Eoin Morgan seeks England improvement on slow pitches ahead of 2023 World Cup in India

Captain Eoin Morgan hopes playing on slower pitches in the ODI series against Australia will help England identify key areas to improve in ahead of the 2023 World Cup in India.

Morgan, speaking on his 34th birthday, insists there is no danger of England coasting after winning their first 50-over global title on home soil last summer.

Rather his immediate focus is improving a fielding display that in the recent T20 series against Australia he described as “second-rate” and challenging his players – the seamers in particular – to improve their skills in conditions more akin to those found in the subcontinent.


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“It’s a huge benefit to us playing at Old Trafford, particularly if we play on the wicket that we think we’re going to play on which will be slow and that will take a lot of turn – that’s both our weakest point and it’s more than likely what we’re likely to play on in 2023,” Morgan said.

“If we had a choice of grounds to only play at for the next year, this would be one of them as it exposes us in a number of different areas and we need to get better at playing on those types surfaces.

“I think over the course of the last four-and-a-half years we had to wait, either to play at Cardiff, or Old Trafford – or go away on a winter tour – to experience those conditions.

“So hopefully we’ll learn more and up-skill in what we need to do to try and get better on those types of pitches.”

Morgan is fit to play in Friday’s first one-day international after recovering from a dislocated finger and England have a full 14-man squad to choose from.

The party includes Test captain Joe Root who remains surplus to England’s T20 plans and so missed out on the 2-1 success over Australia but who, in Morgan’s view, remains integral to the 50-over side in his position at number three.

“Joe is one of the best players in the world. He’s been in great form recently at Yorkshire so hopefully he can take that form into this series,” said Morgan.

“He reiterated during the World Cup how valuable a player he is to us. I think he’s undersold a lot of the time in white-ball cricket. He’s extremely versatile in what he does.

“His dot ball percentage is unbelievably low, his average (51.05) is high and his strike-rate (87.40) is high, which is all you can ask from your number three.”

England all-rounder Moeen Ali hailed his team-mate Adil Rashid as the best spinner in the world after the leg-spinner’s 3-21 in the third T20 – Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch and Steve Smith his victims – and it is a description Morgan happily supports.

“I think he’s the number one variation bowler in the world. He’s continued to improve his game and the span of the pace that he bowls has expanded, particularly this summer.

“The ball is in his court whether he wants to play Test cricket – only he can answer if the drive and ambition is still there – but he’s been in as fine a form as I’ve seen him.”

England Men’s ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (Middlesex) (captain), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire), Tom Banton (Somerset), Sam Billings (Kent), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Sam Curran (Surrey), Tom Curran (Surrey), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

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