Moeen Alli calls for England to move on from Eoin Morgan era ahead of historic Pakistan tour
oeen Ali said on Monday that the time had come for England to move on from the Eoin Morgan era. As their historic tour of Pakistan gets underway on Tuesday, it did not appear they had much choice.
The opener in Karachi is the first of seven T20Is over the next fortnight, England’s first matches on Pakistani soil for 17 years and a series which, in an ideal world, would be a chance for head coach Matthew Mott and captain Jos Buttler to fine-tune ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next month, following a poor start to their white-ball leadership this summer.
With a baffling maze of injury and availability issues to navigate, however, fine-tuning is not really on the cards.
Most of those who were regulars under Morgan remain integral but several are either absent entirely (Ben Stokes is resting, Liam Livingstone and Chris Jordan on the comeback trail) or not likely to feature until later in the tour after injuries (Mark Wood, Reece Topley, Chris Woakes and Buttler himself).
Jonny Bairstow would have fallen into the former category had it not been for his freak injury, which prompted the recall of Alex Hales, the clearest embodiment of post-Morganism imaginable.
Surrey’s Will Jacks and Middlesex’s Tom Helm are two of five uncapped players in the squad, while Ben Duckett has played only a solitary T20I, three years ago. None of that group, however, are due to go to Australia and have been told only injury could open the door to the World Cup.
Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran and stand-in skipper Moeen are in Pakistan and are locks for the opener against Afghanistan in Perth, leaving those who are both pushing a case for selection and actually eligible to be selected a rare breed.
Buttler’s injury at least means opportunity for Hales and Phil Salt, who are effectively in a shootout for one berth at the top of the order. Salt was picked first in the initial squad and could relieve Buttler of the burden of having to keep as well as captain, but Hales is a supreme figure in franchise cricket and England have surely not taken on the baggage of his recall to have him carry drinks.
Harry Brook, meanwhile, will try to give England reason to stray from their bowler-heavy preference in balancing the side, while David Willey will hope they stick with it and could steal a march on absent rivals.