England v Ireland – Great expectations need to be handled by England in big two years, says Eoin Morgan
Having ascended to the top of the one-day rankings before ending their drought in global 50-over tournaments last year, England are the undisputed top dogs in the format ahead of the Royal London series against Ireland.
Today’s opener is England’s first on these shores since being crowned world champions but the coronavirus pandemic means the homecoming will be played out in front of empty seats at the Ageas Bowl.
Morgan, though, declared he was “extremely happy” to be back playing in a three-match series in which England will be without Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood due to their Test duties.
While a number of those who were part of the World Cup squad remain, this series is a chance for those on the fringes to make a case for themselves in the knowledge that England will have a target on their backs ahead of back-to-back T20 World Cups in the next two years and the defence of their 50-over crown in 2023.
But asked if it was more of a challenge to retain their title, Morgan said: “I would rather be in that position than not winning and having to find a winning formula.
“Winning last year has given our guys a huge amount of confidence in the process, strategy and planning which we went through over a four-year period.
“It allows us to go into every World Cup with that strategy and forward-thinking, contributing along the way the whole time in trying to continually to get better.
“Seeing the finished product last year was an eye opener for everybody who hadn’t won a World Cup to date. But also, it creates a level of expectation everywhere we go.
“That’s one that sits well with some of our guys but for a lot of our guys, they haven’t experienced that so it’s important to recognise what is expected of us moving forward. Because we want to win more trophies.”
England whittled down a white-ball training group to a 14-man squad ahead of a series which marks the start of the inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, forming part of the qualification process for 2023.
Phil Salt was among those omitted despite a 58-ball ton for England Lions against Ireland last weekend while there was also no room for Sam Hain, who averages 59.78 in 58 List A matches.
James Vince and Sam Billings, both of whom have been on the periphery of the side for a number of years, have been included despite modest records with batting averages of under 25 in 13 and 15 ODIs respectively.
Morgan added: “I think a lot of the perception is that they’ve almost had their chance and their time has gone. But going into the next World Cup we need experienced guys making good decisions under pressure and experience lends itself to that.”
“We’ll continue to give opportunities but it’s to those guys we feel might have an impact in selection on the next two T20 World Cups or the next 50-over World Cup.”
Vince attracted criticism following scores of 26, 14 and nought when he stood in for the injured Jason Roy during three World Cup group stage matches last year.
However, as Alex Hales had been the designated spare batsman before failing a second recreational drugs test, Morgan shielded Vince from disapproval.
Morgan added: “I think that’s an unfair judgement on James to start with.
“The guy who had the opportunities in the lead-in to the World Cup or as the spare batsmen (Hales) tested positive in a drugs test and was ruled out. Those opportunities might have fallen to James.
“He would have been better positioned going into the World Cup.”
Editor’s note: First and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.
Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.
And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.
Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected]. Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.
If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.
Sincerely. Thank you. James Mitchinson, Editor