Colombo: Ticking brains as much as swinging bats will be the key to success at the World Twenty20, according to Eoin Morgan, whose view that conditions in Sri Lanka may help England has already been endorsed by showers since they arrived last week to defend the trophy.
In the absence of Kevin Pietersen, Morgan will be the most important batsman in the side because of his experience and armoury of strokes. The fate of Pietersen will be confirmed on Tuesday when England name their squad for the India Test series, with Morgan adamant that it is not a talking point among the present group.
“It is probably out of sight, out of mind,” he said, denying that mention of the errant player has been banned. “It’s not like Voldemort, it’s all right,” he added. Humour can deflect a topic more effectively than a frosty look, and the disarming comment showed that Morgan’s judgment works off as well as on the field.
Even before a ball has been lapped or switch hit in anger, he is prepared to go against the grain — and the promotional spin — in his analysis of requirements come England’s opening game, against Afghanistan in Colombo on Friday. Their first warm-up was due to take place against Australia. “It is not going to be bish-bash-boom,” Morgan said.
“If all the wickets were going to be flat, then it would be easy. But there is every chance of English-type conditions, especially with rain around and we are used to that after the summer we have had.
“Pallekele, where we are due to play our Super Eights games if we get through, will be similar to England. It does a bit there. Research suggests that it nips around and I am not sure it will be the most attractive Twenty20 cricket. Everybody talks about adapting to conditions. A lot of it is being smart about the way you go about it.”
Although another sharp spell of rain hit Colombo on Sunday morning, England were able to go through with their first net session of the trip later on. After poor weather drowned much of the home season, there would at least be some consolation if it proves to have prepared the squad for a genuine attempt at success.
Morgan himself seems to have recovered from his dreadful start to the year when his crouching stance became progressively and detrimentally lower, to the point where he was almost burying himself in the pitch. Poor form doubtless contributed to his omission from the Kolkata Knight Riders side in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“I was fortunate enough to learn quickly I needed to change,” he said. “It went so extreme that it could have taken a lot of time to rectify. The day I either stop enjoying or stop learning at the IPL, I probably won’t be there. I cannot see that day coming very soon.”