Eoin Morgan 'couldn't think of anything worse than playing' as England enter Cricket World Cup 2023
Reigning Cricket World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan spoke exclusively to RadioTimes.com about retirement, life after cricket and that day at Lord's.
Eoin Morgan's England shaped modern cricket in this country. From the rock bottom of a pool stage exit from the Cricket World Cup in 2015 to champions in 2019, Captain Morgan's fingerprints were all over the blueprints to redemption.
The 37-year-old retired from international cricket in July 2022, before stashing away the bat for good in February 2023, and will be a key face on TV screens across the nation as a Sky Sports analyst throughout the Cricket World Cup 2023, starting on Thursday 5th October.
In an exclusive chat with RadioTimes.com, Morgan explained why he won't miss leading England into their title defence, how he has adjusted to retirement, and revealed some of his most vivid behind-the-scenes memories from that final day at Lord's in 2019.
He started by explaining his decision to call it a day: "I couldn't think of anything worse than going out and playing at the moment, which goes to show that when I made the decision to stand down, I was completely and utterly spent.
"When you're playing, you don't realise how hard it is. And it took me probably a couple of months to realise after, 'Jeez, that's quite hard.'
"In many ways, it's unbelievably addictive, because you're constantly trying to look for mistakes, and then you go through the process of, 'Right, how do you make that mistake better?' And then another one crops up. It's a daily exercise, but it is quite relentless.
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"When it's happening, you just love it, because you've done it for 20 years and you're living out your dream. You go through everything, from injury to being tested mentally to fighting to get into a team, to fighting to keep your place, to try and go on and win trophies – various different challenges over the years.
"Everything about it is difficult, but again, I didn't really think that was the case when I played."
Morgan spoke to us fresh from a golf trip to Scotland, and spoke about his new life after cricket with more than a glow of satisfaction and contentment across his face.
He said: "It feels great. It's been over a year now and I still feel that feel the same way. It's great.
"I have a young family, so I've been spending more time at home, watching more sports, you know, just living life. It has been outstanding.
"Obviously, working with Sky as well, it has just been an absolute pleasure, because it feels like you're watching the game, you're sitting in the stands and having a yarn about it like you would with with mates.
"It's pretty cool to be able to say that and not have to train and not have to do various different things – I don't miss any of that at all. It's been great.
"I've doubled down on the interests I already had. I love golf, horse racing, rugby. I've just been watching more of all that, spending more time with my kid, my wife is pregnant at the moment and she's due very soon – just living life."
Asked how family life impacted the latter stages of his career, Morgan said: "It changes your whole life in many ways, because the priority shifts in a very, very nice way.
"I'd say probably for the last two or three years, even before we had our first child, I think because I'd been through, you know, the worst and the best [in cricket], you get to a stage where it's like, 'Actually, it still isn't a priority.'
"Even though you're desperate to win at every stage, you find switching off a lot easier because you've done it for a long time."
Now, with England in the safe gloves of captain Jos Buttler, Morgan can sit back and savour the Cricket World Cup to come, as well as allow himself time to recall his most vivid memories of the 2019 final that carved his name into English cricket history.
He said: "Trent Boult's dropped catch. It was the only time that day I thought we were out. We were gone. If he takes that catch, Ben Stokes is out, we have no way of getting over the line.
"I'll always remember that because throughout the whole day, we always had a player, we always had a tactic, always had a plan to get us out of any situation that we might have been in throughout the day, but I'll always remember that.
"I remember the ball going up. I've played 1000 games at Lord's – I know where the boundaries are, what they're doing – and you can see the trajectory of the ball and you know straight away. And you see Trent Boult and you're like, 'Oh, no,' because he's an unbelievable fielder. I'll always remember that.
"And seeing Ben [Stokes] come in after the 50 over game, sit down and just be completely out on his feet, sitting down on his haunches. And I went up to him and asked him if he'd be good to go [for the Super Over], and he goes, 'Yeah, but I've got to go out the back,' and he just went out the back, took time to himself, and a lot of moments like that aren't captured.
"Another, we were standing on the balcony and the coach Trevor Bayliss was deciding who was going to bat in the Super Over as we were batting first. Obviously there's commotion going on in the background because we hadn't made a decision to start with.
"Once we did that, then decided Jofra Archer was going to bowl. As we decided, Jofra tapped me on the shoulder. He'd been sitting in his position looking around at other bowlers and nobody else had taken out their bowling boots.
"He was like, 'Oh, does everybody else know it's me?' and I don't even know. He's turned and tapped me on the shoulder and he was like, 'Skipper, it's me, isn't it?' and I was like, 'Yeah, it is.'"
And the rest is history. Can England create some more in 2023?
The Men’s Cricket World Cup is available on Sky Sports and NOW from 5th October.
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