A day before the start of the five-match ODI series against West Indies, English skipper Eoin Morgan emphasised the importance of the 11 games that England are scheduled to play before the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in May. Morgan, while addressing a press-conference, stressed on the fact the series against Windies was very important as it will help the team to get out of their comfort zone, and learn how to adapt quickly in new conditions.
“We’ve got 11 matches between now and that first World Cup game and they are very important, particularly against West Indies because conditions will change quite drastically here and will get us out of our comfort zone. We need to learn as much as we can from this series so by the seventh or eighth game of the tournament, when we play in different conditions, we are able to adapt,” Morgan said.
The English skipper also said that despite being the number one side in ODIs, the team won’t take things for granted. “Just because we’ve become No 1 in the world, we haven’t changed anything. We play like we’re No 2 and we’re chasing somebody. We’re always trying to chase and better ourselves. We’ve put a lot of work into where we’re at, and we’ve come a long way,” said the 32-year-old cricketer.
Morgan also stressed on the fact that the current squad should not be considered as the final team for the upcoming World Cup because players, especially the bowlers, are more prone to injuries.
“I don’t think we can say, ‘This is our World Cup squad’ so far out, particularly with bowlers, because people can pick up injuries at any time. When you’re so far out it can be detrimental to nail your colours to a mast and say, ‘This is the team’. Then, if one or two drop out, the mood can change. We probably have 17 or 18 who could be in the squad, and there are three or four tough decisions to make before April 23,” Morgan said.
Among the decisions the selectors have to take will be which fast bowler to leave out when the prospect of including Jofra Archer comes up for discussion. The 23-year-old cricketer is one of the contenders to be picked as he will qualify for England selection next month.
Speaking on the Barbados-born all-rounder, Morgan said, “I’ve played against Jofra on numerous occasions and he comes with a big reputation. That reputation is justified because he’s an extremely talented young cricketer. He’s raw but he’s performed in big tournaments around the world like the IPL and the Big Bash. As soon as he qualifies, we’ll make a decision on him and think about what direction we’re going to go in.”
But the England captain also said that the team will decline to field a particular candidate if the player’s inclusion in the side upset other team members.
“The aim of the side is to continuously better ourselves, and the end goal is to be contenders for the World Cup. If picking Jofra ties in with everything else, he’ll have a chance. We’re not going to bring anybody in who would upset five different people and be a massive thorn in everybody’s side. His biggest attributes are death bowling and pace. But we do have two guys who can bowl 90 mph in Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood. Jofra’s young and exciting, so there’s a lot of talk about him,” Morgan said.