The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) received the bizarre cash demand from a man who threatened to expose details of a relationship one-day skipper Morgan had with an Australian woman five years ago.

The ECB reported the extortion attempt to the Metropolitan police, who took only 24 hours to track down Hobart-based workplace safety consultant Nick Emery, who has since apologised.

Emery had claimed have “sexually based” text messages and videos involving his fiancée, Brooke Tsakirakis, 36, who works on the front desk of a Hobart gym, and 28-year-old Morgan. Emery had demanded that the money be paid before play started in yesterday’s Tri-Series match between England the Aussies in Hobart.

But the plot backfired as he was promptly chucked by a shocked Ms Tsakirakis, who told the Herald Sun: “My life is ruined because of a relationship I had five years ago. He’s the one who tried to extort money, not me. I’m gutted.”

She told the Hobart Mercury that Emery had obtained the messages illegally, and denied any obscene content. “Some of it may have been romantic or sexually explicit, but it was nothing more than what any two people who are consenting adults independent of anybody else may say to each other when they fancy each other,” she said.

Morgan was out for an embarrassing golden duck as England suffered their second tournament defeat against Australia – losing a thriller by three wickets after failing to defend a score of 303. Afterwards he denied the blackmail plot had affected his performance.

“It hasn’t been distracting at all,” said Morgan, who has been dating Australian law student Tara Ridgeway for the last three years. “I spoke with the ECB on Saturday and I was very happy for them to deal with it and they just told me to focus on the cricket.”

The Daily Telegraph reported that Emery had met ECB officials. “I was in a very angry and bad head space,” they quoted him as saying. “Everything is sorted now. They were very understanding. We came to an agreement.”

Meanwhile England’s cricketers badly need to find some form before they meet Australia again at the start of the World Cup next month. What better time to score some runs and bowl a maiden over…