Eng­land on no­tice

Cap­tain wants his team to make a state­ment as One-Day se­ries be­gins

Sport360 - - News - By Rory Dol­lard @thervd ed­i­to­rial@sport360.com

Cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan has put Eng­land’s one-day side on World Cup alert, with a year to es­tab­lish them­selves as the team to beat in 2019.

Next sum­mer’s tour­na­ment on home soil pre­sents a golden op­por­tu­nity for Eng­land to se­cure their first ma­jor 50-over global suc­cess, but they go into to­day’s se­ries opener against Aus­tralia in Mel­bourne ranked fourth in the for­mat.

That places them be­hind their hosts, as well as sec­ond-placed In­dia and mar­ket lead­ers South Africa, and proves there is a dis­tance yet to go if Mor­gan’s squad are to end a pur­suit that be­gan 43 years and 11 edi­tions ago.

Aus­tralia have en­dured no such tor­ment, land­ing the ti­tle on five oc­ca­sions, and will ar­rive next May as de­fend­ing champions fol­low­ing their 2015 tri­umph.

As such, the next month pro­vides a per­fect test for a tour­ing side with de­signs on the sil­ver­ware — some­thing Mor­gan makes no se­cret of.

“This time next year we need to be in a good enough space to be con­tenders for the World Cup,” said the Dubliner on the eve of the five­match se­ries.

“To be in that space you need to be set­ting or buck­ing trends or be­ing able to adapt. We are very open­minded with the way we are go­ing. The best way to ad­dress it is to be on the front foot.

“We are go­ing in with the mantra that we al­ways need to be on top of our game and test­ing the op­po­si­tion the whole time.

“Aus­tralia present dif­fer­ent chal­lenges and hope­fully we can adapt.”

One thing they do have in their favour is a rel­a­tively set­tled unit.

Ben Stokes is the ex­cep­tion, of course. The Durham all-rounder is an in­te­gral fig­ure in all three dis­ci­plines but re­mains un­avail­able for se­lec­tion.

That aside, they have a bat­ting group which has been to­gether con­sis­tently for the past cou­ple of years and which shares an ag­gres­sive, proac­tive com­mit­ment to the for­mat and a bowl­ing at­tack boast­ing en­vi­able vari­a­tions.

While Eng­land’s ill-fated Ashes cam­paign suf­fered from a sur­feit of fast-medium right-arm seam­ers, Mor­gan can call on the qual­ity wrist spin of Adil Rashid, the ex­plo­sive pace of Mark Wood and the ex­tra bounce af­forded by Liam Plun­kett. He even has the lux­ury of a lef­t­armer, David Wil­ley, among the re­serves and is en­thused about the make-up of his at­tack.

“It is great to see Woody back (from in­jury). When he has played he’s been bril­liant, and Pud­sey (Plun­kett) has had a rea­son­able amount of time off so he’s quite fresh,” he said.

“You need an im­pact bowler and hope­fully through­out the se­ries they can pro­duce im­pact spells.”

“We need to be in a good enough space to be con­tenders” - Eoin Mor­gan

World Cup fo­cus: Eng­land cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan on his way to 81 in a warm up game against a Cricket Aus­tralia XI at Drum­moyne Oval in Syd­ney on Jan­uary 11.

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