Eoin Morgan, England’s 2019 World Cup-winning captain and one of the most defining leaders of the modern game, has retired from all forms of international cricket. Irish by birth and of international debut before he switched to playing for England in 2009, Morgan steps down as England’s leading run-scorer and most-capped player in white-ball cricket. Appointed Alastair Cook’s successor just two months from the 2015 ODI World Cup in Australia, Morgan led England in 126 ODIs and 72 T20Is. In a near 16-year career, Morgan played 16 Tests, 248 ODIs and 115 T20Is for England and Ireland.
“After careful deliberation and consideration, I am here to announce my retirement from international cricket with immediate effect,” Morgan, 35, said in an ECB release on Tuesday. “To call time on what has been without doubt the most enjoyable and rewarding chapter of my career hasn’t been an easy decision, but I believe now is the right time to do so, both for me, personally, and for both England white-ball sides I have led to this point.
“From my start in the international arena with Ireland to winning the World Cup in 2019, I have never lost sight of how integral family support is to any international sportsperson. To my Mum and Dad, my wife, Tara, and our family around the world, thank you for your unconditional support throughout the good and more challenging times in my career. Without you all, this incredible journey would not have been possible.
“I must also thank my teammates, coaches, supporters and those behind the scenes who have made my career and any successes possible. I am hugely proud of what I have achieved as a player and captain, but the things I will cherish and remember the most are the memories I made with some of the greatest people I know along the way.”
Morgan became England’s limited-overs captain at a time when their white-ball credibility was under severe threat. England failed to make the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup but that disaster helped Morgan bring in sweeping changes, emboldening themselves with a more data-reliant approach and asking the batters to express themselves freely. One of the most analytical minds in the game, Morgan’s biggest triumph was teaming up with Nathan Leamon—England’s white-ball data analyst since 2009—to make their strategy more cutting-edge at a time most other teams were still figuring out ways to cope with T20 cricket. An enduring image of this partnership was witnessed during the 2020 tour of South Africa when Leamon displayed numbered signals from the dressing room balcony for Morgan to act upon.
Under Morgan, England’s transformation was quickly evident. England lost the 2016 T20 World Cup final after West Indies’ Carlos Brathwaite smoked four consecutive sixes but that campaign instilled the confidence that they have the depth to go all the way. It culminated in a dream campaign at home three years later when England beat New Zealand in a thrilling super over at Lord’s on a balmy July 14 evening to win their first ever 50-over World Cup in four attempts. The World Cup win was no less a cultural success and a huge shout out to England’s growing diversity, given that an Irishman was given charge of a team that had two spinners of Asian origin (Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali), an all-rounder with Anglo-Bajan parentage (Jofra Archer), two South Africa-born players (Jason Roy and Tom Curran) and Ben Stokes whose father had played rugby for New Zealand.
A member of the 2010 World T20-winning team, Morgan also led England to the semi-finals of the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE. “I have been lucky enough to play in two World Cup winning teams, but I believe the future for England’s white-ball teams is brighter than ever. We have more experience, more strength and more depth than ever before. I look forward to watching on with a huge level of excitement,” said Morgan.
A left-handed batter who was as good sweeping as he was at playing the ball late, Morgan has scored just four fifties and one hundred in 44 limited-overs matches since 2020. He will continue to play franchise cricket and may also take up commentary. “To what lies ahead for me, I will continue to enjoy playing at a domestic level while I can. I’m really looking forward to playing and captaining London Spirit in the second edition of The Hundred this year.”