T20 World Cup: Eoin Morgan says Dawid Malan has a strong chance of playing for England against West Indies | Cricket News


England skipper backs Dawid Malan ahead of Saturday’s opening match against the T20 world champions and says formula that has taken his side to top spot in the ICC’s T20 team rankings is worth sticking with; Eoin Morgan rates England as second or third favourites for title behind India

Last Updated: 22/10/21 5:55pm

Dawid Malan averages 43.19 overall in T20s for England but just 20 in his last six innings despite scoring 76 against Sri Lanka in June

Dawid Malan averages 43.19 overall in T20s for England but just 20 in his last six innings despite scoring 76 against Sri Lanka in June

Captain Eoin Morgan says Dawid Malan has “a strong chance” of playing in England’s mouth-watering ICC T20 World Cup opener against West Indies despite a dip in form.

Malan goes into the tournament rated No 1 in the ICC’s T20 batting rankings but his position at No 3 in the order has been undermined by a return of 268 runs from his last 11 innings and a tendency not to go hard from the start.

The left-hander returned modest scores in England’s World Cup warm-up games, making 18 off as many balls in the defeat to India, then 11 off 15 deliveries as Morgan’s men beat New Zealand by 13 runs.

But when asked directly by Sky Sports commentator Michael Atherton if Malan will play on Saturday, Morgan said: “Dawid is ranked No 1 in the world. He has a strong chance of playing.”

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The decision is complicated by Morgan’s own lack of form in the Indian Premier League, as well as the absence of key all-rounders Sam Curran (back injury) and Ben Stokes, who is taking a break from the game to prioritise his mental health.

Sky Sports pundit Nasser Hussain says on @SkyCricket that, on balance, he would stick with Malan at three because the 34-year-old has played a pivotal role in England’s rise to No 1 in the ICC T20 team rankings.

“I’m just a bit worried about ripping up plans that you’ve had for 18 months in your first game in the World Cup – with Malan still ranked No 1 in the world batting at three,” said Hussain.

“Also with Morgan not being in any runs – and Liam Livingstone having a quiet time of it in the IPL and the warm-up games in the UAE – it’s difficult.

“Both of these sides [England and West Indies] are probably slightly weaker on bowling, so the right thing to do would be to play the extra bowler.

“Personally I would go with the extra batter and play Malan, but you can’t have any problems if they leave him out.”

Morgan will not name his team until the toss on Saturday but hinted he would be tempted to stick with the players available who have helped England rise to the top spot in the rankings.

“The assumption is that it is always more difficult to balance your side when you’ve got two genuine all-rounders in Ben Stokes and Sam Curran missing the tournament,” he said.

“They add a huge amount of value, they make selection easy and a lot of the time you have a luxury player within the side because they do both.

England captain Eoin Morgan reveals his side will take a knee before their T20 World Cup opener against the West Indies

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England captain Eoin Morgan reveals his side will take a knee before their T20 World Cup opener against the West Indies

England captain Eoin Morgan reveals his side will take a knee before their T20 World Cup opener against the West Indies

“I think balancing the side for any team in the World Cup is going to be challenging and finding the right formula is going to be challenging within that.

“But we’ve had a formula that has worked for quite a period of time; yes, we’ve had all-rounders to play around with, but we still have all-rounders to pick as well.”

Morgan’s confidence that Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone can operate as “genuine all-rounders” means he does not believe England are short on slow-bowling options even though Adil Rashid is the only specialist spinner in the squad, with Liam Dawson on stand-by.

With the pitches in the United Arab Emirates expected to be conducive to spinners, India go into the tournament with an impressive array of options in Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy – and Morgan has no doubt that Virat Kohli’s side will start as trophy favourites.

Morgan says the dramatic T20 World Cup final defeat to the West Indies stayed on his mind 'six to seven months' after the match

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Morgan says the dramatic T20 World Cup final defeat to the West Indies stayed on his mind ‘six to seven months’ after the match

Morgan says the dramatic T20 World Cup final defeat to the West Indies stayed on his mind ‘six to seven months’ after the match

Asked how he rates England’s chances, Morgan replied: “Probably as the bookies do – second or third favourites. India are obvious favourites due to conditions and the level of talent that they have at their disposal in these conditions.

“But there’s no reason why if we perform well that we can’t progress through the group stages and become genuine contenders.

“This is the first time since 2016 that we’ve gone into an international tournament and are not considered out and out favourites. It’s just a different challenge.

“It’s a realist way of looking at things – and it shows the work that we have to put in to progress and go through, but also the progression we’ve made in our white-ball cricket.

“It has really been outstanding. If you look back to 2016 – pre-tournament we would have been considered an afterthought. In our group-stage game against South Africa we had one foot on the plane at the halfway stage, staring down the barrel chasing 230.

“But I think the talent that we have and the players at our disposal make us a dangerous side within this tournament.”

Morgan admits he could be dropped from the side at the T20 World Cup if his poor form continues

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Morgan admits he could be dropped from the side at the T20 World Cup if his poor form continues

Morgan admits he could be dropped from the side at the T20 World Cup if his poor form continues

Watch the T20 World Cup live on Sky between now and November 14 – including England’s opening game of the tournament against West Indies on Saturday at 2.30pm on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event.





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