Monday, 20 February 2012

Eoin Morgan's Definition of Madness

Albert Einstein once said that "the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results". I don't know if Einstein was much of a cricket fan, but the saying certainly does ring true in the sport. Eoin Morgan would do well to listen to wise Albert's words of advice. Morgan, now a very established part of England's teams, has come out and said that he won't be changing his very unique style of batting in order to get test success, as he feels he can make it work.

To call Morgan's technique unorthodox would be underselling it. Beginning as a slight bend at the knees before turning into a full-on crouch, Morgan's unique manner of batting certainly isn't in the coaching manual. As interesting as it is, it hasn't yielded great results, especially recently, with a very modest average of 30 from 16 tests.

The picture here demonstrates Morgan's bizarre technique perfectly - knees squat, backside parallel to the ground and bat waved high above the head, Morgan's technique is a walking disaster. The next trigger movement will be a big lurch upwards, which makes Morgan horribly prone to big outside edges. And at a time where England have been castigated for their failure to move their feet to the spinners, Morgan's technique means that it is near enough impossible to do so without shuffling like a crab or losing balance totally. In short, Morgan's technique is a complete horror show.

It wasn't always like this. When Eoin first came into the England team, he had a very serviceable batting set-up. Yes, it was quirky, and yes, it did need a bit of work, but Morgan had a technique that wasn't that far out of the ordinary. But after a bit of tinkering and exaggeration, he has some weird monster of an action, which hardly sets him up for long-term test success.

Morgan's strengths are clear, an ice cool temperament and an unbelievable range of shots - two factors that make him one of the world's best in limited over cricket where the field is spread and there is more license to hit out. But in test cricket, where there will always be slips in place to gobble up those inevitable edges and bowlers given more leeway to target the body, Morgan's record has been thus far sketchy. Which makes it odd for Morgan to arrogantly deny that he needs to make any changes to his technique in order to succeed in the test arena. None of this will matter in the short term, as Morgan is very likely to be out of the team for the Sri Lanka tour, but chances are that he'll be back in whites at some point in the future. It would do Morgan well to heed the words of Einstein if he is to ever get success as a test player.

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