Eoin Morgan is poised to step down as captain of England’s Twenty20 and one-day international sides in the coming days, and retire from the international game, with Jos Buttler and Mooen Ali the two favourites to replace him at the helm.
An announcement about Morgan’s international future could take place as early as Tuesday. England’s thoughts will then turn to appointing a successor, with Buttler – who deputised for Morgan in the final ODI in Holland last week – and Mooen the two outstanding candidates.
Were Buttler to be appointed, it would render a Test recall for him significantly less likely, with two World Cups – one each in the ODI and T20 formats – in the next 16 months.
Morgan, who turns 36 in September, led England to the 2019 World Cup win and has been a transformative figure in England cricketing history. But he has not scored a half-century in any format of the game since July 1 last year, and registered consecutive ducks in his only two innings on England’s recent ODI tour of Holland.
He then missed the third match of the series with a groin issue.
Morgan was appointed captain in 2014, and oversaw a radical change in England’s approach after the 2015 World Cup, liberating players to play far more aggressively. But he has repeatedly said that he does not want to play on if he is no longer worth selection as a batsman.
“If I don’t think I am good enough or I don’t feel I am contributing to the team, then I will finish,” he said before the series with Holland. In 28 innings since July 1 last year, Morgan has mustered just 373 runs at 17 apiece.
After 13 years of international cricket with England, and another three for his native Ireland before that, Morgan’s fitness has become another concern in recent months. He was injured playing back-to-back Twenty20 games for England in the Caribbean in January, and no longer plays back-to-back games for Middlesex. “It takes longer to recover,” Morgan said last month. "I'm just old, I think.”
The next Twenty20 World Cup is in Australia in October, which many had predicted to be Morgan’s final tournament with England. But with worries about his form growing, Morgan could announce his departure imminently, allowing England to use the limited-overs series with India and South Africa this month to develop the team without him.