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Morgan feels ‘lucky to lead a special group of players’

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

England’s limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan laid prime focus on winning, but also stressed on giving exposure to the younger lot, in order to figure out the best possible combinations, ahead of the five-match T20I series against New Zealand, beginning on Friday, November 1 in Christchurch.

England have picked as many as five uncapped players in Tom Banton, Patrick Brown, Lewis Gregory, Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Parkinson in their 15-member squad for the T20I series. Morgan hinted at giving them ample opportunities, with an eye on building a solid outfit for next year’s T20 World Cup.

“First and foremost, we want to try and win the series,” said Morgan. “We’ll pick teams that we feel are good enough to win the games, but also we need to look at these [uncapped] guys – there’s no use not picking them in the XI. The majority of the guys will definitely get games and exposure to find more out about them.

“We have a special group of players at the moment. I feel very lucky to lead, and I think we can do something even more special down the line. There aren’t a lot of places up for grabs in our best XI and probably our final 15, 12 months down the line, we’re not only building for 12 months down the line, but the following World Cup as well.

“I think we’re in a reasonably strong position. We’ll look to build our best XI and 15 for every series leading in to fine-tune roles and have absolute clarity in what we’re trying to do as a team.”

The 33-year-old further talked about his team’s preparation and the leadership group, adding that the core is now further strengthened after the arrival of new head coach Chris Silverwood.

“It’s been seamless,” Morgan said. “We have a lot of leaders in the group, and they drive the intensity of practice. They are very demanding in terms of what they want from the coaches. So facilitating that and coming back with stuff that’s challenging is important. Silvers is the man to do that.”

Morgan led England to their maiden World Cup triumph in July, but was hesitant to continue as captain thereafter. Adding to that was his back injury post the event that raised doubts over his longevity. For the moment, he is focused on the T20 World Cup, after which he’ll take a call on his future.

“I won’t say I’ll be finished after the next T20 World Cup, as I’d be afraid I’ll only creep over the line and maybe tail off. I don’t want to let anyone down. I want to drive through to Australia and then make a call after that.”

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