Playing 50, looking at 20: India-England ODI series useful in firming plans for T20 World Cup

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Lots has been at stake throughout England’s tour of India.

The riveting T20I series served as an audition for the World Cup scheduled later in the yr. Prior to that, the four-match Test series determined who will face New Zealand in the World Test Championship remaining.

But the three-match ODI series to be held behind closed doorways in Pune at the fag finish of the sojourn presents little context and relevance, with back-to-back T20 World Cups pencilled in earlier than the following 50-over showpiece occasion in 2023.

Last yr, India captain Virat Kohli raised eyebrows when he stated ODIs had been “not relevant” in the yr of a T20 World Cup. The occasion was later postponed by a yr as a result of pandemic, however there was some fact to Kohli’s assertion. The 50-over ICC World Cup was as soon as cricket’s largest prize, however in current instances, the ODI format has been caught in someplace between the five-day format and the T20s.

Just to present a sign of how a lot this format has fallen in the pecking order in current instances, take into account England’s current schedule. Since their 2019 World Cup triumph, England have performed solely 9 ODIs — profitable 4 and dropping 4, with one recreation washed out.

When Kohli was requested concerning the rationale of enjoying an ODI series in a yr that has the World Test championship in addition to the T20 World Cup, he urged directors to seek the advice of gamers earlier than finalising the calendar, particularly with the distinctive scenario due to the continued pandemic. “Scheduling is something that’s not in our control. For us, international games… every game is important and every game has value. It’s an opportunity to represent your team. For us, that remains our sole focus,” he stated throughout a digital press convention. “I’ve said this before also, scheduling and workload, everyone will have to be very aware of and keep an eye out for. You never know when restrictions can come in place. In future, we might have to play in bubbles so it’s very important to consider how much cricket we are playing.”

A matter of priorities

Does this imply that the 50-over format has gone out of vogue? Not fairly. Barely two years in the past, this format witnessed arguably ‘The greatest game ever played’ between England and New Zealand at Lord’s. This yr, nonetheless, groups are taking a practical method and focusing extra on Tests in addition to the 20-over format.

But a white-ball contest between India and England in both format invariably throws up thrilling duels.

“It’s going to be exciting, three games at the same ground against a very strong Indian side is a huge opportunity for everyone to get back out there, in the frame of mind and the pace of 50-over cricket, and for guys who want to make their case in both formats,” England captain Eoin Morgan stated.

Even although this series presents little context in the grander scheme of issues, Morgan will probably be eyeing the 60 World Cup Super League factors up for grabs (India have already certified for the 2023 World Cup as hosts).

Chance to impress

That aside, he reckoned this series could be useful in offering fringe gamers comparable to Sam Billings and Liam Livingstone a chance to push their case for inclusion in the T20 World Cup squad. “We see the 50-over format between the two T20 World Cups as a building block for our squad. And that’s not compromising on performance at all. We feel we have an extremely strong squad outside of our final eleven regardless of format, so it will present opportunities for guys like that,” he opined. “Given a World Cup is around the corner, playing any cricket is a huge opportunity for guys who have been here on the fringes and not made the selection so far. When you score runs or take wickets away from home there is always a huge incentive to try and push your case forward,” he defined.

For the England skipper, this series would give his workforce one other alternative to agency up their plans and acclimatise with Indian situations after his workforce’s 2-3 loss in the T20I series.

“Trying to envisage where 50-over cricket will be in three years is quite difficult. So, the challenge for us is always trying to explore and push the limits as much as we can. In conditions that are a little bit alien to us, like in India, it’s nice to get out of your comfort zone, and learn more about your team and your players, make mistakes and learn from them,” he concluded.

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