The imminent retirement of Eoin Morgan is set to bring the end of a triumphant era for England’s one-day side, just as Ben Stokes is laying the foundations of a new one in Test cricket.
World Cup-winning skipper Morgan will confirm the end of his international career at Lord’s this afternoon, leaving behind a side he helped transform from also-rans into global pace-setters.
The 35-year-old has been struggling in recent months for form and fitness but will go down in history as the man who delivered the most coveted trophy in the limited-overs game, completing his crowning achievement in a famously dramatic final at Lord’s in 2019.
After switching his allegiance from his native Ireland in 2009, Morgan quickly became one of the most innovative players, and thinkers, in the English game and took over as captain when Sir Alastair Cook was sacked on the eve of the 2015 World Cup.
He leaves seven years later as the record run-scorer and record cap-holder in both 50 and 20-over cricket, with his deputy Jos Buttler primed to step up.
Stokes would have been another viable candidate for the role, but he already has his hands full in charge of a Test team who have made a thrilling start to his first summer at the helm.
Stokes was celebrating a 3-0 series whitewash of New Zealand on Monday, following another brilliant chase from a side who have successfully hunted down targets of 277, 299 and 296 in the space of a month.
He has cited Morgan’s overhaul of the one-day team as an inspiration in his new role and, like Morgan, he could find himself changing the way others approach the game.
Morgan’s progressive approach led to a change in the domestic competitions, with a generation of young players adopting, and adapting, the national side’s methods.
Now Stokes has made it clear that anybody who wants to be part of his reboot will have to prove they are able to match their fearless attitude.
“I think these last three games should have sent a message to people who aspire to play Test cricket for England over the next two or three years, at least,” he said after runs from the prolific pair of Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root sealed a ruthless seven-wicket win.
“I’d like to think that people watching know what they have to do to try and bang the door down and get in this team. It’s not necessarily your stats, or anything like that, it’s the manner that you play which is probably going to be first and foremost in the selectors’ minds.
“What we want to do is build on this. It’s not just about us at the moment. It’s about the future as well and what I think we’ve done over the last three weeks is making people enjoy watching Test cricket again.
“I knew that everyone would buy into the new mentality me and (new head coach) Brendon (McCullum) set out, but I didn’t think it would go this well to be honest.
“Coming away with a 3-0 victory over the world Test champions is a great start and something to build on and make sure we keep carrying this mindset forward.”