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England ready to take fitness risks in bid to keep World Cup dream alive

The hosts will hope to have Jason Roy and Jofra Archer available against India.

Captain Eoin Morgan admits England could be willing to gamble with the fitness of Jason Roy and Jofra Archer (Steven Paston/PA).
Captain Eoin Morgan admits England could be willing to gamble with the fitness of Jason Roy and Jofra Archer (Steven Paston/PA).

Eoin Morgan admits England could be willing to gamble with the fitness of Jason Roy and Jofra Archer in their crunch World Cup clash against India.

Roy’s domineering style has been sorely missed at the top of the order since he tore a hamstring while fielding against the West Indies, while leading wicket-taker Archer is still managing a nagging problem in his left side.

Morgan made it clear neither man needed to be 100 per cent fit to make the XI, a nod to the importance of a game England must win if they are to keep qualification for the semi-finals in their own hands.

Roy looks almost certain to play having missed three matches with a torn hamstring, with his stock at an all-time high in light of James Vince’s poor form as understudy. The Surrey man has been back in full training and only an unexpected adverse reaction on matchday would scupper his chances.

Archer has been ever-present so far but is also a concern. He went through a solo session of gentle middle practice, overseen by pace coach Chris Silverwood and team doctor Mark Wotherspoon, before bowling leg-spin in the nets.

A judgement call will soon need to be made and Morgan accepted there would be an element of risk.

Jason Roy has missed England’s last three matches with a torn hamstring (David Davies/PA).

Asked whether England would take a chance on Roy, he said: “If it was going to rule him out long term, absolutely not. If it was going to rule him out for a couple of weeks, yes.

“Jason is preparing to play. Providing he gets through practice and morning unscathed, we think that he might be fit to play.”

Archer will be subject to an identical equation, meaning England would theoretically be willing to put the pair’s tournament in doubt if it helped keep the team alive in the competition.

“The exact same rule applies,” he said.

“If it’s going to rule him out long term, no. If it’s going to be short term, yes. It’s the same thing he’s played with the last three games, so we’ll see how he comes through.”

Liam Plunkett stands by if Archer misses out, with Tom Curran also on hand as he awaits a first World Cup cap.

England would have liked to be in the rest and rotation phase by now, but defeats to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia have left them vulnerable.

Morgan has called for a brave response and is confident his team will not be found lacking in that regard.

“We need to show a huge amount of positivity in the way we play and back it up with the courage to play that way,” he said.

“We’ve spent four years playing one way. Because of our positivity we’ve made it look easy at times and it hasn’t looked courageous because of that. It only looks courageous when it looks challenging from the outside.”

England would like a flat pitch – the kind of surface they have excelled on in recent years but has been in short supply during the past few weeks.

While that also plays into the hands of India stars Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, Morgan would take a high-scoring shootout.

Eoin Morgan refused to discuss his own future as England captain (Steven Paston/PA).

“We want to play on the best possible wicket, preferably a batting wicket, and we always do,” he said.

“If that’s the case, we’re happy. We don’t have to think about adapting too much or fighting our natural game, we can just go out and play.”

Morgan was pressed about his own future as captain, and whether he had made a decision to continue regardless of results in the coming days, but gave the issue no oxygen.

“It’s not situation I want to talk about. It’s not about me, it’s about the team,” he said.

“There’s no talking point about around this, it’s about tomorrow’s game.”



From Belfast Telegraph