England in New Zealand 2012-13 February 10, 2013

Morgan doubtful for second T20

ESPNcricinfo staff
22

Eoin Morgan is a doubt for England's second T20 against New Zealand after jarring his back in the field during their 40-run win in Auckland on Saturday. Morgan, who was England's top scorer with 46 from 26 balls and took a brilliant running catch to dismiss Brendon McCullum, tweaked his back later in the New Zealand innings.

The team have moved on to Hamilton, venue for the second T20 on Tuesday, and the England management will assess Morgan's fitness on Monday. If he is unable to train, Morgan's place in the side is likely to be taken by Joe Root, who came on as a substitute fielder in Auckland.

Losing Morgan would leave England without one of their most experienced T20 players as they look to secure the three-match series with a game to spare. Morgan has played 33 times in T20 internationals, putting him sixth for England, with Stuart Broad and the rested Kevin Pietersen among those above him. The most-capped England batsman in the shortest form, however, is Luke Wright, who has played 40 times since his debut in 2007.

Wright joined Alex Hales in making 99, the highest score by an Englishman in T20 cricket, at the World Twenty20 in September. In the first New Zealand T20, Wright hit four sixes in a blistering 20-ball 42, confirming his value at No. 3, and then picked up a useful 2 for 29 with the ball.

With Ashley Giles recently installed as England's limited-overs coach, Wright hopes his consistent T20 form since a recall last year can also push him into Giles' thoughts for the ODI team. "I have huge ambitions to get back in the one-day side," he said. "It's something I'm desperate to do.

"I've just got to keep knocking on the door, and keep badgering Gilo and saying 'Look mate, I'm scoring runs - what have I got to do?' If there's a spot for me, I hope he'll pick me. If there isn't, I can't do much else. Maybe come the end of the tour, it might be something I could sit down and have a chat with him about, to find out what he wants to see from me or where I can improve and give myself better chances to get in."

The Champions Trophy is a major target for England this year and much of the preferred XI is in place. However, with a technically adept top three of Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott followed by the power of Pietersen and Morgan, England could do with an allrounder to help balance the side. Wright's ODI bowling average of 57.53 weighs against him but, with Tim Bresnan undergoing further elbow surgery and the likes of Chris Woakes unproven, he could still make a case for his inclusion.

"It's quite tough obviously at the top of the order - with KP, Cookie, Belly and Trotty to come back in," Wright said of his ODI chances. "But I'd like to come into that middle order if there's no role for me at the top, and obviously my bowling might help. Batting at number three [in T20], I'm getting a key role in an England side - a responsibility that gives me a lot of confidence, and it's great to repay that faith."

Wright and Morgan helped England to their record T20 total in Auckland and with the small boundaries at Seddon Park - scene of the fastest T20 hundred, by Richard Levi a year ago - the next match could be another high-scoring one. New Zealand will have allrounders Ian Butler and Grant Elliott to choose from, after they were passed fit, and may be tempted to make changes.

The game will provide another opportunity for Ross Taylor to continue his international comeback. Mike Hesson, New Zealand's coach, was pleased to have the batsman available again, although he agreed with Taylor's assessment of their relationship, after a controversial change in the captaincy. "It was certainly good to have him back," Hesson said. "I think 'work in progress' is a good term. We're working well together ... and the longer we do that the better that relationship will be. But it's going to take a while before we're going out for coffee every week."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jmcilhinney on February 12, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    @RodStark on (February 12, 2013, 3:18 GMT), I agree with you somewhat there. Many have been calling for Trott to be dropped from the ODI team and, while I'm not as enthusiastic on that point as some, I don't see Trott as being in our best ODI team in the medium to long term. While his average is an asset while England are struggling, his strike rate is a hindrance when they're doing well. If and when the batting is performing more consistently, Trott will become more of a hindrance that a help. That said, the two poor showings with the bat in India suggest that the rest of the batting is not at that level of consistency yet, so I'd keep Trott for now. That flexibility is a good idea though. They were happy to drop Root down the order in India when they thought that he may not be able to keep up the desired strike rate so I don't think that Trott's experience should influence them into not doing the same to him. What's best for the team is what matters.

  • RodStark on February 12, 2013, 3:18 GMT

    Looking ahead, i think you have to have Trott in the first choice ODI team, but the batting order should be flexible. If the openers get off to a good start, keep Trott back. He may not need to bat at all but could probably do as well as most knocking it around in the last few overs if he came in at six or seven--even though it wouldn't be his natural game. If an early wicket falls, then send him in at three to rebuild and steer the rest of the innings in his normal style. It seems to me that flexible batting orders haven't been explored as much as they should be in the shorter formats.

  • Cricfan123123 on February 11, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    Waiting for the preview...and possible playing eleven....please if any one sure about both team's playing eleven,help me out please

  • Selassie-I on February 11, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    Gives joey root a chance so it's fine with me. Give Morgy a game off to get back to fitness and see what root can do.

  • JG2704 on February 11, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    @jackiethepen on (February 10, 2013, 23:03 GMT) I know you're going to disagree with me and it's obvious to any regular on this website why , but your man was really poor for England in ODIs up until his recall to the side , so surely guys like Wright and Hales (who I'm not sure without checking has played ODI cricket) also deserve more than one stint to prove themselves. If they fail then so be it. I personally don't think we stand much chance of winning a shorter format trophy with the adept 3 in the same side. Maybe I'll be proven wrong

  • 22many on February 11, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    where Morgan caught McCullum,, is where McCullum has been caught so many times it is where I would put my best fieldman everytime he walked to the middle and bowl to him....gambler cant help himself.

  • dummy4fb on February 11, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    Luke Wright much better player than Samit Patel.

  • jmcilhinney on February 11, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    @jackiethepen on (February 10, 2013, 23:03 GMT), I don't think that anyone is suggesting that Wright would open in ODIs. More likely he would come in at #5 or #6. As for Hales, as he's an opener by trade and has done relatively well in T20s, I'd say that he's a distinct possibility for opening in ODIs at some point. He looks quite capable of doing the job that they wanted Kieswetter and then KP to do at the top of the order, i.e. hit out in the first 10 overs and get them off to a flyer. Bell doesn't have the same big shots as KP or even Hales but they seem content at the moment to make a steadier start in the interest of keeping wickets in hand. The question remains whether Bell and Cook are the men to open when they are chasing a big total. He should be capable of scoring quicker early if the need arises, but then he should be capable of a better Test average than he has too. If Bell doesn't work out in the medium to long term then I'd be fine with Hales being his replacement.

  • landl47 on February 11, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    It's good to see that Wright has higher aspirations; every cricketer should want to be the best they can be. He's certainly a much better player than a couple of years ago and England does need a batsman who can bowl to provide cover in their ODI side. Which of the top 5 he would displace is the tricky question.

    To cover for Morgan, if he's unfit for the next game, it pretty much has to be Root. I guess the selectors could take a flier on Woakes as a replacement for Morgan, but I'd rather see Woakes come in for Dernbach (I doubt Woakes will be throwing down any 5 no-ballers in the last over) and Root for Morgan, with Buttler moving up a position. That makes the side Hales, Lumb, Wright, Bairstow, Buttler, Root, Patel, Woakes, Broad, Tredwell, Finn. That's 4 seamers and 3 who take pace off the ball and batting down to #10. It's also a very young side, with only Lumb and Tredwell over 30 and 6 players of 24 or under. I like the balance in that side.