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Sports - March 25, 2019

‘Shift in emphasis to ODIs has helped England’

LONDON: England’s limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan said switching focus to One-day International (ODI) cricket had helped to raise the bar of the sport in the country with the team looking at the Ashes and World Cup on home soil as equally important.

England are the number-one ranked team in ODIs and are hosts for the 2019 World Cup, a tournament they have never won, which begins on May 30. The first of five Ashes Tests against Australia starts on Aug 1.

“The two [Test and ODI] teams are building up to a big summer and you have guys who are in both squads that equally feel the importance of the Ashes and the World Cup,” Morgan was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

“The recognition from those players to say there is not a lot of difference between the two, and that it is a massive year and a once-in-a-generation opportunity, shows there has been a shift in emphasis to one-day cricket in this country.

“Our potential as a team over the last four years has certainly moved forward, with the desire to make 50-over cricket a priority, as opposed to an afterthought. That has benefited not just our team, but the game too, and helped to raise the bar.”

Five English players, including Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, are currently playing in the Indian Premier League, which Morgan said was ideal preparation for the World Cup.

“The preparation they will have out there by competing against some of the best players in the world in a high-pressure environment is absolutely outstanding,” Morgan added.

“The conditions, the build-up and putting yourself under more pressure leading into the World Cup is obviously going to help in the long run.”

England begin their World Cup campaign on May 30 against South Africa at The Oval.

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2019

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