England have arrived to play three ODIs and T20Is each after a rejuvenating Christmas break, having suffered a 4-0 defeat in the Test series.
England’s limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan was busy playing in the Big Bash T20 League in Australia. In his last match before leaving for India, he slammed an unbeaten 71, capped by a last-ball six, helping Sydney Thunder clinch a thriller against Melbourne Stars.
Morgan will hope to maintain his good form in India where he has featured in only one ODI series, in 2012-13, scoring 94 runs in five matches.
England will not just hope for the scars of the Test series defeat to heal, but will be chasing their first ODI series in India since 1984-85, when David Gower’s team beat Sunil Gavaskar’s men 4-1.
Morgan is confident his team can give India, with Virat Kohli taking over as skipper from MS Dhoni, a tough time. He points to England’s record in the last couple of years of doing well in the ODI series after poor Test performances.
England beat Bangladesh 2-1 in the ODIs after drawing the Test series 1-1. They drew the Test series against Pakistan 2-2 at home, but came back to clinch the ODI series 4-1.
Morgan spoke to HT on the sidelines of a promotional event by Waitrose. He touched on England’s chances in the series, India’s change of guard and how he is banking on IPL experience to adapt to Indian conditions.
How do you see England’s chances this time?
Coming to India and playing any form of cricket is tough. India is very strong at home. Any series you play away from home is always a tough one. And playing here in particular is tough. But certainly, in the last two years as a side, we have been really positive. The series we won at home (versus Pakistan and Sri Lanka last year), particularly with the form that we need to show with the Champions Trophy coming up and the 2019 World Cup (also at home) holds a lot of weight.
It’s been three decades since England won an ODI series in India
We haven’t played (ODIs) here recently. It has been just Tests. There are tough challenges here, particularly with the conditions and we know that. We have been to places like the UAE and won (3-1 against Pakistan). (If) we focus on the right games and adapt to conditions, we are going to be a tough team to beat.
Will the Test series loss India have any bearing?
Over the past two years, it hasn’t. And traditionally, probably over a longer period of time, you find whatever format you play last, you normally improve on. This side in particular hasn’t been affected. There have been a lot of changes between the Test and ODI teams. They bring new energy and a different attitude.
How will the IPL experience help England?
Jos (Buttler) has played for Mumbai Indians and a lot of guys have different experience. Hopefully, we will see the same this year. A lot of (our) guys are going in the auction. The experience of playing under pressure the whole time from the big crowd and a lot of expectations is a good practice.
Kohli will be India’s new leader. How do you view him?
I have no idea… I have never played under Virat or MS. I haven’t watched him (Kohli) in the Tests. I was in the Big Bash.
How do you rate Dhoni’s captaincy stint?
He is an exceptional captain. He led India to World Cup victories (2007 World T20 and 2011 50-over World Cup), and that is a huge achievement.