LONDON, (Reuters) – Alastair Cook has been dropped from the England squad for next year’s 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with Eoin Morgan taking over as captain, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed on Saturday.
Opener Cook, who has been woefully out of form with the bat but will remain as test captain, had widely been expected to lose the one-day captaincy but would have had hopes of retaining his place in the squad, which will be named later on Saturday.
“We spent a considerable time yesterday discussing the makeup of a squad that gives England the best possible chance of success at the World Cup which begins in less than two months,” selector James Whitaker said in a news release.
“Having reviewed the recent series against Sri Lanka we came to the conclusion that there was no place for Alastair Cook amongst our strongest 15 one-day players and therefore recommended Eoin Morgan be appointed one-day captain.”
Cook was at the helm when England lost 5-2 in Sri Lanka in this month’s one-day series.
The 29-year-old Essex batsman has toiled all year in the 50-over format, hitting 523 runs in 20 matches at a mediocre average of 27.52.
“I am gutted to be left out of the World Cup squad and it is likely to take me a while to get over the disappointment,” Cook was quoted as saying.
“That said I wish … the lads all the best for the World Cup. I would also like to thank all the players and fans who have supported me during my time as one-day captain.”
Swashbuckling middle-order batsman Morgan has fared even worse with the bat in 2014, averaging 25.45.
But the 28-year-old Middlesex left-hander has an impressive record in the eight one-day matches in which he has captained England, piling up 427 runs at an average of 71.16.
“It is a huge honour to captain England and I am delighted to be leading the one-day side,” he said.
“I firmly believe that with the players currently involved in the one-day set up we have the makings of a very good one-day side, a young side that can surprise people at the World Cup.”
England will warm up for the World Cup by playing in a Tri-Series competition in Australia next month that also features India.
The World Cup starts on Feb. 14 and Morgan’s men have been drawn in Pool A along with Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Scotland.