England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan has said his team could take the unusual option of playing three spinners in today’s opening one-day international against Pakistan at Southampton.
For much of the time, in both Test and ODIs, recent England teams have been content to field just the lone specialist slow bowler. But recent dry conditions, as well as the need to prepare for the spin-friendly pitches that England will encounter on their upcoming tours of Bangladesh and India, could prompt a change of approach in the first of a five-match series.
As a result, Hampshire left-arm spinner Liam Dawson could make his ODI debut on his home ground along with off-spinner Moeen Ali and leg-break bowler Adil Rashid.
“Having Liam Dawson brings the option of playing three spinners and that is something we might have to take into consideration as we look ahead to the winter tours of Bangladesh and India,” Morgan told reporters at Southampton yesterday. “It will be a very tough series against Pakistan, especially as the recent weather means conditions may suit them more than they suit us initially. It is a good test leading into the winter.”
Meanwhile, former Ireland batsman Morgan said he expected Alex Hales to return to form in white-ball cricket after the Nottinghamshire opener struggled in the drawn 2-2 Test series against Pakistan, managing just 145 runs at an average of 18.12
“Alex played very well in the limited-overs matches in South Africa last winter even though he didn’t have the best time in the Tests,” said Morgan. “He played out of his skin. I have been in that position before and it’s a nice feeling to be able to play with freedom in white-ball cricket. He has the backing of everyone.”
All-rounder Ben Stokes is back in the squad after a calf injury but, despite bowling in the nets, Morgan said the paceman would play as a batsman only in at least the first two ODIs.
Azhar Ali prepares to bat during the Pakistan team’s nets session on the eve of the first ODI against England. (Reuters)