Netherlands vs England – Eoin Morgan ‘I can still contribute to a World Cup win’

Eoin Morgan will rest himself for some of England’s limited-overs international fixtures this summer amid concerns over his fitness, but has insisted that he still feels as though he can “contribute to a World Cup win” in Australia this winter.
Morgan injured his right quad in January after playing back-to-back games in Barbados during England’s T20I series against West Indies and suffered a “mild groin strain” playing for Middlesex in the Blast despite managing his workload by missing games, but hopes to play all three ODIs against Netherlands in Amstelveen this week.
His position as limited-overs captain has come under scrutiny – he has made a single half-century in international cricket over the last 18 months, and none in domestic T20 cricket – but he intends to stay on at least until the T20 World Cup in October-November.

Asked if he would continue into England’s defence of their 50-over crown in India next winter, Morgan said: “That’s a long way away. I need to get to the T20 one first. I’m going to take it as it comes, managing my contribution, my body.

“Am I still contributing on and off the field, within the team? I will be as honest as I [have been] with everybody since I started the captaincy. At the moment, I still feel like I contribute and still feel like I can contribute to a World Cup win. That’s an important drive for me.”

Matthew Mott, England’s new white-ball coach, threw his support behind Morgan in his first press conference in the role on Wednesday. “He always says he wants to be picked as a batter in that team on form and merit all the way through and when he feels that’s not the case then he would step aside,” Mott said. “I think that’s a long way off being at that point.

“Great players go through runs at different times and sometimes you flick a switch and it turns and you wonder what all the fuss has been about. You can tell when he speaks, everybody is listening. That leadership is something that’s probably not as recognised as much from the outside as it is inside. He’s got a lot of great cricket ahead of him.”

Morgan said he was “reluctant” to “100% commit” to playing all three ODIs but intends to do so. However, he is likely to miss at least two of England’s six T20Is this summer, with England due to play on successive days during both the India and South Africa series.

“It’s unlikely I will be playing every game this summer,” he said, “but that’s purely dependent on how I get from here to that match. If I’m flying and everything is going well, absolutely, but if not, there is no need to try and replicate that for a World Cup because it just doesn’t happen [in ICC events].”

In terms of the focus on his position, Morgan said that it was “part and parcel” of the role. “It happens all the time as a player, never mind as a captain,” he said. “I genuinely have the best interests of the team at heart. It’s always been that way: I have trusted that method since I took over. To be in the position I am in at the moment is a privilege.”

England have not played an ODI series since their second-string side whitewashed Pakistan in July 2021 after a Covid outbreak and have only played one white-ball series – the 3-2 defeat to West Indies in January – since last year’s T20 World Cup. As a result, Morgan said that he sees this series as the start of their run-in ahead of this year’s tournament, which he expects to “fly around”.

“It revolves around trying to get the right players in the right roles given the squad we’ve brought,” he said. “July’s a huge month for us in preparation for the [T20] World Cup, playing against two very strong sides [India and South Africa] over the course of a month which will test us.

“That’s where we want to be in order to try and prepare ourselves best for that World Cup. Then there’s the Hundred obviously, but then we have no more international cricket before we go to Pakistan and then we have three games [in Australia] before the World Cup.”

Jos Buttler is likely to shuffle up the order to No. 4, having mainly batted at No. 6 in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup and in the tournament, while Phil Salt is expected to open with Jason Roy and Dawid Malan will be given a chance at No. 3. England’s bowling cartel features five left-arm seamers – though Sam Curran is unlikely to bowl a full 10 overs as the ECB manage his comeback from a back stress fracture.

“The fact they are left-armers gives them a different angle, a different strategy,” Morgan said. “Certainly in my experience, left-armers are open to doing more and doing different things, which is great. But the guys who are selected are purely here on merit. Ideally in our best squad, you would like a point of difference: if that’s left-arm or if it’s a guy who bowls 90mph [145kph] plus, then that’s great.”

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