Magic Morgan hits route 66
Captain leads England to T20 triumph over Pakistan Battle for places as squads to face Australia named today
Eoin Morgan said he was playing better than ever after his brilliant 66 led England to a five-wicket win over Pakistan in the second Twenty20 international and a 1-0 lead in the series.
“Even before the series started, certainly within T20 cricket in the
last two years in internationals and some domestic are my best numbers to date, which is great,” Morgan said. “It’s just nice that I’m feeling good and it’s actually replicated in the numbers as well.”
Morgan, 33, has scored five T20 half-centuries in his past 11 innings, and also made 106 in his last oneday international, against Ireland early this month. Such form earned him a contract with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2020 season of Indian Premier League.
The England limited-overs captain said that he was comfortable moving up and down the order as the team required.
“If I can combine a little bit of that with experience that will go a long way – certainly when I’m moving up and down the order between four and six – to try to win a game,” he said.
“The roles I play I’m more comfortable with. Before I became captain, jumping up and down the order I didn’t feel that comfortable with, but now that it’s my decision I feel more at ease, say if I was slipping down to six with [Jos] Buttler in ahead of me, I’d feel more comfortable with that.”
Morgan said that, with fringe players Dawid Malan and Tom Banton excelling, England’s T20 squad were in rude health.
“That’s the best position we’ve been in for some time with our T20 cricket,” he said, hailing the strength in depth in the top three. “I’m delighted. We’re just in a period of our game where there are a lot of really good top-order batters available to us and I don’t know why that is.
“I know a lot of guys who tend to score the majority of the runs for their county bat at the top of the order in the top three or four.”
With England set to name their
T20 squad for the three-game series against Australia which begins on Friday, Morgan admitted Joe Root – who scored 64 from 40 balls playing for Yorkshire against Derbyshire in the T20 Blast – still faced a tough battle to regain his spot.
Morgan also said Buttler was likely to return as an opener – rather than in the middle order – suggesting that the first-choice top three of
Jason Roy, who is facing a race to be fit to face Australia, Buttler and Jonny Bairstow remains unchanged.
“The three guys we have at the top of the order in our strongest XI, and that includes Jos, do it against everybody, which is one of our strengths,” Morgan said. “Whereas if you were to bring one of the younger guys in who’s less experienced and has less runs under his belt, it might be a bigger challenge.
If it doesn’t work out at the top, we have options.”
England will name their 14-man squads for the three T20s and ODIs against Australia today. After a disappointing bowling display, Morgan said the extra pace of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood would be a welcome addition. “If you have that extra pace, you can still skid through someone, bowl a wide yorker or hit the stumps and get a wicket,” he said.
Master blaster: England captain Eoin Morgan hits one of four sixes he smashed in his match-winning innings of 66 off 33 balls against Pakistan at Emirates Old Trafford yesterday
All over: England’s Dawid Malan and Lewis Gregory shake hands with the Pakistan players after yesterday’s match