In­ter­view Morgan fi­nally watches fi­nal – three times

Lock­down pro­vided cap­tain chance to re­live Lord’s clas­sic, and he re­calls the mo­ment he thought the match was lost

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Cricket - By Nick Hoult

For a lot of peo­ple, lock­down was the chance to catch up on Net­flix box sets, but for Eoin Morgan it was an op­por­tu­nity fi­nally to watch the big­gest cricket match of his life.

A year ago to­day Morgan led Eng­land to vic­tory in what Michael Vaughan de­clared on the front page of this news­pa­per as the great­estever cricket match. Eng­land’s super over vic­tory at al­most 8pm on a glo­ri­ously sunny Sun­day evening at Lord’s will never be for­got­ten, but for Morgan it took watch­ing the game again for many of the mem­o­ries to come back.

“Ob­vi­ously, the last four months has been a bit of a chal­lenge but that’s ac­tu­ally al­lowed me to watch the World Cup fi­nal – I’ve watched it three times now,” he says. “And that’s al­lowed me to en­joy it for the first time. It’s still tense through­out the whole day ev­ery time I watch it and watch­ing it back, the ebbs and flow of the game, is a priv­i­lege.”

It was a day of ex­cru­ci­at­ing drama, but even at those mo­ments when all hope seemed to have been lost for Eng­land (and there were lots), there was Morgan, sit­ting on the bal­cony with that icy stare and calm ex­te­rior.

“There’s only one for me (when he thought it was over) and it prob­a­bly came to me the se­cond time I watched it.

“Jimmy Nee­sham’s bowl­ing to Ben [Stokes], he bowls a slower ball, Ben hits it down to long on and I re­mem­ber the ball be­ing in the air and you can see the tra­jec­tory of the ball and you full well know when you hit it up the hill you have to ab­so­lutely smoke it to hit it for six and it’s gone high and not quite as long as he’d liked and for a minute I just thought, ‘That’s it, it’s over,

Ben’s out, we still need 15 an over’ – that’s when I thought for a split se­cond we were dead and buried.”

Then Trent Boult caught the ball but im­me­di­ately stepped on the bound­ary, giv­ing away a six and keep­ing Eng­land in the match.

Morgan keeps his medal “on a shelf ” but says there is not enough room in his flat for hang­ing up mem­o­ra­bilia. That day has cre­ated a deep con­nec­tion be­tween the play­ers in the 15-man squad and back­room staff. There are plans for re­union din­ners but it will have to wait un­til they are re­tired and not play­ing cricket around the world.

It might be too soon for Liam Plunkett, who took three wick­ets in the fi­nal but has not played again since, but Morgan be­lieves there is a bond for life. “Go­ing through the highs and the lows of that four-year pe­riod, the very sim­i­lar highs and lows of that cam­paign, is some­thing that all of us will have un­til the day we die,” says Morgan

“The fi­nal is ac­tu­ally big­ger than cricket and pro­jected as one of the big­gest high­lights of a sport­ing day in Bri­tish his­tory. That will be around for a very long time, so it was prob­a­bly more sat­is­fy­ing that it will con­tinue to be like that.

“One thing we’ve found un­be­liev­ably chal­leng­ing is that we haven’t been able to get the whole group of play­ers, that squad of 15, to­gether since the day af­ter the World Cup fi­nal. It’s just been a chal­lenge with guys play­ing all over the place. One of the aims is to do it sooner rather than later, to have a din­ner, a bit of a party. Given any ex­cuse, I love to cel­e­brate.”

Morgan lives in north Lon­don, lead­ing a quiet life with his young fam­ily, but says he has been recog­nised on the street a lot more since the fi­nal, which was the first live match to be shown on ter­res­trial tele­vi­sion since the 2005 Ashes.

It was a super Sun­day of sport, with the epic Wim­ble­don fi­nal be­tween No­vak Djokovic and Roger Fed­erer as well as Lewis Hamil­ton win­ning the Bri­tish Grand Prix.

“It was just a cel­e­bra­tion of sport and peo­ple ob­vi­ously love it when they win tro­phies,” says Morgan. “Cricket has cer­tainly be­come a higher-pro­file [sport] and with that, that’s how my life has changed.”

Sil­ver lin­ing: The Eng­land squad mark their vic­tory with a visit to see Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May at 10 Down­ing Street

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