World Cups and he reaffirmed the desire to do so on Wednesday after revealing the current hiatus has left him feeling revitalised.
He said: “It doesn’t change that view for the simple reason that I think there are a lot of players that would have benefited from this break.
“It’s not a physical break, it’s a complete mental refresh from the game that we’re grossly involved in and have been for some time. I certainly have.
“I feel at that stage now where I want to pick up a bat again and I’m ready to go as opposed to picking up a bat because I’m playing in three weeks’ time. That’s always a nice place to be.
“When I talk about where I’d like to play too, I’m in a high-performance industry and when you’re not performing you can’t still carry on. My ambition would be certainly still to play the two World Cups.”
If the two sprint format competitions are delayed by 12 months and Morgan follows through with his aim of playing in both, then it would be mere months before England defend their 50-over crown in India in 2023.
Morgan was more guarded about the prospect of still being at the helm, insisting any decision would depend on his fitness.
He added: “I think a lot of that is going to be dependent on my body. And I think when you talk about last year’s World Cup and just about getting through – like just about getting over the line, physically, had that little hiccup with my back.
“If my back continues to get better, yes, that could be a chance. If it continues to deteriorate, you can’t look past the T20 World Cups.”
*Eoin Morgan was speaking ahead of an online event to celebrate 15 years of the Chance to Shine charity.
Since 2005, over five million children have been given the opportunity to play, learn and develop through cricket thanks to the work of the charity.
This summer, donations to Chance to Shine are being matched by Charity Patron Adrian Beecroft. Please support today at chancetoshine.org/donate.