Morgan ‘offended’ by criticism over Bangladesh tour withdrawal

“As a decision, I am very comfortable with [it]”

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England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan has admitted that he was deeply “offended” by the all criticism he received after opting not to tour Bangladesh with the national team last October.

Morgan and opening batsman Alex Hales decided to pull out of the tour due to security concerns even though they were assured that adequate protection would be provided.

Despite facing a significant amount of backlash, Morgan made it clear that he doesn’t regret his decision.

“My way of dealing with it was to get away from things, which I did,” he told BBC Radio. “My family saw a lot of it and were very offended, but that is part and parcel of being in the limelight.

“As a decision, I am very comfortable with [it] and it’s a decision I considered all consequences when I did, and sitting here or sitting at home, wherever I would have been sitting, I’d have been very comfortable with it.”

In Morgan’s absence, Jonny Bairstow and Sam Billings put their hands up as viable contenders for spots in the middle order, as did Ben Duckett, who was “desperately unlucky” to miss out on the upcoming limited overs tour of India, according to head coach Trevor Bayliss.

“We’ve a couple of series in the next five-six months which is going to be a big part in our lead up towards the [Champions Trophy],” he said. “It is exciting that we’ve only white-ball cricket between now and then. The major part of that is getting some cricket under my belt in the run into the series, which I’ve managed to do. I am really excited, and everybody within the group is as excited as I am.”

While Morgan averaged less than 30 in 25 matches across all formats last year, he showed signs of regaining his touch with the bat in the ongoing Big Bash League (BBL), where he represented the Sydney Thunder.

In his last match before he departed for India, Morgan made a 50-ball 71 against the Melbourne Stars that included a game-winning six off the last ball of the match.

Despite this, Morgan insisted that he isn’t taking his place in the England ODI and Twenty20 squads for granted.

“Nothing is a certainty. Absolutely nothing,” he said. “I’d like to think that things have gone pretty well for us, and over a small period of time we have had a little bit of success, like I have added. But, again we have a fantastic group of players – very talented, very driven and they want to do well.”

Morgan added that he has been highly impressed by England’s consistency when it comes to limited overs cricket.

“I think before we played a game together as a group, which was just under two years ago now, there’s always that nerves and anticipation about what’s to come,” he said. “I think the general mindset and attitude in which we went about our business was the right way, but the skill level doesn’t always deliver behind that. I’ve been surprised that the level of skill and consistency we’ve shown between now and then… I think it is impressive.

“Everybody within the group, and how well we’ve grown and learnt in that time, has been accelerated by the bit of success. Obviously, playing abroad is different challenge, a challenge which everybody is looking forward to. India is a great place to come and win the series. It means that much more because they are very, very good at home.”

As for the limited overs series against India, which begins with an ODI in Pune on January 15, Morgan conceded that the national team will still be feeling the effects of losing the Test series 4-0, but added that they will have to show a tremendous amount of fight in order to topple the hosts on home soil.

“I think they are very motivated individually,” he said. “Regardless of which format has been played first, the side has generally improved as the tour has gone on. Since the side has been together, there has been no backlash or repercussions from any performance earlier in the tour. I don’t expect it to have any effect.”

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