There will be no complaints from Eoin Morgan, irrespective of the conditions England encounter during the T20I series in India.
Morgan, England’s limited-overs captain, accepts the tour is likely to prove “a challenge” for his players but, with a T20 World Cup to be played in India towards the end of the year, he knows it presents an excellent opportunity to gain experience in such conditions.
In particular, he is relishing the chance for his team to get to grips with playing on turning surfaces. All five matches in this series will be played on the Ahmedabad square which proved so helpful for spinners during the two Tests at the venue, so Morgan is anticipating – and welcoming – the prospect of low-scoring matches.
“We’ve been in great form in T20 cricket,” Morgan said of his No.1-ranked side. “We’ve had some confidence along the way and picked up some serious wins over the last two years, which is great.
“But also we need to develop our game and go into a World Cup with as few weaknesses as possible. I think having the strongest squad available to us, which doesn’t really happen that often, allows us to play around with any plans we might foresee using in the World Cup as well.
“I wouldn’t say we’re hoping for similar pitches to the Test series. I’d say [we’re hoping for] turning pitches.”
Morgan recalled England’s experiences at the last World T20 in India in 2016, where his side progressed to the final in spite of an array of challenging surfaces along the way – not least in a close-fought contest at Delhi, where they survived a trial by Afghanistan’s spinners to progress by 15 runs.
“Going back to the 2016 [T20] World Cup, we didn’t necessarily play on big turners. There were some really, really low-scoring games – New Zealand turned over India and India and Afghanistan turned over West Indies on really dry surfaces – so depending on fixtures for the World Cup we want to go through that ourselves.
“We know when we play on a really flat surface, our batting department is equipped, our bowling department is still learning and it’s more challenging the better the wicket we play on. But in low-scoring T20 games we do need to get better, so we’re looking forward to the challenge.
“Day four or fay five [Test] pitches aren’t going to be ideal playing a T20 game on, but a turning pitch like we witnessed in 2016 – where
120 plays 90; very low-scoring games in this day and age – it’s an area we need more experience in because we’ve not played in a lot of games like that.
“Would we welcome the learning experience that extreme conditions could bring? Yes. It’s not the sole purpose for being here, but we are going to use it that way.
“I think this tour is going to be a challenge for everybody – batting, bowling and fielding – but one that we’re really looking forward to.”
While Morgan is among those in the England squad to have suffered with sickness in recent days, he is hopeful of having a full squad
from which to select ahead of the first game on Friday. That includes Jofra Archer, who had emerged as an injury worry with a recurrence of elbow pain in recent days.
“I wouldn’t say I’m 100%, but I’m way better than I was five days ago,” Morgan said. “And I am hopeful Jofra will be fit for the whole series. If the game was tomorrow he’d be fit. We obviously have two days of training to come through, but hopefully he’s good.
“Obviously we’re playing five games on the same ground. We don’t know yet if we’re playing on the same surfaces twice or a number of times. But I imagine our team selection will evolve as we see it.
“Game on game, if we think of anything that might arise down the line that we think is worth running through or simulating here, we’ll do it. Everybody’s available for selection.”
Morgan also expressed his confidence in the bio-bubble put in place for the series in India, comparing it favourably with what he had witnessed in South Africa before Christmas when England abandoned their tour having lost faith in the integrity of the safety protocols.
“I think one thing we did learn [from the tour to South Africa] is probably that level of expectation, in terms of what was said would be achieved and the protocols adhered to, weren’t necessarily monitored the whole time,” he said. “So having a constant assessment of what is going on within the bubble and not taking for granted that things are being done [is important].
“Here and in Sri Lanka, from the feedback, everything is being done within everybody’s power to try and restrict the number of cases. There’s always been an instance where if there is a positive case, there is a way of dealing with it, where you can limit your exposure by being very diligent and disciplined.
“South Africa was a unique case. From the very first day the bubble was broken. They had a positive test and the guy had been integrating in their team and in our team. What followed, in terms of positive tests, there was a sense of inevitability about it.”
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo