England vs New Zealand T20 World Cup 2021 semis: We have plenty of players to replace Roy, says Eoin Morgan

Even as Indian cricketers, despite playing a surfeit of T20 cricket in the IPL and several bilateral series, haven’t been able to resolve their opening partnership riddle, England, after having lost Roy to a calf injury in the ‘Super 12’ game against South Africa, are confident they can overcome the setback given the several options they have at their disposal.

Asked whether it would be a difficult decision to decide who would partner Jos Buttler, with Roy now out of the tournament, Morgan said, “I don’t think it is (difficult). I think we are blessed with guys who can bat at the top of the order and actually who want to bat at the top of the order.

“If you look around, the highest runs scored, the big-name players, they all want to bat or are batting in the top three in every team. And we’re lucky that we have guys who queue up and want to bat in that top three, which is great because they want to go head-to-head with the big named players in the tournament and big named bowlers of the opposition. So, I think we’re in a very good position that we have many guys to choose from,” said a confident Morgan on Tuesday evening.

Morgan added that while the team management had decided on who would partner Buttler, he wouldn’t like to share it now. “Within the group, we’ve made a decision. Not willing to share that, unfortunately. But the balance of the sides will still be determined on how the wicket looks and how we match up against the Black Caps,” said Morgan.

On whether England was seeing Liam Livingstone as a “three-dimensional player”, who could be an alternative for top all-rounder Ben Stokes in future, Morgan said, “Yeah, I’m a big fan of Liam. He’s a guy that has the ability to contribute a bit like Ben (Stokes), at any stage of the game. And he plays a brand of cricket that makes it easy for him to come in and settle into the side.

“We want him to be that attacking aggressive player who takes the game on the whole time. I think the role that he’s played, particularly with the bat, is not an easy role to play, batting in the lower middle order, to continue to take high risks. But he seems to want to do that, which is great because if you have somebody who comes in who starts thinking about himself, it creates a bit of an issue around role clarity and what guys are contributing to the team.”

“So he’s been extremely selfless when he’s come in and done that role. And all we would like to do is to continue that because when he gets going he’s very difficult to stop. He’s one of the cleanest strikers on the ball we have within our squad. He’s brilliant to have around,” added Morgan.

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Sagar Biswas

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