ICC WC 2015: Eoin Morgan defends team selections, own form after heavy loss
Skipper Eoin Morgan defended England`s team changes and his decision to send Australia into bat after a heavy first-up loss at the World Cup to their arch-rivals on Saturday.
Melbourne: Skipper Eoin Morgan defended England`s team changes and his decision to send Australia into bat after a heavy first-up loss at the World Cup to their arch-rivals on Saturday.
Australia pounded England`s bowlers to score 342 for nine off their 50 overs and dismissed Morgan`s team for 231 off 41.5 overs to lay down their marker for the World Cup over the next six weeks.
England surprised by preferring Gary Ballance ahead of Ravi Bopara and using Chris Woakes as the third paceman ahead of Steven Finn, who took a hat-trick among his five for 71.
"We`re not a precious squad. We changed the balance of the side but we played our best 11," Morgan insisted.
"James Taylor (who top-scored with an undefeated 98) probably batted closer to his natural position in the batting lineup than he`s ever done before. Batting three is a bit strange for him.
"Batting five or six is probably his best position. And Gary Ballance has had a fantastic 12 months of Test match cricket batting at three and has looked in magnificent touch since he`s been here."
Once again Morgan was out for a duck -- his fourth in five innings -- but said he was confident of turning things around in the tournament.
"I hit the toe end, the ball probably held up a bit on the pitch. It`s not ideal getting out getting nought, but no (not worried)," the skipper said.
"If I was nicking every ball and getting out I`d be worried, but I`m not, I`m getting out in different ways. It does give me confidence (to turn it around)."
Morgan said while England was again outplayed by Australia, he said the target remained reaching the quarter-finals.
"It`s not a big challenge. We said the first two games in the tournament would be the toughest in our group and to come out of them with results would give us huge confidence," he said.
"And we`re still at that stage. We`re still focusing on getting to the quarter-finals and developing the further we get into the tournament.
"As to regards to Friday, we`ll re-group (for New Zealand), assess on where we`ve done wrong and improve.
"Certainly the first port of call is to turn to senior players and ask them to lead from the front.
"I think every game the senior players should lead from the front especially when you`re playing against a side who have been on a bit of a run."
Morgan defended the team`s strategies, but said the execution of the plans had been lacking.
"I`m hoping there`ll be a higher level of skill produced. I think the strategies are pretty solid as are everybody`s," he said.
"There`s no magical formula, it`s a matter of going out and executing our plans."