England in Sri Lanka – 21st October 2018

Eoin Morgan walked to the Media Centre in Armageddonesque rain following the abandonment of the fourth ODI – and the clinching of the series – and gave live interviews to radio rights-holders, TalkSport, and also to the BBC. Then he headed out again, back into the rain, for the changing rooms at the other side of the ground.

Sure, he had a couple of minders and umbrella holders, but that was irrelevant. By the letter of the contract he is bound by, he could have waited for the media to come to him. He has been around long enough to understand the logistical snags of reporters and radio men carrying their kit through that sort of torrential rain, so he chose one soggy man with no equipment over 20 soggy men with plenty to lose. But wait – there’s more.

Having exited the building and braved the driving rain, Morgan and his ECB crew were caught by a frantically chasing man asking whether he might return for another interview – they didn’t know he was coming over and had missed him. Would he mind returning? Of course he didn’t. So back he came, still smiling and still genuine. Still holding the quaint trophy for the series win.

That’s his job. He was only doing his job. But many a captain, most probably, would have waited for the job to come to him. Instead he took the job to us. “Mind if a grab a snapshot for my diary, Eoin?” I asked in jest. “Sure, mate, absolutely,” he grinned.

He is a man of rare focus – always has been. When his team mates were focussed on county contracts and not rocking the boat or upsetting the hierarchy, he saw the future before any other Englishman. Or Irishman. When people accused him of being ‘money-grabbing’ by accepting an IPL contract, he had a long-term view, and it involved the England team, not just him. Andres Strauss enabled others to follow and the results have been…obvious.

The day began, and continued well into the afternoon, in perfect cricket conditions. But the forecast was always for rain and the picture was a familiar one soon after the deluge arrived. Excuse the quality of the image, but the ground staff you see in their ‘starting blocks’ with covers in hand stood like that for 20 minutes before the first drops of rain fell and the umpires waived them on. The entire playing surface was covered within 15 minutes. A remarkable logistical exercise.

As (sceptically) tempting as it may be to place an asterisk beside this victory, with two D/L wins in a rain-infested series, England have been utterly dominant. It tennis terms, they have been 5-0 and 4-0 up in the final set before their opponent withdrew injured.

On we go to Colombo for the fifth and final game on Tuesday. Sam Curran, Mark Wood, Liam Plunkett, Joe Denly… bloody hell. These blokes need a game. Maybe the ECB could request another one.

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