We should respect Mor­gan and Hales for being their own men, but query their wis­dom.

By in Ian Stafford

Being the Eng­land cricket cap­tain and decid­ing, under immense pres­sure, not to tour with the rest of your team­mates in Bangladesh will not have been easy for Eoin Mor­gan. If it was left simply to him­self then it might have been a sim­pler pro­cess but he was told in no uncer­tain terms that he should be on the plane by his bosses at the ECB, whilst some will see the cap­tain desert­ing the ship leav­ing his crew­mates to battle the storm, rather than lead­ing from the front.

Only Mor­gan will be fully under­stand his motives, although per­son­ally exper­i­en­cing a bomb blast in India and adverse reports from Bangladesh prior to the all-clear given by the ECB’s own secur­ity chief will have played a major part in a decision that will, in all prob­ab­il­ity, have far-reach­ing con­sequences.

For all the assur­ances one can­not help won­der what will hap­pen to Morgan’s career. Very much a white-ball spe­cial­ist the former Irish inter­na­tional has given his select­ors motiv­a­tion not to pick him in the future, using play­ing issues as their reas­ons.

In a side packed full of excit­ing, high-scor­ing bats­men the one pos­i­tion in doubt was the cap­tain him­self, only because his own form paled in com­par­ison. With Alex Hales and Jason Roy notch­ing up the highest and third highest ever one-day scores by Eng­lish bats­men, Joe Root scor­ing big half cen­tur­ies for fun, Jos But­tler caus­ing may­hem in oppos­ing ranks and Ben Stokes bat­ting with new-found matur­ity, Mor­gan may have been dropped had it not been for his captain’s arm­band.

Now he has provided two reas­ons to drop him for the tour to India. One, Jos But­tler may well pro­duce a ster­ling job as the new Eng­land one day cap­tain. And two, the long list of bats­men banging on the first team door now have a chance, begin­ning with Jonny Bair­stow. Des­pite being one of the form bats­men of the sum­mer the York­shire­man was not in the first-choice Eng­land start­ing X1 in the white ball form. When he did get the chance to play against Pakistan he won the man of the match award in his first game, and con­trib­uted more than most in the second. Then there is the excit­ing Sam Billings, who gives But­tler a run for his money in expans­ive stroke-play. And then there is also Ben Duck­ett, the name every­one is talk­ing about in Eng­lish cricket.

Mor­gan will not be offi­cially dropped because he chose to duck the tour to Bangladesh. But it will hard to believe this won’t come into it, espe­cially if his replace­ments deliver.

Hales is the only other Eng­lish crick­eter to stay at home. In doing so he has more or less kissed good­bye to his test career. The chances were he would be dropped in any case after a poor sum­mer, but now he has made the pro­spect of return­ing to the top of England’s test bat­ting order that much harder. If the pre­co­cious 19-year-old, Haseem Hamed, takes his chance along­side Alastair Cook in Bangladesh then that will be that. He should still return to the ODI side cour­tesy of his 171 against Pakistan, but there will be a big black mark against his name.

Should there be? Doesn’t he and Mor­gan reserve the right to make decisions about their per­sonal safety without the threat of los­ing their jobs? They do. And in many ways they should be respec­ted for tak­ing such a stance, espe­cially Mor­gan know­ing that he has so much more to lose.

But Eoin Mor­gan has always been his own man, whether in leav­ing Ire­land for Eng­land, or refus­ing to sing the National Anthem, and now this.

The ECB will unof­fi­cially be hop­ing the Eng­lish one day bat­ters will score so heav­ily that it will be that much harder for them to recall their former cap­tain.

Whatever hap­pens we should be grate­ful for one thing. It was Mor­gan who played a big­ger part than any­one in drag­ging Eng­lish one day cricket into the mod­ern, fast-scor­ing fash­ion and for that we should be etern­ally grate­ful.