Sydney: As if England captain Eoin Morgan did not have enough to worry about leading his stumbling side at the World Cup, he has become caught up in a row over his failure to sing the national anthem.
Thumping defeats by Australia (111 runs), New Zealand (eight wickets) and Sri Lanka (nine wickets) have made it a largely miserable World Cup for England, whose lone win of the tournament to date has come against non-Test side Scotland.
Inevitably there has been widespread criticism of the team`s performance but Dublin-born Morgan has also been criticised in some quarters for failing to bellow out a chorus of "God Save the Queen."
But the 28-year-old batsman, who played for Ireland before making his England debut in 2009, said he was not making any sort of statement by staying silent during the anthem.
"It`s pretty simple. I`ve never sung the national anthem whether I`ve played for Ireland or England," Morgan said.
"It doesn`t make me any less proud to be an English cricketer. I`m extremely proud to be in the position I am in and privileged to be captain of a World Cup side."
Asked to explain his decision, Morgan added: "It`s a long story. It`s a personal thing."
Former England footballer Gary Lineker came to Morgan`s defence by saying: "You show your pride with your performance. You give your all on the field. Singing is for show, an irrelevance."