IPL is not all about money and glitz and glamour. Apart from providing a platform for the best in the world to showcase their skills in front of a global audience, what it has done is also bridge cultural gaps between players from different countries and allowed them to understand their international opponents better. It has helped players from different countries to become friends off-the field.
In a recent interview England’s limited overs captain Eoin Morgan, who is currently playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad has said that while the players from his country and Australia have developed friendship due to playing together in IPL and Big Bash League but it will not take any heat out of Australia-England rivalry.
He also talked about more English players playing in IPL in coming years, the T20 world cup and much more.
Q: You are one of the very few English cricketers who have played in the IPL. Do you think it is vital for your countrymen to gain this experience and should the scheduling be changed to assist that?
Morgan: With the passage of time, I think we will see more and more English cricketers play in the IPL. This year in particular there have been huge moves to get more players involved in this tournament, and not just here, you can also see the same in the Big Bash League. The likes of David Willey, Michael Carberry, Jos Buttler, so on, and myself, we are involved in franchise cricket there. I am also hopeful that we will have our own franchise-based T20 competition sooner rather than later, and maybe we can replicate something like the IPL or BBL back in England.
Q: Playing in the Big Bash and here in the IPL, you get to share the dressing room with a lot of Australian players. Like here at Sunrisers Hyderabad, you are playing under David Warner and alongside Moises Henriques and Ben Cutting. Does it help calm down the Australia-England rivalry?
Morgan: This rivalry has shaped up over a century of intense cricket, since the start of the game, in fact. It has always been there. So it isn’t a case of it building up or coming down, it is there regardless of what kind of cycle the teams are in or how international cricket is shaping up. It is a rivalry where previous success doesn’t matter. Whether you are playing in the Ashes or playing against Australia in a World Cup, the stakes are always high.
Q: Talking about the English set-up in particular, there has been a marked improvement in limited-overs cricket, from the lows of 2015 ODI World Cup to the highs of 2016 World T20. Can you shed some light on this?
Morgan: It has been a short journey so far, to be honest, but at the same time it has been very exciting. We have got a very young team and with the talent at our disposal, the sky is the limit. They are striving to learn and improve all the time, constantly trying to push the best sides in the world any chance they are given. And the change in mind-set is not only among the players but also the backroom staff. Especially Trevor Bayliss, who has been helping implement that. It has been incredible so far and hopefully it is just the beginning.
Q: The World T20 was obviously a high point. How would you look back at that tournament?
Morgan: It was a very good tournament for us, and is probably the highlight of the journey of the past 12 months or so. What we learnt during the recent highs and lows and also during this tournament will hold us in good stead down the line. Some of the games we played were really testing, particularly in the group stage. Trying to get out of the group stage in a T20 tournament can be very difficult, and then we carried that form afterwards. We were clinical in the semi-final against New Zealand and while we did well in Kolkata, we didn’t do enough to win the final. But such is life.
Q: How about those four consecutive sixes in the final?
Morgan: Let me just say that throughout that World T20, nobody hit the ball like Carlos Brathwaite did. And to hit four sixes in a row in a tournament final like that, is quite an achievement.
Q: On the Sunrisers Hyderabad; the team started off slowly, but now have picked up pace. How would you look at the season so far?
Morgan: We were slow off the mark but then we were able to score three wins in a row, so it has been good thus far. It gave us a bit of momentum. There have been odd hiccups but we have been able to overcome those issues, particularly on turning tracks. We are looking forward to a run of home games now, in conditions that we understand. It should get us a few more wins and we should look good for the playoffs thereafter.
Q: You have been involved with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders before. So what has been your key takeaway from the Indian Premier League?
Morgan: Every year has been a different experience. At the beginning of my career, when I first came to the IPL with Bangalore, it was more about the passion and culture of cricket that is played in India. The further I have played here it has been about playing under the pressure of being an overseas player. You are only one of four allowed in the eleven, and sometimes you are chosen ahead of some other players, so that experience has been something else. It keeps you grounded as well as makes you appreciate opportunities whenever you get them.