England captain does this strong batting line-up to take a backward step


It’s different strokes for Morgan era! England captain does not want this incredibly strong batting line-up to take a backward step and play old-fashioned cricket

  • Both these teams have very watchable batting line-ups but there is a difference
  • India’s Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli take their time and soak up the pressure
  • They may do so as they know England lack their death bowlers, Archer & Woakes
  • Whereas Eoin Morgan does not want his team to play such old-fashioned cricket 

Both these teams have very watchable batting line-ups but there is an intriguing difference between them.

While India play to get a par score most times, England look to go above par every time. They see the game so differently.

India, with two of the greatest white-ball batters there have ever been in their top three — Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli — try to bat normally through the first powerplay. It’s not as if they are slouches when it comes to strike rates, but they take their time and soak up pressure. It’s old-fashioned, 50-over cricket from five years ago. It’s almost as if they are playing a 30-over game initially in which they are intent on keeping wickets in hand, followed by a Twenty20 innings.

Both have very watchable batting line-ups but there is an intriguing difference between them

Both have very watchable batting line-ups but there is an intriguing difference between them

On Friday, they were only two wickets down when they hit that final 20, and they know that they have Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya in their middle order, who can go ballistic during that period.

One of the reasons they still play like this is that they are yet to introduce a hitter into their top order — such as Ishan Kishan or Suryakumar Yadav. Another reason, perhaps, is that they know England are lacking their death bowlers, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes.

The problem with setting things up in this way for such a big last 10 overs — even though India scored 126 — is that it invariably takes them to a par total.

Rohit Sharma (above) and Virat Kohli take their time and soak up the pressure - old-fashioned

Rohit Sharma (above) and Virat Kohli take their time and soak up the pressure – old-fashioned

They may bat like that as they know England are lacking their death bowlers, Archer & Woakes

They may bat like that as they know England are lacking their death bowlers, Archer & Woakes

That’s what 336 for six was on a small Pune ground with a flat wicket.

In contrast, England’s approach is to see each of those allotted 50 overs as an opportunity to score.

I found Eoin Morgan’s interview after the defeat in the first match of the series fascinating. That’s the way we play, he said, after England had lost their way from 135 without loss.

It reminded me of when I interviewed him at the Ageas Bowl in 2015 after they had been bowled out in 45.2 overs by New Zealand. I asked him if he was cross that his team had not batted out the overs. His answer was no. He didn’t want his team to be old school, he didn’t want his side going backwards in their approach.

There were new batters in the team for the second match on Friday and Morgan clearly didn’t want any of them in any doubt about the required method.

I found Eoin Morgan’s interview after the defeat in the first match of the series fascinating

I found Eoin Morgan’s interview after the defeat in the first match of the series fascinating

It reminded me of when I interviewed him at the Ageas Bowl in 2015 after they had been bowled out in 45.2 overs by New Zealand (above)

It reminded me of when I interviewed him at the Ageas Bowl in 2015 after they had been bowled out in 45.2 overs by New Zealand (above)

England can tone it down if they need to, as they showed in winning the World Cup — a much lower-scoring tournament than expected.

But Morgan does not want this incredibly strong batting line-up to take a backward step.

Yes, there will be the odd aberration, as we saw the other day, but the key for them is to reinforce the mindset for the next generation of players coming through.

This is because one or two established members of the squad might not be around when England defend their world title in 2023.

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