Birmingham: The England team would never have expected to land in such a situation before the start of the World Cup. The pressure to beat India is at its peak following defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia, but England skipper Eoin Morgan is fighting it with a positive frame of mind.
Without showing any kind of stress, Morgan seemed to be in a positive state of mind while taking questions on how he and his team have been handling the pressure for the game against India. “I think we’re in an extremely lucky position to be playing in a home World Cup for your own country, and that itself presents a huge opportunity,” he said. “Two more group stage games left. If we win the two, we go through to semi-finals. And if we win that, we get through to a World Cup final. So there is still a lot on the line, and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Following this confident response, especially when his team would be fighting with their backs to the wall, he was asked whether the game against India was a must-win since he had said it wasn’t so against Australia. “That’s not worth thinking about at this moment,” he replied. “Mathematically, there’s still a chance if we win one out of the two games, but certainly, we want to win tomorrow’s game. That’s a huge priority.”
I think we’re in an extremely lucky position to be playing in a home World Cup for your own country.
Is he disappointed with his players’ approach to the game, and does he feel being let down by his players as a captain? “No, I can’t fault the commitment or application that the guys have produced in every single game,” he said. “Where we’ve let ourselves down as a group is adapting to conditions. It’s been a bigger challenge in this World Cup than the previous bilateral series that we’ve played. So tomorrow’s going to be the exact same. We’re going to have to adapt to conditions, adapt to playing against a strong side in India.”
When it was pointed out about criticisms by former cricketers on England’s ability to adapt to surfaces, Morgan was very clear on what his team needed to do to stay in the race. “I think critics are there to be critical,” he said. “We haven’t performed well, so they are going to be critical. They’re entitled to their own opinion. But the support that we’ve had from our fans and everybody around the country has been unbelievable. It has been outstanding. There’s been an enormous amount of good faith and goodwill going around, and that making our tournament much more special to be a part of and to play in. With regards to the conditions, they are what they are. We cannot control them. That’s not a talking point for us. But surely it is a matter of us being better at adapting to conditions.”
Would England’s performance in the World Cup decide his future as captain of the England team? His immediate response was “No”. Would he decide to stay or go in the event England fail to progress in this tournament? “Going where?” Morgan retorted, fully aware of what the question meant. “It’s not something I want to talk about. It’s not about me. It’s not about the team. It’s about tomorrow and the following game.”
Morgan then tactfully avoided questions on Jason Roy’s fitness and Jofra Archer “Jason is preparing to play tomorrow,” he said. “Provided he gets through to practice and tomorrow morning unscathed, we think that he might be fit to play.” Regarding Archer, he added: “We’re going to see how he comes through today.”
In the end, everything remained as uncertain as the English weather — including the result of the match against India.