India T20 series opportunity to prepare for World Cup: Morgan

By: AFP      Published: 08:09 PM, 11 Mar, 2021
India T20 series opportunity to prepare for World Cup: Morgan

England Twenty20 skipper Eoin Morgan said Thursday the upcoming series against India was an "extremely exciting" challenge that would help the team prepare for the World Cup later this year.

The five-match series starts in Ahmedabad on Friday and would be the only opportunity for a full-strength England squad to play together before the World Cup in India in October-November due to scheduling demands, Morgan said.

England -- the top-ranked T20 side -- are coming off the back of a woeful Test series that saw the team crumble to a 3-1 defeat after winning the first game.

But the T20 squad will include in-form top-order batsman Dawid Malan, the Curran brothers and Jason Roy, who were not part of the series loss.

Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali, who both left the Test tour partway through the series in line with the England and Wales Cricket Board's rotation policy, are also back for the T20 series.

Morgan was hopeful the series would allow the squad to "learn a huge amount from this tour and then have time to improve".

"Certainly with one eye on the World Cup in seven months time, it is an opportunity to try and replicate teams and roles within the side that we might need to iron out before we get to the World Cup."

The T20 Indian Premier League, which will begin in India on April 9, would play a big role in helping the England players prepare for the tournament, he added.

"Certainly the first few times I went to the IPL, I've never gone through an experience like it. And I've learned a huge amount over the years that I've been there," Morgan said.

"So the value in it given the year that it's in is brilliant, particularly now that we know it's being held in India."

The 34-year-old said India -- the number two-ranked T20 team -- would be favourites to win the World Cup and the challenge of playing them in their backyard "is extremely exciting and everybody's looking forward to it".

He added that Alex Hales, who shone for Sydney Thunder in the recent Big Bash T20 league but was left out of the squad, could get the opportunity to be around the team as Covid-19 regulations are eased throughout the summer.

Indian captain Virat Kohli told reporters earlier Thursday that England were the "team to beat".

"The prime focus will be on them in the World Cup. All the other teams will be wary of the strength they bring on to the park," Kohli said.