England's World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan would have currently been in India for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. The left-handed batsman said he is looking forward to being a part of Kolkata Knight Riders once again and work with the likes of Dinesh Karthik and Brendon McCullum.
"I was extremely excited, particularly going back to Kolkata. I had three seasons there that I thoroughly enjoyed before," Morgan told the KKR website.
"They're one of the best run teams, everything from the owners right down to the young players. I like the planning, and when you look at the IPL as a whole since the very beginning, they are one of three teams that has had the most success and it's easy to see why they have.
"The level of consistency that they show and I suppose the belief in retaining that group of core players... Probably, the other two teams are Mumbai and Chennai you know. They really do back the players, and they have done so from the very beginning. If they believe that the guy has the right values or leadership skills to take the team forward, they stick with them."
Morgan was part of the Kolkata-based franchise when they won the title for the first time in 2012 under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir. He didn't get to play a single game that season but Morgan still cherishes all the memories.
"2012 was a pretty chaotic season, and being in a squad where you win it (the IPL) for the first time, you see the reaction when we returned to the city (Kolkata). I literally returned for a couple of hours and then flew out but people aligned the streets. I remember Eden Gardens being full, all the pictures of the boys going around and doing lap of honour... Just to see the pure joy on peoples' faces about how proud they were to support a team was amazing."
England won their maiden 50-over World Cup under his inspirational leadership and Morgan wants to pick the brains of KKR captain Karthik, and also help him if/when needed.
"I've spoken to DK a lot and I met up with him just before Christmas when I was out in Mumbai. He's a fantastic guy, a great cricketer and I'm looking forward to helping him in whatever way I can. While I'm here to help, I also want to learn as much as I can from him," said Morgan.
"There are a lot of dynamics about being a captain when you're playing in India that I don't know about, I'll be picking his brain the whole time. I'll naturally be myself and try to give as much as I can just like the rest of the international players. But it's going to be fascinating to see how and when we get to play and how the competition lines up. Because everybody is going to come out of isolation extremely excited, rearing to go, batting, bowling, fielding the whole lot."
Morgan's friendship with KKR head coach McCullum is well documented and the England skipper doesn't shy away from accepting that the former New Zealand captain was a source of inspiration for him as he led a change in the team's approach to ODI cricket following the 2015 World Cup debacle.
"I'm very lucky to be able to call him one of my good mates. Over the years, we've gotten to know each other really well. Actually our relationship first blossomed at Kolkata, where the two of us played together," he said.
"I think his contribution not only to New Zealand cricket but to world cricket really took the front in 2015 with their campaign - throughout the 2015 World Cup. They really did, I suppose, transform the fate of a nation and the hope of a nation in the way that they played. They played aggressive, positive cricket but also in a way that wasn't in your face the whole time.
"It was really good to watch, it created a huge amount of attraction and I think majority of the time actually the way that they play and the manner that they play overlooks the skill level that they produce. And I think Baz is the reason for that turn around. I think he has had a huge input in the way they've played and in all formats as well not just white ball."