Eoin Morgan averaged just 11 in the Indian Premier League but Nasser Hussain and Rob Key say his captaincy will prove crucial at the T20 World Cup; plus, is Dawid Malan the right man at No 3?; Rob, Nasser, Ian Ward and Michael Atherton look at the tournament on Sky Cricket Podcast
Tuesday 19 October 2021 15:20, UK
One is the top-ranked T20I batter in the world, the other averaged 11 in the 2021 Indian Premier League.
Based purely on those facts, you'd think Dawid Malan was a shoo-in for England's T20 World Cup XI and skipper Eoin Morgan should potentially be considering leaving himself out of the side.
However, Sky Cricket pundits Rob Key and Nasser Hussain say Morgan remains a must-pick for England having led his national side to the 50-over World Cup title in 2019 and the final of the previous T20 World Cup in 2016, as well as Kolkata Knight Riders to the runners-up spot in the IPL this term.
Malan, meanwhile, has seized possession of the England No 3 spot, and the tag of World No 1, after amassing 1,123 runs in 30 T20 international innings to date with 12 scores in excess of fifty.
But is the left-hander the man England need at first drop at the World Cup with the powerplay set to prove crucial on potentially slow pitches in the United Arab Emirates? Keysy has his doubts…
Read below for Rob and Nasser's thoughts on Morgan and Malan as they previewed the World Cup, alongside Ian Ward and Michael Atherton on the latest Sky Sports Cricket Podcast, which you can listen to in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts…
"I think Morgan would leave himself out if, and the key word is if, he felt that was the right thing to do but I don't think he will.
"I think in this World Cup, with the conditions in the UAE, captaincy is going to be a big thing, so I would be happy for Morgan to play.
"If he comes in an No 6, he is pretty much there as captain who will be used every now and again with the bat, but I would play him. England then have decisions on the make-up of their team.
"You could leave out Malan and have Moeen Ali at No 3, where he was used for Chennai, and personally I would leave out Malan
"These pitches are going to be slow, the ball is not going to come on, and the powerplay is going to be absolutely vital. You cannot afford to have someone who is going to try and catch up.
"That is what Malan will do a lot of the time. I would be wary of him eating up balls on occasion and leaving too much to do for the hitters down the end."
"Morgan plays and captains. Even if he is not getting any runs, he plays and captains. He is a unique, streaky player who could turn up at the tournament and absolutely smash it.
"You only need to look at the IPL final to see how important captaincy is. Morgan and MS Dhoni - two of the greatest white-ball captains there have ever been.
"Kolkata were a shambles in the first leg of the IPL season but Morgan dragged them up into a final.
"Last year Chennai were a shambles but MS Dhoni has now dragged them to another title. It cannot be a coincidence that Dhoni and Morgan are always there in white-ball cricket.
"I think Malan has earnt the right to be given first dibs at the No 3 role but we know how ruthless Morgan can be.
"You only need to ask David Willey, who was left out ahead of the 50-over World Cup, or Alex Hales, who Morgan says has broken trust.
"I know as a captain that it is easy to be ruthless when you are contributing and doing well, but can Morgan be just as ruthless when people are asking whether he is worth his place in the side?
"Can he say to the No 1 batter in the world, 'we are going in a different direction?' He can be ruthless and he will be."
Watch continued coverage of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup live on Sky Sports between now and the final on November 14.
Wednesday's action includes England's second and final warm-up game against New Zealand, live on Sky Sports Cricket (channel 404) and Sky Sports Main Event (channel 401) from 10.50am.