Morgan sees India T20 series chance to prepare for WC - GulfToday

Morgan sees India T20 series chance to prepare for WC


Eoin Morgan during a practice session ahead of first T20I against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera on Friday.

England Twenty20 skipper Eoin Morgan said on Thursday the upcoming series against India was an “extremely exciting” challenge that would help the team prepare for the World Cup later this year.

The five-match series starts in Ahmedabad on Friday and would be the only opportunity for a full-strength England squad to play together before the World Cup in India in October-November due to scheduling demands, Morgan said.

England -- the top-ranked T20 side -- are coming off the back of a woeful Test series that saw the team crumble to a 3-1 defeat after winning the first game.

But the T20 squad will include in-form top-order batsman Dawid Malan, the Curran brothers and Jason Roy, who were not part of the series loss.

Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali, who both left the Test tour partway through the series in line with the England and Wales Cricket Board’s rotation policy, are also back for the T20 series.

Morgan was hopeful the series would allow the squad to “learn a huge amount from this tour and then have time to improve”.

“Certainly with one eye on the World Cup in seven months time, it is an opportunity to try and replicate teams and roles within the side that we might need to iron out before we get to the World Cup.”

The T20 Indian Premier League, which will begin in India on April 9, would play a big role in helping the England players prepare for the tournament, he added.

“Certainly the first few times I went to the IPL, I’ve never gone through an experience like it. And I’ve learned a huge amount over the years that I’ve been there,” Morgan said.

“So the value in it given the year that it’s in is brilliant, particularly now that we know it’s being held in India.”

The 34-year-old said India -- the number two-ranked T20 team -- would be favourites to win the World Cup and the challenge of playing them in their backyard “is extremely exciting and everybody’s looking forward to it”.

He added that Alex Hales, who shone for Sydney Thunder in the recent Big Bash T20 league but was left out of the squad, could get the opportunity to be around the team as COVID-19 regulations are eased throughout the summer.

Indian captain Virat Kohli told reporters earlier Thursday that England were the “team to beat”.

NO BERTH FOR ASHWIN IN T20 SQUAD: Ravichandran Ashwin’s dream to play in the Twenty20 World Cup at home later this year could remain just that after skipper Virat Kohli said on Thursday there was no spot for the record-breaking spinner in the Indian squad.

Ashwin, who last played for India in the shortest format in 2017, has been in top form, spinning India to a 3-1 triumph in the recent Test series against England.

He hit a century in India’s second Test victory at Chennai and took his 400th Test wicket in the third Ahmedabad Test, the fastest to the mark by any Indian bowler in terms of matches.

Only three other Indian bowlers have taken more wickets than Ashwin in Test cricket, all of whom have retired.

The 34-year-old off-spinner had also taken 13 wickets from 15 games in last year’s Indian Premier League, dismissing the likes of Kohli and Chris Gayle.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a five-match T20 series against England beginning Friday, Kohli said Ashwin could not be accommodated in the squad because Washington Sundar had already been performing well for the team in the same role.

“Washington has been doing really well for us. You can’t have two players of same discipline playing in one spot, unless Washington has a drastically horrible season and things go south for him.

“You suggest where you would add Ashwin and play him in the team when someone like Washington does that job for the team.”

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