Kolkata: The Indian Premier League (IPL) got a major thumbs up from England’s white ball captain Eoin Morgan when he said the cash-rich league played a “huge part” in the development of the England players ahead of their victorious 50-overs World Cup triumph in 2019.
“Certainly, the first few times I went to the IPL, I never had gone through an experience like it, and I have learnt a huge amount over the years that I have been there,” the 34-year-old said ahead of their T20 series against India.
An assessment like this is perhaps no exaggeration as Morgan, who will be captaining Kolkata Knight Riders this season, was one of the first few England players - after the likes of Kevin Pietersen - to have taken the plunge with an offer from KKR in 2012. The scenario has undergone a sea change since then with as many as 13 players of the 16-member T20 team are part of the team rosters with the likes of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow and Morgan being the match-winners in their respective sides.
In many ways, they have surpassed the Australians and South Africans for giving hard-hitters and impact players for the IPL sides.
Giving an insight to England’s plans for the World T20 this year, Morgan felt their Test captain Joe Root could be an option. Root was England’s top scorer in the 2016 World Cup final when they lost to West Indies but has not played a Twenty20 International since May 2019.
The right-hander has found it increasingly difficult to break into England’s explosive top-order but Morgan would not slam the door on Root yet.
“When we look back to the 2016 World Cup campaign that led to us going to the final, Joe was a huge part of that,” Morgan said. “Due to the schedule restrictions, Joe needs rest. It’s a very huge amount of strain doing what he does being our very best batsman and also being Test captain at the same time.
“Certainly Joe could be an option come the World Cup.” Root left India after England’s 3-1 loss in the Test series.
England’s controversial rotation policy, aimed at keeping their multi-format players fresh, meant they could not field their strongest XI in every Test.
In contrast, Morgan has a full-strength squad at his disposal for the Twenty20 series which assumes more importance considering they would return to India for the 20-overs World Cup later this year.
“I think we are very fortunate to have the full strength squad here,” Morgan, who led England to their maiden 50-overs World Cup win two years ago, said.
“Certainly with one eye on the World Cup in seven months time, it’s an opportunity to try and replicate teams and roles within the side that we might need to iron out before we get to the World Cup,’’ he added.