New Player Wanted: The Anti-Eoin Morgan

I can’t fault Eoin Morgan for choosing the IPL over domestic cricket — money’s a potent drug, especially for a 24-year-old. But it would be much easier to accept if Morgan, in response to questions on his recent career move, simply pulled out a wad of English sterling and said, “Ga, ga, goo, goo.” (Again, that’s not to criticize the man. I would understand it.)

So I’d appreciate it if he didn’t insult my intelligence when he says the following:

“The learning curve I went through in IPL last year, the pressure I was put under, the fact of having to produce your skills time after time in massive situations, it helps my game a lot and I get a lot of confidence from it,” said Morgan.

Or this:

“The amount I learned last year just by playing five games and staying out there for the next three weeks, practising every day and rubbing shoulders with legends of the game, did massive amounts for me.”

This is what’s known in political circles as “spin.” Other people call it “disingenuous.” Playing in the IPL is not ideal practice for Test cricket. It just isn’t. And playing in the IPL doesn’t boost a player’s confidence; it just confirms it. (Shy people don’t become rock stars.)

But Morgan’s IPL decision raises a larger question: aren’t anti-Morgan players more interesting? I mean the players who only play Tests (voluntarily, or otherwise). Yes, I love Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, but the mystique of Test-only players (Dravid, Laxman, Nash) is just as (more?) compelling. No IPL parties; no slogging; a willingness to face collapses and crises — there’s something great about men who have put aside childish things. More, please.

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8 thoughts on “New Player Wanted: The Anti-Eoin Morgan

  1. Gareth says:

    Amen.

  2. golandaaz says:

    Leave the partying aside

    Do you think running marathons is the only way to create true athletes. And that people who run sprints are childish and considered as “sloggers”

    Why can’t cricket accept all formats as equals….or am i missing the point of your post?

    I haven’t read about fans of Kenyan long distance runners running down Usain Bolt so why do fans of Dravid think that as a cricketer he is inherently superior than a Pollard?

    Its perfectly acceptable for runners to choose to become sprinters because there is more money in it.

    • duckingbeamers says:

      Golandaaz–

      This wasn’t meant to be a post about the relative virtues of each format, but I still appreciate Jake’s point below.

      No, it was about something larger. Part of the reason I don’t like the IPL is its artifice — the Bollywood celebrities, the commentary, the product placement. And I associate these things, rightly or wrongly, with the T20 format in general. There’s a particular type of player who thrives in this setting, and it looks like any modern athlete would.

      But cricket, for me, is an exceptional sport. Again, perhaps I’m naively professing a love for the amateur era — and maybe this is nothing more than baseless nostalgia. But cricketers shouldn’t be “jocks” in my mind. And that’s where my Test-only player would fit in. It’s not that he looks down on T20s or ODIs; it’s just that he prefers the quieter life.

      In other words, it’s a statement of protest against modernity and history. It’s a quiet resistance. (Boy, I need to stop reading all these reviews of that new book on Gandhi.)

  3. Jake says:

    But all formats *aren’t* equal, at least not in the eyes of many. Most fans I talk to prefer one format over the others. There are clearly a number of folks who prefer T20, some to the exclusion of all other forms. They think that T20 is fast-paced and fun, and that the 40/50-over game – not to mention first class and Test cricket – is a ponderous relic of the past.

    As for me, I dislike T20 to the point where I rarely watch it. From my perspective, T20 is a travesty of a beautiful sport, one that removes the best elements of cricket – the guile, the patience, the exquisite balance between attack and defense, between bowler and batsman. That’s not to say that there’s not an excellent three hour bat-and-ball game that can boast drama, subtlety, balance, and excellent pacing, because there is. It’s called baseball. And it was designed to be a shorter game. But T20 is to cricket what “home run derby” is to baseball – a batting exhibition.

    That’s just one man’s opinion. Your mileage may vary, and I don’t ask anyone to agree with me. But by the same token, no one should ask me to accept that T20 can approach the glory of Test cricket, or even the lesser joys of ODIs and the domestic first class game. All of which is to say, “amen” to the original post.

  4. I think Ravi Bopara tried to be your “anti-Morgan”, but lost out.

    • duckingbeamers says:

      Well, no, Devanshu — Ravi Bopara wouldn’t be my ideal anti-Morgan player. What I’m looking for, I suspect, is a throwback to the amateur era (and I’m sure Russ will deride me on this point). I’m looking for quieter players who play Tests alone and then resist the other formats.

      I’ll have to think some more before I can articulate a proper model. Bopara doesn’t fit because he wanted a short-term goal (i.e., getting placed in the England Test squad). Perhaps this is a better route: youngsters break into ODI and T20 squads, they enjoy endorsement deals for a few years, and then, once they “mature,” they say no more — Tests and Tests alone.

  5. […] previous post elicited some criticism in its comments section. Golaandaz took my praise for Test-only players as […]

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