Eoin Morgan interview: Back-to-back England fixtures at Wembley would be perfect for men and women’s cricket

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Eoin Morgan tells Standard Sport why cricket’s calendar needs a shake-up  (PA)
Eoin Morgan tells Standard Sport why cricket’s calendar needs a shake-up (PA)

Eoin Morgan believes England’s men and women should play back-to-back T20s in a showpiece international fixture at Wembley or the London Stadium.

However, the former England captain warned there is “absolutely no chance” of a double-header coming to fruition at any venue unless cricket resolves its scheduling nightmare.

Wednesday night marks the start of the second edition of the Hundred, as Welsh Fire take on Southern Brave. Last year’s inaugural tournament was hailed as a major success for its promotion of the women’s game, with men’s and women’s matches played back-to-back throughout the summer.

The start of this year’s women’s tournament has been delayed until next Thursday due to England’s participation at the Commonwealth Games, but the double-header format will return from that point and, in a first, the opening fixture between Oval Invincibles and Northern Superchargers will be played in the headline evening slot, after the men’s game.

When asked whether the same format could be employed for a one-off ­international in the future, Morgan said: “I’d think bigger. I’d think somewhere like Wembley, why not? Or if you go to the Olympic Stadium where they can move things around. You can legitimise that and it doesn’t have to be specifically targeted at cricket-loving people. It’s a sporting event.

“Ultimately, if we’re aiming to do that across a one-off game — rugby do it domestically — there’s no reason cricket couldn’t do it at international level.”

Transforming Wembley into a cricket venue would be a logistical challenge but the London Stadium already hosts Major League Baseball matches and was explored as a potential venue for the men’s Cricket World Cup in 2019.

More problematic, however, could be locating an appropriate slot in an overcrowded calendar and Morgan believes finding a suitable overlap between the two sides within their current schedules would be impossible.

“Absolutely no chance,” he said. “Genuinely feasible? I would say, no. Do I want to that to happen? That would be great, absolutely.

“The unity across the game when the Hundred going on is just amazing. It works and it’s great to sit back and say that’s a great template, let’s use it. But there’s just too much going on in order to feasibly actually do it. I’d like it and want it but that’s not going to happen.”

Eoin Morgan was speaking ahead of the start of the Hundred (KP Snacks Roadshow Launch)
Eoin Morgan was speaking ahead of the start of the Hundred (KP Snacks Roadshow Launch)

Morgan will captain Lord’s-based London Spirit during the Hundred, returning to action for the first time since announcing his international retirement earlier this summer.

The post-Morgan era has got off to a difficult start under the leadership of new head coach Matthew Mott and new captain Jos Buttler, with England failing to win any of their four white-ball series against South Africa and India last month.

England are not due to be in T20 action again until setting off for their tour of Pakistan in mid-September. By that point they will have named their squad for the T20 World Cup, which begins in Australia the following month, and Morgan believes the Hundred presents the perfect opportunity for England’s players to rediscover their form.

“Jos spoke after the game the other day, he said he was disappointed with the intent the players had,” Morgan said, at the launch of KP Snacks’ summer cricket roadshow at The Black Prince Trust in Oval. “There’s no better time than The Hundred than to go out as a whole group of players and prove that to start with.”

He just needs to get back to somewhere near how Jason Roy plays.

Jason Roy is in particular need of runs after a barren international summer so far but Morgan is backing the 32-year-old, who epitomises his attacking philosophy, to bounce back to form.

“Anyone who’s followed Jason’s international career since he started — that’s how he plays,” he added. “He takes on an important high-risk role at the top of the order. He doesn’t just smack average bowling, he smacks the best.

“I don’t think [he needs] a brilliant Hundred. He just needs to get back to somewhere near how Jason Roy plays.

“It will come back again and it might be a good thing that it’s now as opposed to in Pakistan.”

KP Snacks, Official Team Partner of the Hundred, are touring the country this summer to offer more opportunities for people to play cricket as part of their ‘Everyone In’ campaign. Visit everyonein.co.uk/about

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