Eoin Morgan was 'extremely proud' of England's fringe stars

Eoin Morgan says he was ‘extremely proud’ of England’s fringe stars after ODI whitewash over Pakistan… and with stars returning he promises opportunities for the whole 16-man squad in T20 series ahead of the World Cup later this year

  • England’s first Twenty20 international will take place against Pakistan on Friday 
  • The bulk of the first-choice squad are back after being forced into isolation
  • A reserve team stood in for Eoin Morgan’s side as they won the ODI series 3-0 
  • The England captain has promised opportunties for the whole 16-man party

England’s plethora of white-ball stars return to the big stage on Friday for the first Twenty20 international against Pakistan delighted at how their understudies stole the show.

The bulk of the first-choice squad forced into isolation when four players and four management staff tested positive for Covid are back at Trent Bridge knowing they have a hard act to follow in Ben Stokes and his triumphant babes.

‘Everybody within our group was extremely proud to see them play the way they did,’ said captain Eoin Morgan of a shadow squad who triumphed 3-0 in the one-day series.

Eoin Morgan admitted he was extremely proud of England’s fringe stars after their ODI whitewash over Pakistan

‘The method our team plays is starting to resonate around the country and considering where we were in 2015 that’s a huge achievement. It’s also a tribute to anybody who was in our World Cup group because the way they play has had such an impact.’

So a virtual first choice squad, minus those who tested positive and a couple rested with the India Test series in mind, will be back for the last home T20 series before October’s World Cup, with Morgan promising opportunities for the whole 16-man party.

That will include Saqib Mahmood, Lewis Gregory and Matt Parkinson, who were among those who seized their surprise promotion with elan in the 50-over series and are now given a chance to gate-crash the T20 World Cup party.

Saqib Mahmood (left) and Lewis Gregory (right) were rewarded for their performances with a call-up to the T20 squad

‘The priority throughout the next three games will be treating this as if it’s our last chance to look at guys in various positions,’ said Morgan. ‘We don’t know what’s ahead so we need to look at our strength in depth. You’ll see us going through various options.’

The one big option not available to Morgan is his talisman in Stokes, with Morgan striking a note of caution about the broken finger the deputy who stepped in for him with such aplomb has been carrying.

‘Ben dug us out of a huge hole coming back early from injury,’ said Morgan. ‘Captaining the way he did was a huge example of the leader he is within our side.

Ben Stokes has been rested as he continues his recovering from a broken finger

‘We gave him every chance to be fit for this series but his finger hasn’t come along as he and the medical team would have liked. So it’s important it is as good as it can be for the Tests against India.’

The first of five Tests starts back at Trent Bridge on August 4 and the fragility of cricket this summer was further illustrated when India confirmed Sportsmail’s story on Thursday that one of their players had tested positive.

India revealed the player is Rishabh Pant and also said one of their backroom staff in Dayanand Garani had also tested positive. The pair will delay their arrival at India’s training camp in Durham while they isolate along with close contacts Bharath Arun, Wriddhiman Saha and Abimanyu Easwaran.

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