Eoin Morgan leads England’s World Cup heroes on home soil for the first time since lifting the trophy acclaiming Test wonders Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson as “the greatest that’s ever been”.
Broad became only the seventh bowler in history to reach 500 Test wickets with match figures of 10-67 against the West Indies in winning the Wisden Trophy on Tuesday.
England hope the 34-year-old’s partnership with Anderson (589 wickets and rising) will last until the 2021-22 Ashes in Australia and beyond.
But World Cup-winning skipper Morgan says they are already assured of places among cricket’s all-time greats.
He said: “It’s incredible. We watched most of it on Tuesday and any achievements that hold that unbelievable weight and magnitude are amazing.
“In many ways Broady and Jimmy are always paired together, but when you speak about them on their own they are the greatest that has ever been.
“That doesn’t hold a lot of weight at the moment, but I’m sure it will hold a lot more when they finish playing, which is sad, but it’s just the way everybody operates.
“I’m lucky to have played Test cricket with Stuart. I played in a game where he took a hat-trick at Trent Bridge [against India in 2011] and it was unbelievable.
“To show the longevity and the skill is one thing but not only that, he’s box office. He takes wickets in clusters, he’s a nightmare to play against.”
Anderson, 38 on Thursday, and Broad have 315 one-day caps between them although have been out of the picture in England’s white-ball side for more than four years.
Broad’s last ODI was against South Africa in early 2016 but it is conceivable his Test career was extended by being recast as a Test match specialist.
Morgan, 33, said: “It’s definitely prolonged the way I see my career going. Having cut red-ball cricket out has allowed me to focus primarily on one thing.
“It’s less clustered and you can spend more time with your family. Cricket isn’t
as overwhelming as it potentially could be towards the end of your career.
“Both of them have spoken about the Ashes (in 2021-22) and when you get to that stage, you earmark things which make you want to play on.
“Everybody who plays Test cricket for England is judged, I suppose, on Ashes series performances – and those guys being who they are, it wouldn’t surprise me if they wanted to continue past that.”
Thursday’s opening Royal London ODI against Ireland at the Ageas Bowl, the first stage on the road to qualification for the 2023 World Cup, is not quite the homecoming Morgan’s conquering heroes deserved after their champagne super-over triumph at Lord’s a year ago.
There will be no fans and England will rest Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Joe Root.
But Morgan is glad to be on parade again and said: “In the context of everything that’s gone on over the last five months or so, we’re extremely happy to be playing.
“Things are moving quite quickly outside of the bubble, Middlesex and Surrey over the weekend had spectators, so potentially down the line that might progress.
“But given the serious nature of the virus, we’re just delighted both to be back playing and to have cricket back on TV.”
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