The embarrassing defeat against minnows Netherlands in the 2014 edition of the event still fresh in their minds, England are in no mood to take Afghanistan for “granted” in an ICC World T20 group match in New Delhi on Wednesday, said its captain Eoin Morgan.
(Full Coverage|| Fixtures||Photos)
Already out of the tournament, England were humiliated by 45 runs by The Netherlands in the 2014 World T20 to add salt to their wounds.
Morgan very well understands the pain associated with a flop campaign in an ICC event.
“I think they (Afghanistan) are a dangerous side. They really play exciting brand of cricket. If it was 10 years ago we wouldn’t have known a great deal about them but now we know quite a lot about them,” he said.
“Our priority is on winning. Tomorrow is a big game. Certainly we are not taking Afghanistan for granted. First and foremost we need to go into the game with the right mindset. We have been focussing on the two group games left. To get a win under our belt is key,” Morgan said.
The dark memories of England’s 2014 World T20 campaign is fresh in Morgan’s mind as he described the feeling of crashing out of in the group stages of an ICC world event as “horrific”.
So, Morgan called on his teammates to keep their focus intact in Wednesday’s game against another minnows of world cricket.
“Holland was a unique set of circumstances. We knew we were out of the tournament. Probably we came into that game with a completely wrong mindset. We were flying directly after that game and have already packed our bags to leave. So certainly in my mind I was already at home sitting on the couch going into that game. A lot of guys were in the same kind of mindset,” said Morgan when asked about the infamous loss against the Dutch side.
“Disappointment of being knocked out of the World Cup is horrific.
“So, coming into tomorrow’s game we are really fresh. We got a couple of good games and great build up to the tournament. I think tomorrow is about focussing on what we do and adapting to the conditions in front of us. So if we do that hopefully we will perform well,” the left-handed batsman said.
Terming Afghanistan as an “unpredictable” opponent, Morgan said England need to come up with consistentperformances in the shortest format.
“It’s probably a little bit of unpredictability. I think in T20 games against any team unpredictability can be a strong mountain. Certainly we have lacked consistency in T20s in recent times and certainly there is a bit of unpredictability,” he said.
Morgan is also aware about Afghanistan wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad’s big-hitting capability as a batsman.
“I think he (Shahzad) is a good batsman. I think it would be rude on my part to single out any player of their side. As a side they can be quite strong and very destructive,” he said.
The English captain, however, is unsure about what the pitch will offer on Wednesday and will decide the playing eleven in the 11th hour.
“I am not quite sure what the pitch is going to do. I expected a dry pitch but there is a lot of grass on it. To be honest I don’t what it’s going to do. We will have to leave as late as possible to select a side,” Morgan said.
“Rootie (Joe Root) can be a viable option for a third spinner but (left-arm orthodox) Liam Dawson adds a lot more certainly with the ball than Joe Root. So certainly he could come into consideration if the grass comes off the pitch,” he said.
“Our huge strength is in our batting and that lies in our ability to bat down 10 and 11. But again conditions will dictate what we do. In the last two games our batting certainly has been our strongest point.”