LONDON: The preparation had started in earnest for England after being eliminated by minnows Bangladesh four years ago at Adelaide. It has been a remarkable journey since then. They came back with vengeance to scale the summit of the ICC ODI Team rankings and now are a step closer to winning their maiden World Cup. They will be playing their first final in 27 years, against New Zealand, at the Home of Cricket on Sunday.
Is it finally coming home now? “I wouldn’t get too carried away yet,” said England captain Morgan.
“It is obviously a very exciting time for everybody and ourselves included. I think giving ourselves the opportunity for Sunday’s final is brilliant. We’ll be giving it everything we can in order to try and win that game,” added Morgan.
Morgan, who alongside the head coach, Trevor Bayliss, has overseen England’s dramatic rise in the last four years.
“Yes, it’s been a process for the last four years. In 2015 we were way off the mark, we struggled against the top teams, and the teams that sat below that, so there was quite a drastic change in the way we played and the way we looked at playing our 50-over cricket,” said Morgan.
“That has worked out extremely well for us and given the support that we’ve had throughout, the ECB, the backroom staff, as players we have taken that I suppose as far as we can so far,” he added.
English people cynical
Morgan said people raised a lot of apprehensions about the English side. “I think we’re quite cynical people, who never quite give people credit when it’s due. There’s always a different side to it. We grow up around it. It is the way we are and we sometimes enjoy it too much,” he said.
Morgan said England learnt to enjoy the match even if it didn’t go in their way. “If you had offered us the position to play in a final the day after we were knocked out of 2015 World Cup, I would have laughed at you,” he added.
As England will be gunning for their maiden title, broadcasters have announced that the final is going to be on free-to-air television.
“Throughout the whole summer, the game was on the front and back page of every newspaper going around, everyone was talking about and it that is really good for the game and it’s the game I love so it’s great news that it’s on free-to-air. When guys go home, in various pockets during the tournament, they sort of get a glimpse of it, they have been recognised more than they would,” he said.
Morgan expects a keen contest in the final. “I think New Zealand throughout the whole tournament has been probably the hardest side to beat and the best side in the group stages. I think their performance in the semifinal was probably their best. They will be a difficult side to beat on Sunday, so we are looking forward to it,” he said.