Magic Mor­gan hits route 66

Cap­tain leads Eng­land to T20 tri­umph over Pak­istan Bat­tle for places as squads to face Aus­tralia named to­day

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Tim Wig­more at Emi­rates Old Traf­ford

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

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