England may ring the changes against Pakistan tomorrow at Trent Bridge
Eoin Morgan remained tight lipped over prospect of shuffling his pack ahead of the England v Pakistan clash at Trent Bridge tomorrow.
Morgan doesn’t give much away, to a question about his trademark ‘poker face’ he responded ‘this is just my normal face’, which sort of underlines the point.
But after watching their next ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup opponents struggle under a barrage of short-pitched deliveries against the West Indies here in Nottingham, Morgan may well tinker with the winning formula that claimed a 104-run victory over South Africa.
Mark Wood sat out England’s opening match and has bowled just 13 overs this season, as he continues to manage a troublesome ankle injury, though team officials stress he is fully fit.
The prospect of him opening the bowling with fellow speed ace Jofra Archer is certainly one to relish, unless you are a Pakistan batsman, with either Liam Plunkett or Chris Woakes stepping down.
“There’s a good case for all our bowlers,” said Morgan.
“Nobody can bowl their best every game, it’s not possible. You can’t have batsman getting 100 every game either, so we need to take every day as it comes.
“Because of the gap between the games you can manage the workload. We think more about the opposition and the ground when it comes to selection.”
Trent Bridge is a ground with happy memories for England, their two highest scores in ODI cricket, 444 and a world record 481 both set here in the past three years.
Pakistan trained on the pitch but England, who were only planning a light session, were forced indoors by rainy conditions, which thankfully aren’t expected for Monday’s match.
And this is certainly a toss to win, with Pakistan’s top order - who have one of the lowest strike rates in world cricket - not likely to relish a hostile spell of mid-morning chin music from England’s seam attack.
“We enjoy chasing, there’s always an advantage psychologically to knowing what you need to get,” added Morgan.
The England captain knows expectation will increase with every win but he’s not taking Pakistan for granted ahead, despite their winless run which now stretches to 11 one-day international matches.
Morgan didn’t have to look far for evidence that every outsider has a puncher’s chance, the morning headlines dominated by news of heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua’s shock defeat in New York.
Pakistan’s preparations have been far from smooth, a 5-0 series defeat to Australia followed by a 4-0 loss to England last month.
But, despite the score line, it would be a stretch to claim they were heavily beaten by the hosts, they averaged 339 with the bat to England’s 356, and but for a few sloppy moments in the field, things could have looked quite different.
And then there’s the memories of their last tournament encounter, when Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side shocked the hosts to win their Champions Trophy semi-final in Cardiff, on their way to lifting the trophy against India.
“We’ve prepared for Pakistan at their best, they were the best side in the world just two years ago we’ll be ready for their A game,” said Morgan, who admits confidence is high following the Ben Stokes inspired win at the Oval.
"The mood in the camp is great, we want to come in fresh to get the best out of ourselves. We are in good form but that doesn’t give us the right to win the game.
“Getting that first win gives us a sneak peek into the exposure we might have in the next few weeks, it engages everyone from kids to grandparents. It’s sets the tournament up really well and when Ben does well it rubs off on other people.”
©Cricket World 2019