Morgan ready for India test in twenty20s

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Captain Eoin Morgan says it is a “rarity” for England to be at full strength in their Twenty20 series against India, which starts on Friday.

The tourists rested a number of players during the Test series, which they lost 3-1, but will be able to field their best team in the five T20s.

When asked if T20 cricket is being prioritised, Morgan said: “I don’t feel that at all.

“I feel very lucky to be able to have our strongest available squad here.”

With England resting and rotating their players across the winter, the only other occasion when they have been at full strength was the three-match T20 series against South Africa in November.

“It’s a complete rarity,” Morgan told BBC Sport.

“The last time this happened over the last 12 or 18 months was the last tour, but it was a complete fluke because we had a huge break before and a huge break after.

“It doesn’t happen. It’s nice for it to be something for us to look forward to with one eye on the World Cup.”

England are using this tour as preparation for the T20 World Cup, which will be held in India in October and November.

With England looking to add the 20-over crown to the 50-over title they won in 2019, Morgan believes this will be only opportunity for his first-choice squad to be together before the World Cup party is named.

“Given the nature of the schedule and the challenges around Covid, it’s impossible to see guys who play all three formats being available during any of our summer series,” said the 34-year-old batsman.

“That is something in the white-ball team we have learned to accept for a number of years.”

Morgan confirmed that pace bowler Jofra Archer, who missed two Tests with an elbow problem, is fit to play Friday’s series opener in Ahmedabad.

When asked about Alex Hales, who has not played for England since failing a recreational drugs test before the 2019 World Cup, Morgan said there might be the opportunity for the batsman to train with England during the home summer.

“The quality of the player – it’s never been debated about how good he is,” said Morgan. “He’s in the same category as anybody outside of the group. It’s a very strong squad of players that is very difficult to get into.”

The series sees the world’s two top-ranked T20 sides meet, with Morgan and India counterpart Virat Kohli trading opinions on who will be favourites for the World Cup.

“India are the team to beat,” said Morgan. “They are a very difficult side to beat in India. Given the World Cup is here, I think they will go into the World Cup as favourites. This going to be a great test for us.”

When asked if he agreed, Kohli said: “No, I don’t. I actually think it’s England who are the team to beat. They are the number one side in the world.

“The prime focus will be on them at the World Cup. All of the other teams will be wary of strengths that they bring on to the park. Every other team would agree with what I say. It’s England who are the favourites. That will not change regardless of how they think.”