The year was 2015 and England had just been knocked out of the ICC World Cup in Australia-New Zealand in the first round itself, thanks to a humiliating defeat at the hands of Bangladesh.
In a precursor, Sri Lanka had routed England 2-5 in the 7-match ODI series in 2014 at home and it probably gave England a preview of what was going to happen in the World Cup. The aftermath of 2015 World Cup saw ECB taking some hard look at the white ball cricket that they had been ignoring for so long and under the captaincy of Eoin Morgan, started rebuilding from scratch.
"I come back with a totally different outlook,” said Morgan. “(In 2014), we were still in transition in trying to play a style that didn’t come natural to us. We struggled to take wickets, we struggled to get Kumar Sangakkara out, and Mahela (Jayawardene) played really well. They were the foundation of the Sri Lanka team. So it was teams at two very different stages of their cycle.”
Morgan levied huge praise on Andrew Strauss who recently resigned from the post of director of ECB.
"He's been at the forefront of (the team’s resurgence)," said Morgan. "He was incredibly instrumental in our forward thinking and planning to get to the position we are in at the moment. Going back to the start of the summer of 2015, the direction given by him to myself and Paul Farbrace, who was interim coach at the time, and all the selectors was to build something to prepare for the 2019 World Cup.”
"Without that direction, we wouldn't haven't been allowed the freedom to play in that manner, because we could plan four years ahead. The absolute clarity and direction he wanted us to go in was quite a big deal. He will be missed because we're coming towards the end of the cycle that he was at the very beginning of," said Morgan.
Talking about the teams' rise, Morgan said it was "well thought out, well planned and, to an extent, well executed.”
"I still think we have a long way to go. It’s taken us three-and-a-half years to get to where we are now. But I think we’re getting to the most important part of what we’ve been planning towards,” he added.