Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen on Wednesday said that England became the favourites to win 2019 Cricket World Cup when they finally learned to lose after a dismal show at 2015 World Cup and Captian Eoin Morgan deserves full marks for transforming the team. Four years ago, England had performed very badly at the World Cup, winning just two of their six games - against Scotland and Afghanistan. But since then England have emerged as a strong team and is currently topping the ODI world rankings. England have won 15 of 19 series they have played under their current coach Trevor Bayliss.
Pietersen said that the change in mindset of England players is largely responsible for the transformation of fortunes of the team and Morgan must be credited for this. “So much credit must go to Eoin Morgan, he’s cool, he’s calm and he has the backing of his players, which is the most important,” Pietersen was quoted as saying in an ICC press release.
He praised Morgan saying he brings positivity to the side which energises the players. “The players have felt energised by the positivity in which he backs them but I think the most encouraging thing about this England team is Eoin allows them to fail. When you are allowed to fail you can play some unbelievable sport. In all walks of life, if you are allowed to make mistakes and know you are still going to get backed, that’s empowering. That is what Morgan has done,” added the ICC press release.
Pietersen, who was a part of England squad which won the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2010, was a big name in England cricket when Morgan made his debut in 2009. Pietersen, however, said that he was always confident of Morgan's talent and knew that he would do good for England.
“You could see that there was something special about him. The one thing about Eoin Morgan is the ability to hit a boundary and then get off strike the next ball. I think that that takes a lot of skill. I didn’t have that when I was playing one-day cricket. I got myself into many an occasion where I just could not rotate strike. I’m not surprised what he’s done because I was sat on a train with him years ago talking about the way we need to play positive cricket. It’s just beautiful to see the way English players are playing now. It’s something that makes me so happy. Eoin has transformed England,” Pietersen said in the ICC release.
Pietersen said that England, India and Australia are set to enter the semi-finals and West Indies may become the fourth team to book a place in the last four.