Eoin Morgan speaks of fondness for T20 tri-series ahead of Australia clash
England kick-off the Trans-Tasman series against Australia in Hobart.
England captain Eoin Morgan is enthused about taking part in international cricket’s first Twenty20 tri-series but doubts there is room in the calendar for it to become a regular feature.
The Trans-Tasman contest, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, sees each side play each other twice before a showpiece final in Auckland – a familiar format in the 50-over game but a first for its shorter cousin.
England begin against Australia in Hobart on Wednesday and, if successful, face the prospect of five games in a fortnight having played just seven T20s in the whole of 2017.
As a limited-overs specialist that appeals to Morgan, even if it proves the exception rather than the rule in an increasingly crowded fixture list.
“I’m a massive fan of tri-series, they bring the competitive nature out in every team,” he said.
“In a tournament basis you have the carrot of a final at the end, so I’m all for them. If we could play more, we would but I don’t think it’s viable with travel schedules around the world.”
England were without four players when the tuned up for the series with a demolition job on the Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra, but are looking healthier after a couple of days in Tasmania.
Jason Roy and Alex Hales are due to reclaim their positions at the head of the innings, despite David Willey smashing Ashes-winning spinner Nathan Lyon for 34 in an over when asked to deputise.
Roy has recovered well from back spasms and has been batting normally in the nets, while the hand injury Hales sustained when dropping a catch in the final match of the one-day series has settled well.
In the seam department Chris Jordan is fit to go after shaking off a minor hamstring complaint but Liam Plunkett, who also injured a hamstring in the third ODI, is not quite ready for action.
Who makes the final XI remains to be seen as Morgan and head coach Trevor Bayliss look to compensate for the absence of three regular all-rounders – the rested Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes, who is preparing for his February 13 appearance at magistrates’ court.
“We have guys who are pressing cases for different positions the whole time, they’re good decisions to be making,” said Morgan.
“The wicket looked a completely different wicket as I walked out than when I first did on Monday. I think it’ll look different again for the game so the balance of the side will be under consideration.
“The guys who trained yesterday came out well, Hales and Roy. Plunkett’s still making progress and more than likely not going to be fit for the first game but Jordan came through nicely and should be fit.”
Morgan will be hoping to make an impression with the bat in the next two weeks, having endured a lean run during the side’s 4-1 victory in the 50-over contest.
Despite his struggles the 31-year-old captained brilliantly throughout the series, particularly in the field, and will try to marshal his resources equally well in a format that can discourage calm heads.
“It’s a difficult balance but it’s about playing it as you see it when you’re out there, taking a reasonable gamble when you think it’s worth it,” he said.
“It’s getting your big match-winners, your most effective guys, into the right match-ups as early as possible.”