Former England captain Nasser Hussain has reminded that current skipper Eoin Morgan is unique and has gone through bad spells of form before. He also hoped that one good innings will click things for Morgan. Morgan, who led Kolkata Knight Riders to runners-up position in IPL 2021, had a horrid time with the bat, scoring just 133 runs in 17 matches with an average of 11.08 and strike rate of 95.68.
“Then there is the form of the captain himself. Morgan’s leadership, as we saw with Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, is as good as ever and in big tournaments, England would not want anybody else in charge. The players hang on to his every word. But he has been very short of runs and he will want to put that right against India or New Zealand,” wrote Hussain in his column for Daily Mail on Monday.
“We have to remember Morgan is unique and has gone through spells like this. Then it usually just takes one good innings, everything clicks and he doesn
t look back. England want him to get on another positive streak as soon as possible. That, particularly in the absence of another player of experience in Ben Stokes, would be a very important part of completing the England World Cup jigsaw,” added Hussain, who is currently in Dubai as a member of the commentary team in the men’s T20 World Cup.
Hussain pointed out that England have to take a decision around top-ranked T20I batter Dawid Malan, who takes time to get into the groove. “Batting-wise, the decisions Morgan has to make revolve around Dawid Malan, who remains the No1 ranked batsman in world T20 cricket. His stats are incredibly good but they also tell you he takes time and uses up deliveries in the powerplay and then catches up.”
“That is fine in most places around the world but on the slow and used pitches of the United Arab Emirates, the powerplay is absolutely vital because it gets harder and harder to catch up. I would give Malan first dibs at No 3 be’ause he’s earned it but there are other options.”
Hussain felt that England can explore Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone as options for number three if Malan doesn’t do well. “Chennai Super Kings used Moeen Ali differently to England in this year’s IPL and Morgan would have seen first-hand in the final how effective he can be higher up the order. Moeen has been out of England’s side and when he has played it has been lower down the order, but the pitches will turn here, and both the bowling of spin and playing of it will be paramount, which makes him a potentially important figure.”
“As too will be Liam Livingstone, who last summer was the man who lifted England to those above-par scores. His emergence as their best finisher has been magnificent and after a quiet IPL he must now show he can still smash it on these pitches.”
Hussain signed off by saying that warm-up matches will help England test their options on slow pitches to boost their chances of competing in a unique World Cup double in men’s cricket. “It is good England are playing two teams of quality from the other group in India and New Zealand ahead of Saturday’s tournament opener against West Indies because they need to be properly tested on the pitches they will find here.”
“England remain a team full of power but they showed in the 50-over World Cup they can adapt to slower surfaces and in low-scoring games. Now they have to do the same over the shorter distance. Then they can complete that unique World Cup double.”