England captain Eoin Morgan paid tribute to former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum ahead of his side’s World Cup final against the Black Caps at Lord’s on Sunday.
Four years ago, a New Zealand side led by McCullum shot out England for just 123 in a World Cup group match and then overhauled that total in a mere 12.2 overs, leaving Morgan feeling as ‘close to rock bottom as I’ve been’.
New Zealand went on to finish runners-up to co-hosts Australia while England crashed out in the group stage.
McCullum has since retired from international duty and now Morgan finds himself leading England against New Zealand in the World Cup final.
Morgan has long acknowledged England’s debt to New Zealand for their one-day international revival and, speaking to reporters at Lord’s on Saturday, he had warm words for McCullum.
‘We are close mates and he’s taught me a lot about leadership,’ he said.
‘I think in 2015 the way that New Zealand played, they proved to everybody that you can perform at the highest level and get to the top by being yourselves and not trying to be somebody else, or a different team.’
England, like New Zealand, have never won the World Cup, with the last of their three losing appearances in the final back in 1992.
‘It means a huge amount to me and to everybody in the changing room,’ said Morgan when asked about the magnitude of Sunday’s match.
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