FILE - England's Dawid Malan celebrates his half century with Jos Buttler. Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
FILE - England's Dawid Malan celebrates his half century with Jos Buttler. Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

World Cup spots up for grabs in India-England ODI series, says Eoin Morgan

By AFP Time of article published Mar 23, 2021

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PUNE - England's three one-day internationals against India starting later today will be a fresh opportunity for players to make the case for World Cup places this year, skipper Eoin Morgan said.

England lost a hard-fought Twenty20 series against India 3-2.

But Morgan and coach Chris Silverwood say the tour is still providing valuable lessons about the tough conditions in the country where the T20 World Cup will be staged in October-November.

And more will be learned from the ODIs in Pune, said to the captain.

"Given the World Cup round the corner, playing any international cricket at all is a huge opportunity for guys who have been on the fringes and not made selection so far," Morgan told reporters.

The 50-over games will be an "important building block for our squad".

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Apart from the loss of injured fast bowler Jofra Archer, the ODI squad is little different to the T20 selection.

But Morgan said Sam Billings, Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali will all be in contention for a place in the team to be announced ahead of the first match.

England are reigning 50-over champions and Morgan said they must prove their worth on the hard, dusty wickets.

"The challenge for us is always trying to explore and push the limits as much as we can given the conditions," said Morgan.

"In conditions that are little bit alien to us naturally, like India, it's always nice to get out of your comfort zone and learn more about your team and your players to try and make mistakes and learn from them."

- Stokes is back -

Joe Root's England also lost to India in the four-Test series and Morgan insisted that an ODI victory would not compensate for the earlier losses.

"You don't always have to win every series in order to win a World Cup. You continuously need to get better, need to be tested as a side, need to fail in order to learn.

"That involves losing, which isn't fun but it is part of the journey."

All-rounder Ben Stokes will be back in the ODI team after playing the hero's role in the World Cup win against New Zealand at Lord's in July 2019.

Morgan said having Stokes back in ODI colours is always a boost.

"It's great to have him back. Any opportunity we have to get him in a white-ball game, which has been few and far between, is brilliant," said Morgan of the key player.

"I think he really enjoys his white-ball cricket and it's important to keep him engaged with that.

"If you don't play a format for a long time, it can show a bit of neglect in certain parts of the game and we know how demanding the rest of the formats are, both on his body and his mind so it's great to have him round."

AFP

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