England head coach Matthew Mott has rejected former captain Eoin Morgan’s suggestion that his team are “unsettled” behind the the scenes despite watching yet another heavy World Cup defeat.
Mott worked with Morgan when he took over the white-ball side 18 months ago, but the Irishman headed into retirement soon after, passing the baton to Jos Buttler.
As the man who led England’s World Cup triumph in 2019, Morgan’s word still carries plenty of weight and he has made some eye-catching observations about his old team-mates.
Speaking to Sky Sports prior to England’s 100-run loss to India in Lucknow, their fifth loss in six games of an abject title defence, he said the side were “definitely unsettled” and responded to the idea they were simply off form by saying “there’s something else going on, there has to be”.
Having then watched England’s latest collapse against the hosts, which kept them rooted to the foot of the table, Morgan said he would have laughed in the face of anyone who had predicted such a plight at the start of the tournament.
Responding to those comments after the latest setback, Mott said: “Eoin’s entitled to his opinion. He’s obviously been away (from India) for a couple of weeks with the birth of his child and he hasn’t been in and around the rooms.
“But I’ll certainly take that up with him and have a chat to him. We’ve got a really good relationship with him so if he’s seeing something I’m not I’ll definitely have that conversation.
“I don’t think that (is the case) at all. Anyone inside our tent at the moment would say, despite our results, we’re an incredibly tight-knit unit.
“There’s every opportunity when you’re losing to splinter and go other ways but I can only say from my opinion that the group has been incredibly strong.
“You see our training sessions and they are full of fun, people are putting their arms around each other trying to help them. It’s easy to do that when you’re winning but a lot harder when you’re losing and I’m proud we just keep trying to get up.”
Chris Woakes also stood up for the unity of the squad, telling Sky: “I can firmly say there is nothing wrong with the dressing room.”
Rohit Sharma's sublime 87 on a tricky pitch guided India to their sixth-successive #CWC23 win 🙌
— ICC Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) October 29, 2023
Regardless of morale, there is no disguising just how badly things have gone for an England side who arrived as close second favourites and have since put together their worst ever run of form in a chequered history at the World Cup.
Things have got so bad that they have played their way into potentially missing out on a place at the next major 50-over global competition.
It has come to light that places at the 2025 Champions Trophy will be allocated based on performances in this competition, with hosts Pakistan joined by the seven highest finishers.
With three matches to go England sit in 10th spot, behind both the Netherlands and Bangladesh.
Remarkably, Mott admitted he was not aware the qualification process had moved away from its previous link to world rankings until media reports which landed midway through the India defeat.
The decision was ratified by the ICC board in November 2021, when the England and Wales Cricket Board was being led by previous chief executive Tom Harrison, but the information appears to have been waylaid in transition.
Asked in his post-match press conference when he learned about the potential Champions Trophy issue, Mott said: “About an hour-and-a-half ago.
“The ICC do change the rules quite a bit with qualification but to be honest I don’t think it would affect in any way the way we’ve played in this tournament, so it’s not a big deal.
“It’s plenty of motivation for us to pick ourselves back up off the canvas and keep trying to throw punches. It gives us a lot of focus that we need to make sure we can’t just ‘turn up’. We’ve got to win these games.”