England captain Eoin Morgan, despite his side conceding defeat to Australia in the final men’s game of the English Cricket season, said he was pleased with quite a few aspects of his limited-overs side’s summer.
Morgan said that his team has learned a lot this summer, developing depth across a number of positions during the ODI matches against Ireland and the T20Is against Pakistan, when first-choice players like Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, and Mark Wood were ensconced in the Test bubble, before gaining valuable experience on slow pitches at Old Trafford during the ODI series against Australia.
He said, “White ball was broken into two segments, against Pakistan and Ireland where we were looking at strength in depth in our squad. The experiment at growing and learning about our larger squad while the priority has been Test cricket has been a really good and valuable exercise. There were guys who took that opportunity, guys like Sam Billings, Dawid Malan, Tom Banton. Huge positives there in building strength in depth.
“Then we played our strongest team against a very good Australia team. One of the worries in just piling your best side in such a short period of time was that we might not function as well as we have in the past. I know we’ve not played our best but the character and resilience we’ve showed has been brilliant.”
Playing on slower wickets might have cost England the ODI series, but Morgan said that a lot has been found out about the England batsmen playing on these wickets. He said, “The positive of the series is knowing we can win games of cricket when we don’t play our best game. We’ve also learned quite a lot about the group playing on slower wickets.
“Having an opportunity to play on them for three games in a row is a rare one for us. It hasn’t gone our way, but certainly, we have addressed an area of our game that is our weakest. We now have time to take it and work on it.”
Morgan also talked about the financial losses faced by the ECB and the success of the implementation of the bio-secure bubble. He said, “It’s been extremely positive on all fronts from where we were five months ago,” Morgan said. “To have a full set of international fixtures is huge for the game.
“I think we’ve pioneered or mapped out exactly how to get cricket back on. Given we’ve had no positive cases within the bubble I think is a very good example and one every team around the world will look at. Whether they can model it exactly like that might be a bit more challenging but I think the ECB has done an outstanding job.
“The biggest challenge for us is spending an extended period of time away from family. That’s greater at the moment because we accept we go away at winter – that’s the nature of being an international cricketer – but when you do it at home too, with none of your family around, it poses a more challenging situation. Moving into the winter we may need to look into that, traveling to other countries.
“I think the guys have dealt with it really well. When guys have struggled they have come forward. When that’s not being managed, guys hide away and let things bubble over. But it’s something we will have to stay on top of.”
When England next play some international cricket is yet to be confirmed but it is hoped a white-ball tour to South Africa will take place sometime before Christmas. Test tours to Sri Lanka and India are planned for the New Year too. In the meantime, some of England’s players, including Morgan, leave on Thursday for the IPL while others return to their counties to finish the Blast season off.
“We are sitting around waiting until tours get confirmed,” Morgan said. “A lot of guys are traveling to the IPL and a lot going back to their counties. We see every opportunity as one to try and impress, to either score runs or take wickets or be the man of the match. Given the lack of cricket we have played this summer, every opportunity is a big one.”