Debasis Sen, London: England cricket team’s limited overs skipper Eoin Morgan is not happy with the Indian cricket team’s selection for the first Test which the visitors lost by 31 runs. As per Morgan a classy player like Cheteshwar Pujara should definitely get a chance in India’s Test XI. In an exclusive chat with www.xtratime.in, Morgan shares his view about the series, forthcoming World Cup and other things as well.
XT: Before the Test series, the England cricket team won the ODI series against India. How much will that be a confidence booster for your side before the World Cup?
Morgan: I think it brings confidence. Especially when India have their strongest team out there. They play their big name players. I think for our younger players that haven’t played against India before it breaks down any barrier as they are playing against those big name players within the Indian team. I that’s been one of the beauties of our guys going and playing in the IPL. Ben Stokes who was the most valuable player two years ago. Jos Buttler I thought was magnificent this year. So these guys are going and playing in the biggest tournaments in the World and succeeding. I think that plays a big part.
XT: Talking about the format of the tournament we are going back to the same old format when every team plays with each one. So what do you make out of the format?
Morgan: I like the format and I like this simply on the fact that by the end of the group stages because there are so many games. There you will have the four best teams who top the group. There are opportunities after opportunities for the best teams to go and win games. As we supposed to have small groups where only two out of the four teams reach the next stage. That limits people’s progress some time.
XT: With India going down 1-0 how do you look the series setting up?
Morgan: I think the first Test match was a fascinating test match to watch. I found myself watching the majority of the game and if I miss this, I would definitely watch the highlights. My thought is that the fight between the two sides was very close. Both captains led extremely well and there wasn’t much difference between the two teams in the end. I think the result went the right way as England played marginally better cricket and it has set up the series beautifully.
XT: Obviously with Virat don’t you think that it’s becoming a one man kind of a thing for the Indian batting line up because the way Virat carried himself right throughout the test match. Do you think it’s a lack of applications from the Indian batsmen?
Morgan: No I think Virat had a very good game scoring over 200 runs. Obviously it came with an apatite and hunger to score runs in England and he delivered. I think India being the No.1 team in the world has got there by being a strong team. I don’t think one performance that can be judged on that and they are aware of that as well.
XT: What are your views on England’s performance in the first test?
Morgan: I thought there were two things stood out for me in the test match. One was Joe Root leading as I think he had a magnificent game as the captain of the side. That’s a sign that the team is in a good place and the other is the fight and character that we showed. It was a treat to watch when we were at 87 for 7 and Sam Curran came in and scored a magnificent half-century in his second Test match. You know when the team really needed that kind of a performance, Curran came in and produced with the bat which really did set the game up for us and I think to go on with the fight and character that we showed was remarkable. I think with the ball Ben Stokes and Sam Curran backed up James Anderson and Stuart Broad brilliantly. Jimmy and Broaddy are two of the best in the World and we know that what they can do.
XT: Is it a blow for England as they won’t get the service of Ben Stokes in the second Test at Lords?
Morgan: Stoksy will be missed. I think he always leaves a big hole in the side. The benefit that we have now is that Chris Woakes is a magnificent player comes back in to fill that void. The other benefit is obviously Sam Curran running on a high and confidence wise he will be ready for the Lords test match.
XT: Should India need to do more work on their playing XI? Should Pujara be a better choice in the next game as he has county experience as well?
Morgan: I think everyone including me were surprised to see that Pujara wasn’t in the playing XI. His average is 50 in Test cricket. I understand that he came early to play some county cricket. I know that he didn’t do that well but county cricket is completely different game from Test match cricket. But as per team’s concern I don’t know whether they will change the team.
XT: The experts are saying that England and India are the favourites to win the World Cup which will be played here next year here. Your thoughts about it?
Morgan: I am extremely excited. We are less than a year away from the World Cup and it’s something that we have been building for last 3 years. Since the Champions Trophy in the last year and a half we have learnt a huge amount. In the winter we went to New Zealand and then Australia. It’s the two difficult places to get results and win, but we managed to do that. That was a huge step forward for us. I think beating India at home as well helped us. So between now and next year we still need to make improvements and hopefully we can go in the tournament as contenders.