Eoin Morgan insists England coach will challenge players before T20 World Cup | England cricket team


Eoin Morgan was in relaxed mood before the first of England’s three one-day internationals against the Netherlands, which start at Amstelveen on Friday. Buoyant about being back in Amsterdam, where he spent tours with Ireland, and happy to be kicking off the white-ball summer, Morgan is also looking forward to building his relationship with the new limited-overs coach, Matthew Mott, and, together, taking the team towards this year’s T20 World Cup.

England’s captain does not expect Mott to be daunted by leading the 2019 world champions. “One of the attributes when thinking about the future of our white-ball game and what the team require is an experienced coach that brings that hunger for success and isn’t afraid to hold some of the best players in the world accountable in a team environment,” he said.

Morgan kept his team selection powder dry but, in the absence of the Trent Bridge rocket launcher Jonny Bairstow, Phil Salt appears likely to partner Jason Roy at the top of the order, with the two sharing a net at practice on Thursday. Jos Buttler – hotfooting it from the Indian Premier League, where he was the highest scorer – may shuffle up the order while Adil Rashid, who made his T20 international debut during the defeat by the Netherlands at the 2009 World Cup, alongside Morgan, is the only sure thing among a plethora of left-arm seamers.

Despite that great orange victory in 2009, repeated in 2014, the Netherlands captain, Pieter Seelaar, is realistic about his side’s chances this time around. “We’re playing a different format, England at that time was in a different mind space, especially in white-ball cricket, to where they are now,” he said. “If I were to say we were looking to win the series 3-0 I would be stupid. But in saying that, we’re looking to compete in the three games.”

Morgan sees this tour as the start of the road towards the T20 World Cup, which takes place in Australia across October and November. “At the moment it revolves around trying to get the right players in the right roles given the squad we’ve brought,” he said. “July’s a huge month for us in preparation for the World Cup, playing against two very strong sides [India and South Africa] over the course of a month which will test us.

“But that’s where we want to be in order to try and prepare ourselves best for that World Cup. Then there is the Hundred obviously, then we have no more international cricket before we go to Pakistan – and then we have three games before the World Cup. So it will fly around.”

Morgan insisted that the five left-armers in the squad were not there for their rarity. “It is not purely based on them being left arm, it is based on them being as good as they are,” he said. “The fact they are left arm gives them a different angle, a different strategy. Certainly in my experience left-armers are open to doing more and doing different things which is great. But the guys who are selected are purely here on merit and ideally in our best T20 and 50 overs team or squad, you would like a point of difference. If that is left arm then great, if it’s a guy who bowls 90 miles an hour plus then that’s great.”

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The 35-year-old also batted away questions about his future as captain. “It happens all the time as a player, never mind as a captain. It’s part and parcel of it,” said Morgan. “I genuinely have the best interests of the team at heart. It’s always been that way. I have trusted that method since I took over. To be in the position I am in at the moment is a privilege.

“I’m going to take it as it comes, managing my contribution, my body … am I still contributing on and off the field, within the team? I will be as honest as I am with everybody since I started the captaincy. At the moment I still feel like I contribute; still feel like I can contribute to a World Cup win. That’s an important drive for me.”



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