Echoing the majority view, England’s limited over skipper Eoin Morgan on Wednesday rated India as the favourites to lift the ICC Twenty20, but said other than the hosts most teams had an even chance to win the title.
“I think the favourites for the tournament is India. Simply because they are very good in home conditions and they had a rich run of form lately. But outside of that it’s a very open tournament,” said the 29-year-old Dublin-born hard-hitting batsman at the pre-tournament media conference in Mumbai.
England, winners of the title once (in 2010) before in its history, are pooled together in Group 1 with Sri Lanka, South Africa and West Indies, plus a qualifier from the first round which commenced on Tuesday.
Morgan, who led England’s disastrous campaign in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, said the team has come along nicely and had a lot of players who can turn around the match.
“We are reasonably confident. Within the group there’s a lot of talent and match-winners. It (winning run) did not necessarily happen in South Africa (on their recent tour in which they lost T20 rubber 0-2 and the ODI series 2-3). But we are positive which is very good coming into this tournament. He pointed out the fact that the team had scored in excess of 300 six times in recently in ODIs as a pointer to its aggressive intent of late.
“I would say yes. It’s been the most expressive for a long time. It’s evident with the significant totals we have put on board with the bat.
“We have scored 350 twice and definitely chased it down once. We have scored over 300 six consecutive times which is a huge step for us. We scored 400 once. It’s no coincidence. We have a lot of talent in our side. We encourage our players to be as brash and aggressive as they can and take the game to the opposition.”
He said the turnaround happened with the shock loss to Bangladesh exactly one year ago in the ICC Cricket World Cup that sent them homewards.
“As a whole trip it was a huge learning curve for me, particularly as captain. Having gone through such significant lows and down period in your career, it makes you enjoy any success you have down the line. It was a good learning curve in the turn-around.”
Conceding that losing a top fast bowler like Steven Finn due to injury, Morgan said they had others, including Liam Plunkett who was kept out as a rotation policy, to fill in the breach.
“Losing any fast bowler before any major tournament is a blow. (But) We have other guys and Liam Plunkett was fit (to be the replacement for Finn). We have big fast bowlers. That’s a positive for us.”
Unlike some others he saw the positives in not many England players being a part of the hugely successful Indian Premier League T20 competition.
“It becomes a different challenge. Lot of our guys have never been to India. But we have toured Sri Lanka a lot. We have been to Abu Dhabi with some success.
“Lots of sides, including us, come here and get hammered which can almost scar your perception and playing within the tournament. Having a little bit of naivety along with a huge amount of talent, is not a bad thing.”
He did not agree with the suggestion that England were weak in spin bowling.
“No absolutely not. We have two very experienced spinners. Adil Rashid (leg spinner) has come on leaps and bounds in the last 12 months. Moeen Ali (off spinner) has become our no 1 spinner in all three forms of the game. He has been exceptional. The fact that he’s an all-rounder makes him a sheet anchor in the side.”