Eoin Morgan remains coy on whether Joe Root is part of England's future T20 plans
England’s white-ball teams are the house that Jack built. Jack is Eoin Morgan, and Morgan knows his mind.
Reputations mean nothing to Morgan who is only interested in what is going to win global trophies for his team. Alex Hales thought it he was an indispensable member of England’s World Cup squad. The next minute he was not.
So the England Test captaincy is no guarantee that Joe Root will be a member of England’s team or even squad for the World T20 finals in Australia this time next year. Morgan has dropped Root before - not from the 50-over team, where Root is unquestionably worth his place, but from the 20-over team - and Morgan gives the impression he will do it again.
Before the fifth and final T20 at Eden Park, Morgan was specifically asked whether Root would be in the World T20 side, along with those whose places are guaranteed like Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes. His initial reply was diplomatic: “It’s too far away.”
But it was far from a ringing endorsement when Morgan was pressed further about Root and how he wants to play for England in 20-over cricket as well as every other format. “Yeah, he does - and given the nature of Joe’s schedule and others, they don’t have a lot of opportunities to play Twenty20 cricket.”Credit: AFP
In so many words, therefore: as T20 evolves, Root is getting left behind.
Dawid Malan, who scored the second T20 century for England in the fourth game of this series at Napier, would seem to have more of a chance - with a caveat. “He’s played really well and probably the most impressive thing that got him on the tour was those first four or five games (when Malan scored several 50s) - and the fact he scored them in Australia (and New Zealand) where the World Cup is being played.”
The caveat is that Malan did not look to run off the last ball of England’s innings, when Tim Southee bowled a bouncer to Sam Billings who ducked so the ball passed through to the wicketkeeper - with Malan missing the chance of a bye.
“If we get guys who are not running off the last ball of the game because they want to get a not-out, there’s something to address.” Morgan was not happy with an England record total of 241 for three, because it could have been 242.
Malan had a ready explanation though, that he had a “meltdown” and thought there was still another over to go. Most of us would forgive a batsman who has just scored a brilliant 103. Morgan is another matter. Maybe Malan has done enough - to be in England’s World T20 squad, but not team.