England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan insisted now was “the right time” to step down as he announced his retirement from international cricket.
Morgan has revolutionised England’s limited-overs fortunes in his seven-and-a-half-year reign, taking them from also-rans at the 2015 World Cup to champions for the first time four years later.
But he has been beset by form and fitness issues over the last 12 months and, despite an ambition to lead the side at the T20 World Cup this autumn, the 35-year-old has ultimately decided to walk away.
Jos Buttler is widely expected to step up from his position as deputy to lead the white-ball sides, although the England and Wales Cricket Board has made no mention of who Morgan’s replacement will be.
“After careful deliberation and consideration, I am here to announce my retirement from international cricket with immediate effect,” said Morgan, who intends to carry on at domestic level.
“To call time on what has been without doubt the most enjoyable and rewarding chapter of my career hasn’t been an easy decision, but I believe now is the right time to do so, both for me, personally, and for both England white-ball sides I have led to this point.
“I have been lucky enough to play in two World Cup winning teams, but I believe the future for England’s white-ball teams is brighter than ever. We have more experience, more strength and more depth than ever before. I look forward to watching on with a huge level of excitement.
“To what lies ahead for me, I will continue to enjoy playing at a domestic level while I can. I’m really looking forward to playing and captaining London Spirit in the second edition of The Hundred this year.”
Dublin-born Morgan began his international career with his native Ireland in 2006 but switched his allegiance to England in 2009 and went on to finish as his adopted country’s record one-day and T20 run-scorer, posting 6,957 and 2,458 in the respective formats.
He is also the only England player to win both limited-overs World Cups, having helped Paul Collingwood’s side triumph in the T20 version in 2010 in the Caribbean.
However, he had a sobering trip to the Netherlands this month as, while England won the ODI series 3-0, Morgan was twice dismissed for a duck before missing the concluding game last week with a groin niggle.
“I’ve engaged a lot with ex-players as to when they stopped and how the transition worked and each person said, ‘There’s a time and a place and it hits you’,” Morgan added on Sky Sports.
“That moment came for me in Amsterdam. I’ve just come to the end. I’m glad I was in a sound enough space to understand that feeling and be well aware of what it meant.
“The day it hit me, it was quite a sad day, reaching the end of such a special journey but in many ways since that day I’ve been incredibly proud and content with the decision and excited for English cricket going forward. As I sit back now as a fan, I’m incredibly excited.”
Morgan’s stewardship cemented his place among the pantheon of English sport’s greatest leaders and, while his success at Lord’s in 2019 was his biggest achievement, he also led England to the top of both the ODI and T20 rankings as well as the 2016 T20 World Cup final.
Rob Key, managing director of England men’s cricket, said: “On behalf of the ECB and everyone involved in cricket, I’d like to thank Eoin Morgan for his outstanding contribution to the game.
“It will be wrong to think Eoin’s legacy was just winning the World Cup in 2019; it is far greater than that.
“As with all great players and leaders, he has changed the way the game has been played, and he has changed the way an entire generation and generations to come will play this form of the game. His legacy within the game will be felt for many years to come.
“He is, without question, the best leader I have seen. I wish him well in the next chapter of his career.”