England skipper Eoin Morgan is hoping to “wisely” use the confidence and experience they have gained by drubbing Australia as they gear up to clash with India, which is likely to be a more challenging team for the hosts. England humiliated Australia 5-0 in the ODI series ahead of the limited series against India, beginning on Tuesday.
“Generally it is a different challenge particularly when you play against subcontinent teams. It normally exposes sides like ourselves, South Africa and Australia to spin, reverse swing and other different challenges to that we are normally used to. But we are in the middle of our summer and we have played a lot of cricket. Hopefully, we will be able to deal with it,” Morgan said on Monday.
“I don’t think it’s a case of putting it aside when there are huge positives to take from the Australia series. You can use a lot of that confidence and experience wisely. Having had a few days off and time to reflect on the series it’s something we can call upon and might need to in either series – T20s or ODIs – when our backs are against the wall.
“So we haven’t completely drawn a line under it. India are a tough team and we will have to be at our best to beat them,” said Morgan.
He also said that England will not mind experimenting, keeping the 2019 ODI World Cup in mind.
“We have to be open to what might be the best combination down the line. I don’t think here and now that making a solid decision and sticking with it for the next two years is productive or healthy. If we can be as adaptable as we can going forward with one eye on the World Cup or the World T20 (in Australia in 2020), you have to be open-minded,” he added.
A lot of English cricketers have participated in the IPL over the last couple seasons, as also in other T20 leagues across the world. Morgan pointed out that it has helped them become a competitive and aggressive side in limited-overs formats.
“I think our experience of playing in the IPL is of benefit to us. It exposes our players to the biggest competition in the world. We had 9 picked up in the auction and eventually 12 going with replacement players, which is the most we’ve ever had. I think a little bit of both – it’s great experience and exposure for our players, but it also shows where we are at as a team,” he said.
“I think it has a big impact. Certainly, when I was coming through to the international team, playing against somebody like a Chris Gayle for instance, who you’d built up as quite a significant player in the game, you felt a million miles away from that. Whereas our guys are rubbing shoulders with the best, competing and doing quite well,” he added.
Weather across the United Kingdom has been pleasant for the traveling contingent. And the English skipper said that the hot conditions will be a factor throughout the T20I and ODI series, with spin coming into play.
Morgan was non-committal when asked about the specific challenge of bowling to Virat Kohli with the white ball. However, when asked further about the impact of India’s twin wrist spinners on this series, Morgan said that England were not focussing on particular individuals.
“When you play against a side who have good players, if you focus on one or two of them, say focus on the spinners tomorrow, it’s more than likely that the seamers will go and get the wickets. It can have a completely different impact if you focus on two guys too much. They’re a strong side and they do have other components to their game. They obviously have a very experienced domestic background as well. It’s going to be a good challenge,” he added, talking about the wrist spinners.
Last but not the least, two England teams will be playing at the same time on Tuesday evening with the football team’s pre-quarterfinal match against Colombia in Russia going on simultaneously. Morgan said that it won’t be a distraction for the cricketers.
“I think we had a similar instance against Australia in the final ODI. You do notice because in the car park on the far side there is a big screen and the crowd go out and watch the game. The cheers were quite frequent in the Panama game (which England won 6-1). It will be interesting. I don’t think it will be a distraction, the guys are passionate about it but will be focussed on the game,” he signed off.