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Eoin Morgan: Explosive, exciting and innovative

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 17:38

Jaideep Vaidya/CricketCountry

Eoin Morgan, born on September 10, 1986, is an Irish-born England cricketer who is currently the lynchpin of the middle-order in the limited overs format. He is one of the most exciting and explosive batsmen operating in the sport with his unorthodox strokeplay. Currently he is one of the best finishers of the game. Jaideep Vaidya goes through his career so far.

Eoin Morgan is the sort of batsman who would make the writers of the MCC coaching manual wonder about the basic tenets of batting. Welcome to the world of Morgan where orthodox is passé; why play cover drives, square cuts and on-drives when the southpaw can play reverse sweeps, reverse flicks and reverse dabs? He takes innovation to a whole new level and looks the nonconformist product of gully cricket, rather than being the MCC-approved textbook batsman. One of the most exciting limited-overs players around, Morgan is an out-and-out product of the Twenty20 generation of cricket, where innovation and entertainment go hand-in-hand. He draws more than a few winces from the more conventional folk.

Morgan is a strong leg-side player who also loves a whack straight down the ground. When he was young, in winters when the cricket fields used to be covered in snow in his hometown Dublin, the left-handed Morgan would play on a four-feet wide concrete strip with a wall to blank out the off-side and an open park on the on-side. It was but natural that he would develop strong leg-side strokes such as the pull, which is his favourite shot. Morgan is also a connoisseur in unorthodox cricketing strokes, especially the reverse category, and has played quite a few of them which commentators have found difficult naming and describing. For him, it doesn`t matter how you get the runs as long as you get them. He is the antagonist to the Dravids, the Trotts and the Cooks. The usual angles and shapes you have to get your body into while playing shots don`t matter scant to him; any angle is a good angle if I can somehow get the ball past or over the fielder.

It is said that Morgan developed his pyrotechnics by playing hurling (a Gaelic and Irish sport which is a cross between baseball, hockey, rugby and basketball) as a youngster. The grip of the hurling stick, or hurley, is very similar to the one employed while playing a reverse sweep, and Morgan played this sport twice a week in school. His supple wrist movement thus seems a lot more normal after getting to know this titbit, even though he doesn`t give the credit to hurling. "People ask me if I played hurling, but the truth is I’ve always been able to manipulate my wrists like this," he told All Out Cricket in an interview. Another feature in Morgan`s batting is his crouch-and-bounce while the delivery is being bowled, a la Brian Lara. “It started about two-and-a-half years ago (early 2012) and it got more exaggerated — it was probably at its peak this time last year...I’d generate much more power and it enabled me to hit yorkers. The theory was applying something similar to a boxer throwing a ‘straight’; he would squat and go from high to low, and punch you in the face. By dipping and then coming up, I’d generate more power and it would be more effective than, say, standing and hitting you in the face with no momentum,” he explained.

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First Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 16:35

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