Cricket

Ex-Ireland Coach Phil Simmons Made Incendiary Claims About Eoin Morgan's Loyalty

Ex-Ireland Coach Phil Simmons Made Incendiary Claims About Eoin Morgan's Loyalty

An ex-Ireland cricketer and an ex-Ireland cricket coach met in the final of the T20 World Cup Final in India last night.

England suffered a traumatic collapse in the final over as West Indies batsman Carlos Braithwaite hit English bowler Ben Stokes for four successive sixes to take an improbable victory.

England captain, Dubliner Eoin Morgan, had the task of consoling his teammates and defending Stokes in the fallout.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons, who coached Ireland with great success between 2007 and 2015, was in the Windies pavilion celebrating with his team.

Tim Wigmore, the author of Second XI: Cricket in the Outposts, a book chronicling the growth and decline of cricket in the non-Test nations, wrote an article on the needle between the pair.

Morgan, an ambitious cricketer who had wanted to play test cricket for England from the age of 13, switched allegiance in 2009.

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In his final few matches for Ireland, he helped the team qualify for the 2011 World Cup in a qualifying tournament in South Africa. However, Ireland did unexpectedly lose one match in SA against Afghanistan. Morgan scored 20 runs from 41 balls.

Wigmore quotes an insider in the Irish camp as saying Morgan's body language implied that he no longer had much interest in playing for Ireland. He was merely using the country as a stepping stone.

The insider alleges that Simmons berated Morgan for not caring enough about playing for Ireland.

Simmons had had enough. In the dressing room "he gave Morgan a spray in front of the whole squad," one player recalls, berating him for not caring enough about representing the country of his birth.

Wigmore also wrote that Simmons had suspected Morgan's commitment to the Irish cause as soon as he took the job here. He turned down the opportunity to play an ODI against India, instead opting to nail down a place in Middlesex.

Morgan has largely been spared moralistic criticism for his decision to play for England within Ireland. George Hook did accuse Morgan and Rankin of 'abandoning their country' on a episode of the Slog Sweep.

The cricketing community (though Hook is, of course, a big fan), perhaps understanding the dilemmas ambitious cricketers from non-test nations face, have largely avoided criticising him directly.

Of course, if Ireland had test status, then Morgan mightn't have had to declare for another country to reach the summit.

Morgan has previously faced abuse from English commentators for his failure to sing 'God Save the Queen' before matches.

Read the Wigmore article here.

Read more: England Totally Collapse In An Astonishing Finale To The T20 Cricket World Cup Final

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