World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan was always destined to make it to the top in cricket, according to his first coach at Rush Cricket Club in Ireland.
Morgan’s men wrote their names into the history books at Lord’s on Sunday, winning their first World Cup title in a final that will go down as one of the most dramatic ever produced in team sport.
The scenes in London were a long way from where the 32-year-old began playing the sport in Rush, close to his Dublin home. His father was captain at the Rush Cricket Club.
Although small in stature at a young age, Morgan always played ahead of his age group and captained the Rush side which won the Under-11 Leinster Cup.
Matt Sheridan was his coach back then and he told Sky News: “From an early age we could see some talent to nurture.
“He played here from being a baby, I remember him dragging his bat through the car park and into the nets and the bat was as tall as Eoin was.
“His parents knew where he was when he wasn’t at home. He was at Rush Cricket Club. He played under-age cricket until 11 years of age but at seven, eight and nine we could see he was an outstanding talent.
“I suppose he was no different from any other 10 or 11-year-old, but we knew he was a serious competitor. He loved the sport, he intended to be a professional and an international cricketer at an early age.
“It was probably too soon to see personality traits but we knew he was a winner. So we are not surprised and we’re very proud at how he has progressed.”
Former England batting coach and player Mark Ramprakash was full of praise for Morgan following the World Cup success.
Ben Stokes stole the headlines with his heroics towards the end of the match and during the super over but Ramprakash thinks Morgan’s work since the last World Cup should be recognised.
“Eoin’s calm leadership and clarity of thought over the last four years and during this tournament have been crucial,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“What a captain he has been, and the group as a whole really deserve it. There has been a lot said about Eoin and of course he was at the previous World Cup in 2015 (where England went out at the group stage) and learned a lot from that.
“And really it was (former England and Wales Cricket Board director of cricket) Andrew Strauss who got together with Eoin Morgan and had this vision which they built over four years.
“They have talent right through the squad. You look at the players who aren’t in the team who are very, very good, so that shows you the strength of the squad.”
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen also gave credit to Strauss for revamping the national team in white-ball cricket.
He tweeted: “Final World Cup tweet. Please remember that Strauss had a huge influence over this team’s win yesterday. Him and Eoin paved the way to play this aggressive brand and also back the players in failure.
“They talked the talk & walked the walk! Glory be to cricket in the UK!”
England focused on white-ball cricket after their failure in 2015 and former England assistant coach Paul Farbrace believes the team have gone full circle. It was a chastening defeat to New Zealand which set in train the change in philosophy that culminated in Sunday’s success.
“This plan started against New Zealand in the series in 2015 after the previous World Cup,” Farbrace told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“The way they played the game and the enjoyment and smiles on their faces…..it was quite nice that it started with New Zealand and finished with England having the trophy, beating New Zealand.”
The epic clash was shown on Channel 4, as well as regular broadcaster Sky, and it has reopened the debate about the merits of free-to-air sport, but Ashley Giles, the ECB’s director of men’s cricket, wants Sky’s role to be acknowledged.
Speaking on Radio 4, he said: “First of all, we have got cricket back on terrestrial next year – our new competition, The Hundred. It’s going to be magnificent and the BBC are showing that.
“But make no mistake, the investment Sky has put into the game has helped us get to the point where we were at yesterday.”
Asked if England would not have been able to win the World Cup without Sky’s financial backing, Giles said: “Quite possibly, yes. The investment in the game from grassroots to professional has allowed us to do what we’ve done.
“Sky took the game on and have been fantastic supporters since. Thank you to them for allowing it on Channel 4.”