Eoin Morgan praises England fringe players for making World Cup cases

Eoin Morgan praises England fringe players for making World Cup cases

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Eoin Morgan believes his England side played “close to perfect” cricket in completing a second successive crushing defeat over West Indies.

Having bowled West Indies out for 45 on Friday, England bowled them out for 71 here, meaning they had taken 20 wickets in 24.5 overs for a combined cost of 116 runs in 48 hours; an average of 5.8 runs per wicket. As a result, England won with 57 balls of their innings remaining – a record for them in T20I cricket – in securing a 3-0 series win against the World T20 Champions.

While Morgan acknowledged West Indies were without several first-choice players – notably Chris Gayle, who was rested for this final game – he felt the performances of some of his side were so impressive that the players responsible would have forced themselves into contention for a place in the World Cup squad.

And with England claiming four of their top 10 best T20I figures in their most recent four T20I games, he hinted that the changes could be more likely to come in the bowling line-up.

Among those to have done so were David Willey, who claimed 4 for 7 here in cutting through the West Indies top-order, and Chris Jordan, who took 4 for 6 in Friday’s game and provided another reminder of his excellence in the field by claiming three more catches. Jordan, who was man of the series for his combined figures of 6 for 36 across the three games, and Willey now have the best bowling figures achieved by England players in T20I cricket.

“The guys who did perform here certainly will be talked about in selection meetings [ahead of the World Cup],” Morgan said. “The guys played close to perfect.

“There is an opportunity to look at other guys outside of our mainstay players. I probably see our bowling line-up changing more than our batting. David Willey really did stand out with that early spell. We felt he was our best option to swing the new ball and he’s very deceptive with his slower balls. Sam Billings, Chris Jordan and Joe Denly have also come in and done well.”

While the format of this T20I series is obviously different to a 50-over World Cup, Morgan felt his players’ ability to perform under pressure could be transferable to the World Cup.

“We wanted to create opportunities for people to play under pressure,” he said. “They know the opportunity isn’t around often. They have come in and performed close to their best.

“It might give us an opportunity to rest guys [for the games against Ireland and Pakistan] as well. We haven’t had any serious injuries except Olly Stone for about six months, so the law of averages suggests we’ll probably have two during the World Cup. So it is important to have this depth. Moving forward, we’re in a really healthy place.”

Morgan, meanwhile, was praised as “the best captain I’ve ever played under” by Liam Plunkett, who missed the final game of this T20I series having been diagnosed with a finger fracture while playing in the BBL

“You never see him get frustrated,” Plunkett said. “He gets excited but not disappointed. He wants guys to do well. But he’s never too high or too low and you can always speak to him. If you’re not playing, he’ll tell you why and you can see his reasons. He’s the best captain I’ve ever played under. He’s been awesome for me.”

The diagnosis of a fractured finger – the middle finger on his right hand – might go some way to explaining Plunkett’s slight loss of pace in recent times. He, at least, felt he was clawing that pace back as this tour wore on.

Morgan, meanwhile, said he would now take a week off and then attempt to gain selection for Middlesex’s Championship team at the start of the season.

“I’ll go back to Middlesex and try and get selected in a Championship game,” he said. “If not, I’ll take two weeks off and come back into the 50-over stuff. And from there, we’re into a training camp ahead of the World Cup.”

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