Morgan urges England consistency
Eoin Morgan believes England’s prospects in one-day cricket have long been undermined by a lack of consistency, but promised “anything is possible” if the batsmen can start producing centuries.
Morgan top-scored for England with a dashing 58 at Trent Bridge yesterday but that was not enough to prevent Australia collecting a fifth consecutive NatWest Series victory.
With two games to play, and Ricky Ponting in ominous form following his relentless 126 in Nottingham, England are facing a 7-0 series whitewash.
Morgan admits an inability by batsmen to turn good starts into major scores has been holding the team back, but insists they are capable of becoming a force in the 50-over game.
“We are capable of fantastic performances here and there but have failed to find that level where we can continue to win games,” said Morgan.
“I think that is why we haven’t won enough games and it is something we are striving for at the moment in the dressing room.
“I think hard work and perseverance will get us that consistency eventually and we can’t shy away from that. If we remain focused on what we want to achieve and dedicate ourselves to it then anything is possible.”
The side that played yesterday had just four England hundreds between them compared to Ricky Ponting’s 27 for Australia. Morgan concedes that is an area for improvement.
“Certainly in the good one-day sides the top six are earmarked to get the hundreds. If one of you gets in then the idea is to go on and get a hundred,” said Morgan.
“The pressure of the situation perhaps gets to us and ultimately it comes down to decision-making and then the execution of the shot.
“I’d love to be able to put my finger on why that is happening, but it is something that seems to be continuing with our batsmen and I don’t know the answer.
“We know we can score runs at this level, but until you get that big score then you’re never comfortable."
Morgan admits England were given a batting masterclass by Ponting - and has called on the top order to follow the Australia captain’s example.
Ponting’s innings spanned just 109 balls, and the quality of his strokeplay was such that he made what threatened to be a tough pursuit appear relatively straightforward.
Morgan said: “It wasn’t great from an England point of view, but as a batsman watching (Ponting) I could really see that determination in him to bat for the majority of the 50 overs and take the innings by the scruff of the neck.
“It was as if he was saying, ‘I’m going to win this game of cricket for my team’, and he went about doing that with a fantastic knock that is the hallmark of a world-class player.
“I’ve not had the chance to pick his brains yet, but watching him up close can’t fail to help any batsman because he has dominated world cricket for such a long time now.
“He is such a great player who sets the benchmark for other batsmen around the world to follow.”
The sixth match of the series takes place at Trent Bridge tomorrow, where England will again be without Luke Wright.
The all-rounder has been ruled out for the series after he was hit on the big toe by the bowling machine, leaving him needing stitches.