England captain Eoin Morgan knows a thing or two about graduating to the big leagues and showcasing your talent. After all, he made his international debut for Ireland, before becoming a white-ball stalwart for England and masterminding their run to the 50-over world title in 2019.
It is a journey that Morgan is confident women's cricket will also make thanks to the success of The Hundred tournament. The new 100-ball format is making waves in English cricket following its launch in 2021, with eight men's and eight women's teams providing a huge platform to cricketers from across England and Wales.
Player draft for the 2022 season was held recently and Morgan, who played for London Spirit in the inaugural edition, expects The Hundred to take the game to the next level, especially for women's cricketers.
“The Hundred is an overwhelming success in England,” Morgan said after overseeing a week-long coaching clinic at the Zayed Cricket Academy in Abu Dhabi.
“The players love it, fans love it and I think the biggest beneficiaries of the whole tournament are the girls. The women’s teams turning up had record numbers watching them play at the venues and millions following them on television.
“It actually makes me think of the time of my transition from Ireland as an amateur to professional, when you keep practicing and practicing to get into the top flight games.
“We are seeing that now with the women cricketers, probably in the last five years in England and Australia, more than anywhere else. I think you’ll see more of them in international cricket as the game grows.”
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While the Hundred is expected to bear fruits in the long run, there are a few pressing matters for Morgan - a hectic season that begins with New Zealand’s tour in June and culminates in the T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November.
England also have full home series against India and South Africa from July to September, which means almost non-stop cricket for many. Which is why Morgan, 35, takes regular breaks, especially before the start of the season, to help operate at an optimum level for the Three Lions.
“Taking time away from the game anywhere between five to 12 weeks... I have always comeback and done unbelievably well. And I take comfort in that,” Morgan said.
“I have done it since 2015. It’s something that works for me and I’m sticking with it. I’m absolutely loving the time-off I had and the week we had here [in Abu Dhabi with young cricketers aged 8-19] and the ability to pass on some experiences and values within the game.
“I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead in the summer because once we start we don’t stop until the end of the World Cup, and then possibly the Abu Dhabi T10.”
Morgan's leadership during this cycle will be under scrutiny as he has entered the final stretch of his remarkably successful tenure. What has helped Morgan - the only England captain to win a 50-over World Cup - is the guidance he received from his predecessors Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook.
“The two captains I really learnt a huge amount from were Alistair Cook and Andrew Strauss,” he said..
“Straussy was the first captain I played under. He was the guy that led from the front.
“In that regard he was very articulate and one of the biggest skills I picked probably from him, was having over a period of time, listen to what he had to say. He always managed to nail every team talk every time he spoke or he addressed anybody.”