Eoin Morgan ready to experiment in preparation for T20 World Cup
Eoin Morgan returns to captain England at Trent Bridge on Friday in the first of three Twenty20 matches against Pakistan and views the series as the “last chance” to test out fringe players and combinations for the World Cup this year.
England’s white-ball captain was among those forced to isolate last week because of a Covid-19 outbreak and marvelled at the reserve team’s 3-0 win in the one-day internationals, with Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson and Lewis Gregory reward by their subsequent retention here.
For Morgan, the second-string’s aggressive approach was “the biggest compliment” they could pay to the first-teamers who won the 50-over World Cup in 2019 and a demonstration of how far English cricket has come since they tanked in the 2015 edition.
“Guys recognise that opportunities are few and far between,” he said. “But when they do come in, the method the team plays is starting to resonate with people around the country, which is great.”
Next up is the bid to unite the trophy with its Twenty20 equivalent in the United Arab Emirates and though nine of the previously isolated players are now back, England intend to use this series to experiment. “Knowing what is ahead, we need to look a little bit more into strength in depth,” said the captain. “You’ll see us giving opportunities and going through various little options in the next three games for possible injury replacements for certain players.
“The priority will be to give guys opportunities and we’ll be treating it as though it is our last chance to look at guys in various positions.”
Morgan confirmed Ben Stokes, his replacement as captain last week, has reported further problems with the finger injury he has been managing and will focus on the India Test series in August, with Sam Curran and Chris Woakes also working towards it.
Pakistan, ranked fourth in the world to England’s first, welcome back the veteran batsman Mohammad Hafeez and also Imad Wasim, the spin-bowling all-rounder who lives local to Trent Bridge and was a vital cog in Nottinghamshire’s T20 Blast success last year.
Elsewhere, Haseeb Hameed has been named in the County Select XI that will face India in a three-day match in Durham from Tuesday. The Nottinghamshire opener, who briefly shone as a teenager during the 2016 tour of India but lost his way thereafter, is joined by the recent Test wicketkeeper James Bracey.