Cap­tain Mor­gan ac­claims Eng­land strength in depth

Cap­tain says World Cup win has brought huge con­fi­dence Ex­pe­ri­enced fringe play­ers to have chance in Ire­land ODIs

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Tim Wigmore

Eoin Mor­gan be­lieves that Eng­land’s one-day depth is bet­ter than ever as their 2023 World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion cam­paign be­gins with a three-match se­ries against Ire­land. “There is such a big pool of play­ers who are un­be­liev­ably tal­ented,” Mor­gan (right) said ahead of the world cham­pi­ons’ first ODI at the Ageas Bowl to­day.

Eoin Mor­gan be­lieves that Eng­land’s one-day depth is bet­ter than ever as their 2023 World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion cam­paign be­gins with a three-match se­ries against Ire­land.

“There is such a big pool of play­ers who are un­be­liev­ably tal­ented,” Mor­gan said ahead of Eng­land’s first one-day in­ter­na­tional against Ire­land at the Ageas Bowl.

“Yes, we don’t know whether they will suc­ceed in in­ter­na­tional cricket, but you are com­fort­able se­lect­ing them in the squad for if you need them at any stage.”

Eng­land’s 14-man squad to play Ire­land in­cludes eight of their

World Cup-win­ning squad, though Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood are all miss­ing due to their in­volve­ment in the Test squad. Their ab­sences mean fringe play­ers, in­clud­ing ex­cit­ing bats­man Tom Ban­ton and fast bowler Saqib Mah­mood, are in­volved. Eng­land’s bat­ting depth is such that Phil Salt, who blitzed a 58-ball cen­tury against Ire­land for Eng­land Lions on Sun­day, was omit­ted.

“Se­lec­tion was par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult,” Mor­gan said. “The stan­dard and skill level that has been pro­duced since we have come to­gether has been ex­cep­tional. It’s been way above the stan­dard that I ex­pected given the time we had off.”

Eng­land will be en­cour­aged to play in the same buc­ca­neer­ing style that has been used since the 2015 World Cup. Mor­gan is tar­get­ing more tro­phies as Eng­land’s thoughts turn to the next two T20 World Cups – in 2021 and 2022 – and the ODI World Cup in 2023.

“We want to win more tro­phies,” Mor­gan said. “We are at the start of a new jour­ney with new play­ers, try­ing to im­ple­ment very sim­i­lar plans.

“There is a very small amount of frame­work by the way we op­er­ate our bat­ting and a lot is just try­ing to ap­ply pres­sure on the op­po­si­tion the whole time.

“Our bat­ters do that re­gard­less of

the num­ber that is be­side where they bat.”

Mor­gan be­lieves Eng­land’s sta­tus as World Cup hold­ers has brought a new con­fi­dence, say­ing: “Win­ning last year has given our guys a huge amount of con­fi­dence in the process, strat­egy and plan­ning which we went through over a four-year pe­riod. It al­lows us to go into ev­ery

World Cup with that strat­egy and for­ward-think­ing.”

The matches will be Eng­land’s first on home soil as world cham­pi­ons and form the start of the qual­i­fi­ca­tion cam­paign for the 2023 World Cup. The 13 teams in the ODI Su­per League will each play eight se­ries of three matches. The top seven – along with In­dia, who au­to­mat­i­cally qual­ify as hosts – will go through, with the other sides en­ter­ing a qual­i­fi­ca­tion pe­riod to reach the 10-team event.

“Given the con­text of every­thing that’s gone on over the past five months or so, we are ex­tremely happy to be play­ing,” Mor­gan said. “We’re just de­lighted both to be back play­ing but also to have cricket back on TV.”

Mor­gan ad­mit­ted that the lack of a crowd might be more pro­nounced than in Test cricket. “I think there will be dif­fer­ent chal­lenges. Field­ing will be one – main­tain­ing that stan­dard. Yes, you are play­ing in an in­ter­na­tional game but there isn’t a level of ex­pec­ta­tion on ev­ery­body that we need to up­keep. I think that will be one of the huge chal­lenges in keep­ing the in­ten­sity.”

Eng­land will use the matches to give fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers on the fringes. Mor­gan said that iden­ti­fy­ing play­ers who could bat in the mid­dle or­der

‘A lot is just try­ing to ap­ply pres­sure on rivals the whole time’

was par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant. Joe Denly, who was dropped from the Test team af­ter the first Test against West Indies, will re­tain his place af­ter scores of 87 and 66 from No5 in the ODIs against South Africa in Fe­bru­ary.

Sam Billings is set to keep wicket, and play his first ODI for two years, while James Vince, who has not played an ODI since deputis­ing as the stand-in bats­man in the World Cup, is also in the squad.

Mor­gan said that, for all the ex­cit­ing white-ball tal­ent Eng­land possessed, the ex­pe­ri­ence of Denly, Billings and Vince was vi­tal. “Go­ing into the next World Cup we need ex­pe­ri­enced guys mak­ing good de­ci­sions un­der pres­sure,” he said.

Mor­gan de­fended the World Cup per­for­mance of Vince, who scored only 40 runs in his three matches as a stand-in for the in­jured Jason Roy, ar­gu­ing that he was de­nied many chances to play be­fore the tour­na­ment be­cause Alex Hales was the spare bats­man, be­fore fail­ing a drugs test.

David Wil­ley re­turns to the squad along with Reece To­p­ley, with Eng­land keen to in­clude a left-arm pace bowler in their ODI and Twenty20 sides to pro­vide va­ri­ety.

Mor­gan, who rep­re­sented Ire­land un­til 2009, said that it was im­por­tant that Ire­land got more fix­tures to help their devel­op­ment.

For Ire­land, cap­tain Andy Bal­birnie made clear that these matches were cen­tral to the team’s plans to reach the 2023 World Cup.

“It will be this team’s great­est achieve­ment if we qual­ify for the World Cup through the top seven,” he said.

Mid­dle-or­der bats­man Harry Tec­tor and all-rounder Cur­tis Cam­pher are set to make their de­buts as Ire­land con­tinue their re­build­ing process. “We’re go­ing to be the first Ir­ish in­ter­na­tional team to play since lock­down so it’s ex­cit­ing,” Bal­birnie said.

Hit­ting out: Jonny Bairstow (above) at the Ageas Bowl yes­ter­day

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