Chance for fringe players to push their case: Morgan

·4-min read

Pune, Mar 22 (PTI) England captain Eoin Morgan on Monday said the upcoming three-match ODI series against India would be an opportunity for the fringe players to push their case for the T20 World Cup as 50-over format also throws up situations similar to T20 cricket.

England have already lost the Test and T20Is series and the Eoin Morgan-led team, who are the reigning world champions in the ODIs, would be desperate to stamp their authority in the format and sign off with some pride.

'Given the T20 World Cup round the corner, playing any international cricket is a huge opportunity for guys who have been on the fringes and not made selection so far,' the World Cup-winning skipper said on the eve of their ODI series opener here.

'When you score runs, and take wickets away from home. There's always a huge incentive to try and push your case forward.' Morgan said it will be exciting to 'play three games at the same ground against a very, very strong Indian side.' 'It is a huge opportunity for everybody to get back into the frame of mind to deal with fifty-over cricket. But also it will be an opportunity for the guys who haven't had opportunities to really push their case forward,' he said.

The England skipper feels 50-over cricket is very close to the T20I format in throwing familiar scenarios.

'There are pockets of the game that replicate T20 cricket, and given that there's very limited change between both squads. Given the two squads are very similar, we see set skill sets as very valuable,' he said.

'I think they're trying to envisage where fifty overs cricket will be in three years' time. It is going to be quite difficult. The challenge for us is always trying to explore and push the limits as much as we can, given the conditions.' England suffered a 1-3 loss in the four-Test series before losing the five-match T20 series 2-3 on Saturday.

'I think conditions that are a little bit alien to us naturally, like India, it's always nice to get out of your comfort zone and learn more about your team and your play and to try and make mistakes and learn,' Morgan said.

'Even though we didn't pick up the (T20I series) trophy we learnt a huge amount. It's been an extremely productive tour so far. I think the bigger picture will be World Cup,' he said.

'You don't always have to win every series in order to win a World Cup, you continuously need to get better, you need to be tested as a side, you need to fail in order to learn, which isn't fun but it's part of the journey.' Morgan also hinted that star-allrounder Moeen Ali may be back in action after being ignored for the T20I series.

'I know he's not played but that's been circumstantial. The pitches that we've played on just have not turned, and that obviously limits the amount of a finger spinner's contribution to the game.

'.. Anybody who's an all-rounder within the side and makes our squad is extremely valuable to our side.' England, however, are yet to rest Ben Stokes, who would also play the IPL after the limited overs series.

'Given that we play three games in five days, and then Ben stayed on for the IPL, it would have just meant that he was staying in his room in Pune. Ben was very keen to play so it was not considered,' Morgan said.

'We've looked at various periods of rests for Ben. There could be a possibility when we get home during this summer. It's dependent on circumstances regarding bio-secure bubble and how often he sees his family.' Talking about England Test skipper Joe Root, who has been rested for the ODI series, Morgan said: 'We're spoilt for choice in batters who certainly want a bat at the top-four. Obviously, losing Root is a massive hole, for a guy who scores at a run-a-ball and averages fifty.

'He's an exceptional player and we'll miss him.' In the fifth T20, England opener Jos Buttler had an exchange of words with India skipper Virat Kohli.

Asked if the relation between the two teams is 'frosty', Morgan said: 'There's a huge amount of respect between both sides. When games are very close and there's a lot on the line, there is a tendency for emotions, potentially to boil over which can be expected.

'But that's the nature of what we do. Both sides are going extremely hard at each other in trying to achieve a win or get the best out of themselves.' PTI TAP ATK ATK