England captain Eoin Morgan says development more important than winning in West Indies T20 series

[22-01-2022 07:46 PM]

Ammon News - England begin five-match T20 series against West Indies on Saturday; George Garton, David Payne and Harry Brook could make international debuts; Phil Salt in line for first T20I appearance; Sam Billings available for selection after arriving from Ashes duty.

England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan says the development of his side is more important than winning during the five-match T20 international series in the West Indies.

Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Mark Wood and Ben Stokes are among those missing due to their Ashes exertions, so there could be international debuts for left-arm seamers David Payne and George Garton and batter Harry Brook in Saturday's series opener (8pm UK time).

Opener Phil Salt could also play his first T20I having featured in three one-day internationals against Pakistan last summer.

A batch of England players, including Garton, Saqib Mahmood and James Vince, have been playing in the Big Bash League in Australia, the venue for the next T20 World Cup later this year.

Asked whether remaining in the BBL would have been better preparation for the World Cup than a series in the Caribbean, Morgan said: "This takes guys out of their comfort zone a lot more.

"Unless they play in finals or games that go to the wire in the Big Bash, [then] I would agree with you but not many have been close games.

"Here will take them out of their comfort zone because West Indies are a very talented side. They bat to number 11.

"I think the whole tour is one where the development of our game is actually more important than the series win."

Liam Livingstone will miss the first T20 because of an illness not related to Covid but wicketkeeper Sam Billings is in contention.

Billings initially looked unlikely to be available for this weekend's double-header - the second fixture is at 8pm GMT on Sunday - after joining England's Ashes squad and making his Test debut in Hobart.

But the early finish to the game in Tasmania - Joe Root's side beaten inside three days as they suffered a 4-0 series defeat - allowed the Kent player to arrive in the Caribbean with time to spare.

England thrashed West Indies in the T20 World Cup in the UAE in October, skittling the Caribbean side for just 55 during a six-wicket victory in the group stage.

A different-looking Windies side will line-up in Barbados over the next week, with Dwayne Bravo retiring from international cricket after the World Cup and Chris Gayle overlooked.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said: "We have moved on, we can't keep harping on about the past.

"These guys have done great for us and they're legends in their own right, it's about time we started to focus on what is needed right now.

"I don't think any of the focus is on what we had before, it's about what we can do at present to get better for the West Indies."

West Indies recently lost 2-1 to Ireland in an ODI series on home soil.

Pollard added: "We need to improve the way we play in all departments.

"Batting has definitely been a problem for us but the good thing about it is we have some new faces in the group, guys looking to make a name for themselves in the international scene and in world cricket.

"We just need to be able to do the basics right, play the situation and not the game. For us, it's like starting from scratch."


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