Eoin Morgan, the England limited-overs captain, has hinted at the possibility of playing three spinners against Pakistan in the first One-Day International of the five-match series starting Wednesday (August 24). With England scheduled to play Bangladesh and India in the sub-continent, Morgan is already looking ahead to those tours especially in the presence of all-rounder Liam Dawson, who recently made his debut against Sri Lanka in the one-off Twenty20 International.
The left-arm spinner could now find a spot in the playing XI alongside Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid. “Having Liam Dawson brings the option of playing three spinners and that is something we might have to take into consideration as we look ahead to the winter tours of Bangladesh and India,” Morgan said on the eve of the series opener.
“It will be a very tough series against Pakistan, especially as the recent weather means conditions may suit them more than they suit us initially. It is a good test leading into the winter.”
Morgan also confirmed that Ben Stokes will be playing purely as a batsman in the side, at least for the first two matches, despite bowling a bit in the nets. The Durham all-rounder missed the third and fourth Test against Pakistan after suffering a calf injury during the second Test at Old Trafford but then represented his County side on Finals Day on Saturday (August 20) where he didn’t bowl.
With Pakistan winning the final Test to square the series 2-2, Morgan is vary of the threat the visitors can now pose in the limited-overs series. “I think it’s hugely important playing against Pakistan who are flying high at the minute, in Test cricket, but that rubs off on any side doing well,” he said.
“Also when teams tour places they don’t come to that often they get better as they go along, so that’s another challenge. With the way we’ve been performing we’d like to think we are progressing nicely but we have a tough series ahead and a tough winter.”
The skipper sympathized with opener Alex Hales following his horror show in the Test series where he averaged only 18 and backed the right-hander to deliver in the ODIs. “Alex played very well in the limited-overs matches in South Africa last winter even though he didn’t have the best time in the Tests,” he said.
‘He played out of his skin. I have been in that position before and it’s a nice feeling to be able to play with freedom in white-ball cricket. He has the backing of everyone.”