Eoin Morgan, England men's limited-overs captain, has confirmed his retirement from international cricket. He steps down as England's leading run-scorer and most-capped player in both white-ball formats, and the only man to lead the team to an ODI World Cup success.
Morgan said that he had come to the realisation during this month's trip to the Netherlands, where he batted twice without scoring any runs, after which he spoke with Rob Key, England men's managing director, and new white-ball coach, Matthew Mott.
"I engaged a lot with ex-players as to when they stopped and how it came about, and how the transition worked. And each person to a man said there's a time and a place where it hits you," Morgan told Sky Sports News. "Or the other common answer was, you know, you wake up and you know, and that moment came to me in Amsterdam.
"And I think it's a combination of a lot of things, that over the course of my international career, which is has been a long time, I've just come to the end. I'm glad I was in a sound enough space to understand that feeling and be well aware of what it meant. And also what it means, both for the England white-ball sides that I've led until now and me and my personal life.
"The day that it hit me it was quite a sad day, reaching the end of such a special journey. But in many ways since that day, I've been incredibly proud and content with the decision, and excited for English cricket going forward. There have been so many strong decisions made in a positive way for not only our group but the Test group over the last month and a half, the appointment of two new coaches and a new red-ball captain. And the way that both sides play is just incredible. So as I sit back now, as a fan, I'm incredibly excited."
Morgan's announcement had been expected after an extended period in which he had struggled with form and injuries. He will continue to play at domestic level, including captaining London Spirit in the Hundred later this summer, and will also join Sky Sports' commentary team for the upcoming white-ball series against India and South Africa.
After being appointed as Alastair Cook's successor in 2015, Morgan led England 126 times in ODIs and 72 times in T20I cricket. He guided the team to the final of the 2016 World T20, before overseeing 50-over World Cup success in 2019.
Morgan was initially capped by Ireland, before switching allegiance in 2009. As well as representing England 340 times in limited-overs internationals, Morgan played 16 Tests between 2010 and 2012, scoring two hundreds.
"After careful deliberation and consideration, I am here to announce my retirement from international cricket with immediate effect," Morgan said in an ECB release. "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.
"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.
"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."
Morgan is widely regarded as being the catalyst for England's white-ball revolution from 2015 onwards, as the team went from World Cup also-rans, knocked out in the group stage in Australia and New Zealand, to victors on home soil four years later, winning the trophy in the most dramatic of circumstances at Lord's.
A member of the 2010 World T20-winning team, he narrowly failed to repeat that success in India in 2016, as England were beaten in the final in Kolkata. He also took them to the semi-finals of the most recent T20 World Cup, staged in the UAE, but decided that leading them in another 20-over campaign in Australia later this year would be a bridge too far.
Asked on Sky if there was any sense that he was bowing out too soon, he replied: "No, not at all. Not one bit. Right from that day that it hit me like a … like I'm not sure what actually… but the day that I knew, I felt a true sense of ownership to make that decision my own.
"I've always been honest about where the team needs to go and the potential it has to try and achieve special things. And I was as honest as I could be. I spoke to Rob Key, I spoke to Matthew Mott, the coach, and they were very, very understanding."
Morgan also revealed that he had been in contact with Brendon McCullum, England's Test coach, with the pair having worked together previously at Kolkata Knight Riders. "Baz is one of my close mates and I spoke to him, but I've spoken to him about retirement for a long time, and particularly around the transition for him. Again, he said 'you will know'. It will be a feeling that comes and hits you. Just make sure you recognise it when it comes."
He said his intention would be to remove himself from the England set-up and "let the new captain find his feet". On the subject of his successor, he namechecked Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali as the "obvious candidates", but added: "There are some tremendous leaders as well within that group. Jonny Bairstow Jason Roy, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan. Guys [who] could definitely do the job."
Morgan said he would not rule out a move into coaching "further down the line". Looking back on his England career, he described the 2019 World Cup final as the "performance highlight", but said he took most pride in the journey that the team went on to get there.
"If you could take me back to one moment in my international career, to relive, I'd probably go back to when we first started in 2015 at the very beginning of the summer, the journey since then has been absolutely incredible.
"People talk a lot about performances and how proud you should be both as a player and as a captain, but actually the great people that I've built some of the best memories with, that will be with me for the rest of my life, i could definitely relive
Key, who played alongside Morgan on his England debut in 2009, described him as "the best leader I have seen" and a man responsible for changing the way cricket is played for generations to come.
"On behalf of the ECB and everyone involved in cricket, I'd like to thank Eoin Morgan for his outstanding contribution to the game," Key said.
"It will be wrong to think Eoin's legacy was just winning the World Cup in 2019; it is far greater than that. As with all great players and leaders, he has changed the way the game has been played, and he has changed the way an entire generation and generations to come will play this form of the game. His legacy within the game will be felt for many years to come.
"He is, without question, the best leader I have seen. I wish him well in the next chapter of his career."