England one-day captain Eoin Morgan believes Australia are the narrow ‘favourites’ for the upcoming T20 series.
Australia arrived in England last month and have been based in Derby ahead of the three-match T20 series which starts on Friday evening and the subsequent 50-over matches.
Morgan’s side drew 1-1 with Pakistan in the T20 format recently and will be buoyed by the return of several World Cup winners, including Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer.
Jason Roy – who has a side strain – and Ben Stokes – currently in New Zealand for personal reasons – are still absent, however, and Morgan is aware of the challenge that his side face as they prepare to take on the number one team in the T20 rankings.
‘They have their strongest squad here so will probably be putting out their best XI. If you are to go on that, I’d say they are probably just favourites,’ Morgan said.
‘For the first time this summer we are seeing the majority of our best team on the park and that’s great.
‘Bar injury and absent players, which is only a couple, we are at full strength and that is a nice place to be every now and then.
‘We don’t have to pick our best XI every series that we play because we can’t put all our eggs in one basket. We need 16 or 17 players in the lead up to World Cup selection all vying for selection in the best 15.’
Morgan confirmed Buttler would open alongside Jonny Bairstow in the first T20 at the Ageas Bowl on Friday evening.
Somerset star Tom Banton impressed at the top of the order against Pakistan, scoring 136 runs in three innings, but England are keen to experiment with Buttler as an opener ahead of the two T20 World Cups which are on the horizon.
‘Jos will open with Jonny tomorrow,’ Morgan said. ‘Like I have said before, we will continue with this until we feel the need (to change) or that it’s not working.
‘We feel that Jason, Jonny and Jos are three of our greatest ever white-ball players. They are unbelievable strikers of the ball and batsmen who you do not want to bowl against.’
England’s World Cup-winning captain also insisted Test skipper Joe Root can still have a future in the T20 side despite his absence against Australia.
‘We have had that conversation with Joe and he certainly does have a future,’ Morgan added.
‘The conversation was surrounding Joe not getting in the best XI at the moment. We didn’t want to carry him round and him not play any cricket.
‘Joe wants to play T20 cricket and put his best case forwards, particularly when he doesn’t have a lot of opportunity to go back to Yorkshire and play T20 cricket. We felt it was a really good opportunity for him to do that.’
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