England’s white-ball coach, Matthew Mott, has refuted claims made by former World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan that the team’s dismal performance at this year’s tournament is due to an “unsettled” dressing room.
After India defeated England by 100 runs in Lucknow, leaving England at the top of the ten-team table following five convincing losses in six games, Mott insisted that the team was still “incredibly tight-knit” and that their training sessions were still “full of fun” in spite of their dismal tournament prospects.
“There’s every opportunity when you’re losing to splinter and go other ways,” Mott stated. “However, individuals are embracing one another in an attempt to support them. I’m proud of us because we just keep trying to climb back up, even though it’s much harder when we’re losing than it is when you’re winning.
Nonetheless, Morgan continues to be a trusted advisor to numerous players, eight of whom were part of the team that won the World Cup in 2019. He had implied that “something else [is] going on… there has to be” in an interview with Sky Sports prior to the India game, saying that the team’s underwhelming performance in comparison to their pre-tournament expectations was unheard of in any other sport.
After this most recent setback, Morgan went even further, declaring that the atmosphere in the dressing room would be as depressing as anything he had ever encountered during his own England career. His lowest point, he said, was in Adelaide during the 2015 World Cup, when their loss to Bangladesh in the group stage confirmed their early elimination from the competition.
“But there was a different level of expectation in that changing room,” Morgan stated. “Your goal was to advance to the quarterfinals at most. It wasn’t expected of you to fight for silverware.
“Winning this competition was their goal. The next 50-over World Cup is scheduled for 2027. Most of these individuals will have retired, and eight or nine of them will be too elderly to be here. There will be a strong sense of lost potential during a unique period for English white-ball cricket, as the talent in that change room is rare.”
Still, Mott seemed unperturbed by the hints of unrest within the camp.
“Eoin’s entitled to his opinion, and he’s obviously been away for a couple of weeks with the birth of his child,” he stated. “He hasn’t visited the rooms directly. I will definitely speak with him about that and have a conversation. Since we get along so well, I will surely have that chat with him if he is seeing something I’m not.”
Speaking on behalf of the players, England’s star performer in Lucknow, Chris Woakes, who has competed in both the 2015 and 2019 tournaments, stated that “frustration” was the main feeling among the group because they hadn’t been able to play any close to their best cricket at any point during the season.
“We would spend a lot of money on it if we could buy some confidence right now,” Woakes said to Sky Sports. “Isn’t it difficult to contain that? Lack of confidence causes you to make hasty decisions or make judgments that you wish you could take back.
But isn’t that the pinnacle of competitive sports? You are aware that you are not entitled to success at this level. We are lucky to have been on the winning side of World Cups, which are extremely difficult to win in 2019 and 2022. However, while entering Indian conditions, every aspect of your game needs to be in tip-top shape. We haven’t done that either, and if someone isn’t performing well, you have to adjust.
When Woakes compared the 2015 disaster to the current season, he concurred with Morgan’s observation that the players themselves had anticipated better results this time around.
“2015 was a very bad year. We were playing a traditional kind of cricket that wasn’t keeping up with the ways that modern players were advancing the sport. This is a far cry from that. I don’t think we had players capable of playing that style back then. On the other hand, I believe we have players in this dressing room who can play the way we do, and we have demonstrated this in the past.
“However, as a dressing room, we now lack the confidence to win games. And in the game of cricket, victory does generate momentum and confidence. You might witness a completely different squad play against Australia the next week if you could capture and apply the joy you get from winning cricket matches.”