EOIN Morgan does not suspect flagging attitudes will hinder England when they start to ramp up their World Cup preparations against Australia over the next month.
The majority of England’s squad may still be reeling from their 5-0 Ashes whitewash but Morgan – one of seven new names to join the touring party for the five-match one-day international series – knows they can not afford to dwell on the mistakes of the longer format.
That may be easier said than done, with barely a week passing between the 281-run fifth Test defeat in Sydney and tomorrow morning’s ODI opener in Melbourne, although Morgan has not sensed any malaise in the squad.
While the rigours of duty have at least physically told on Stuart Broad, who will be rested for the first two games of the series, Morgan believes everyone else is fit and ready to go toe to toe with Australia.
That is just as well, according to the left-hander, who knows the upcoming five games will provide an important building block ahead of next winter’s World Cup on these same grounds.
“There’s about 400 days before the World Cup starts and it starts here in Melbourne,” he said. “It’s really exciting and the platform we build here during this series is really important. It’s important that we do learn from any mistakes that we do make and build confidence down in this part of the world.”
Asked if the players he has joined were showing any signs of being scarred by their Ashes defeat, he added: “Absolutely not. The guys are good. We’ve had six or seven fresh faces come into the side who have brought a lot of energy, including myself.
An England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) spokeswoman confirmed that Broad’s absence was only to allow him time to recover from his Ashes exertions and that he is due to be back for the third game in Sydney on 19 January.
The England players will at least be spared more chin music from Ashes man of the series, Mitchell Johnson, who has also been rested.
Meanwhile, Kevin Pietersen’s future was thrust even further into the spotlight yesterday as the Delhi Daredevils took the surprising move to not retain any of their players.
The England batsman had widely been expected to be retained by the Indian Premier League franchise, with some reports suggesting it was a done deal. But a tweet from Delhi turned that on its head, with the club saying: “DD will not be retaining any player from the previous squad for IPL-7. It was a unanimous decision by the management in order to build a fresh team that our fans will be proud of #DD.”
The England batsman now has a choice to make. The 33-year-old can opt to enter into the auction for the tournament, which starts on 3 April, or stay and play county cricket with Surrey.
The latter, however unlikely, would at least endear him to those who have questioned his commitment to the England team in the wake of the Ashes whitewash at the hands of Australia.
• England’s women came unstuck against Australia’s excellent bowling attack but Anya Shrubsole hit back for the tourists with two key wickets on the opening day of the Ashes Test at the Waca in Perth.
Arran Brindle and Natalie Sciver were the only players to pose problems with the bat, with the former’s gritty 68 boosting England’s total to 201 all out after they had chosen to bat. Australian momentum was halted when Shrubsole accounted for openers Meg Lanning and Elyse Villani as Australia closed on nine for two.