T20 World Cup – Eoin Morgan says Australia clash will have no bearing ‘whatsoever’ on Ashes

T20 World Cup – Eoin Morgan says Australia clash will have no bearing ‘whatsoever’ on Ashes



Test and white-ball formats too far apart to land any psychological blows, says captain

England versus Australia is always a high-stakes contest irrespective of the format, but Eoin Morgan believes that the result of Saturday’s T20 World Cup clash in Dubai will have no bearing “whatsoever” in the build-up to December’s Ashes opener in Brisbane.
England go into the third match of the Super 12s on a high after thumping victories over West Indies and Bangladesh in their opening two games, but anticipate a stiffer test against Australia, who are also unbeaten in Group 1 following a forceful run-chase against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

“It’s probably going to be one of our most difficult games,” Morgan said. “Australia are a very strong side. Coming into the tournament, they would probably be considered joint-second favourites, along with us. They’re a side that we know pretty well – we’ve played against them a lot over a number of years, so looking forward to a really good game.”

The two teams played out an absorbing pair of white-ball series in England last summer – England claimed the T20 leg 2-1, but lost by the same margin in the ODIs for their first home series defeat since 2015. Australia also won convincingly at the same stage of the 2019 World Cup, before being overwhelmed by eight wickets in a pulsating semi-final at Edgbaston.

“You learn a hell of a lot about how they play their cricket, how disciplined they can be,” Morgan said. “When they get on top they can be a difficult to side to play, when you try and wrestle momentum back.

“The challenge for us and them is that we’re not playing at home so it’s about trying to adapt our style of play. Early momentum in any game can go a long way to winning. But like we’ve witnessed over the last couple of years, if we don’t manage to gain that momentum, I think we have guys that can either wrestle it back or counter-punch.”

One key operator who has yet to feature in the tournament is Mark Wood, England’s fastest bowler, who has been resting an ankle niggle during the opening week. Morgan said that both he and Tom Curran were “progressing really well” and that a call on Wood’s availability would be made on the morning of the match.

But, Morgan insisted, despite Wood also being earmarked for a frontline role in the Ashes, there would be little point in trying to read too much into his display across four overs in the UAE, compared to the challenge that awaits in Australia in the coming weeks.

“I’ve played Test matches and have played 50-over and T20 for a long period of time,” Morgan said. “There was a time and place where 50-over cricket was closely aligned with Test match cricket and the way that it was played.

“Particularly top of the order and how your quicks bowled, but I think white-ball cricket has moved so far away from red-ball cricket that there’s just day and night between a psychological blow in one format in comparison to the other.”

England’s cricketers have taken to wearing T-shirts denouncing all forms of discrimination prior to their home internationals, but because this approach is not permitted at ICC tournaments, Morgan said that the team would need to discuss the appropriate action.

“If we’re not allowed to take our stance against all discriminations, we need to try to find something else that makes a difference,” Morgan said. “There’s a chance [we will take a knee]. The collective message [is] more powerful [when] everybody agrees to what we’re buying into. That’s the best way to raise awareness, educate and come across with a more powerful message.

“We’ll talk at length today but we are quite restricted in what we can do at ICC events. If we come to something that can be supported by Australia, we will speak to them and see what their thoughts are as well.”

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket


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