‘We always ask questions’: Eoin Morgan explains England’s selection decisions

Eoin Morgan has defended England’s decision not to blood George Garton and Tom Banton during the final ODI against Sri Lanka, arguing one-off matches do not represent a proper investment in a new player.

An unassailable 2-0 lead heading into the final match presented an opportunity to look to the future, not least with the arrival of Pakistan for the second half of the 12-match white-ball summer – starting in Cardiff on Thursday – representing a potentially stiffer challenge.

Morgan, tuttavia, stuck to his strongest XI and Sri Lanka again imploded to 166 all out before rain wiped out England’s chase on Sunday. Garton, the uncapped left-arm quick, and Banton, who has made 14 white-ball appearances, may now have to wait.

“We always ask the questions of ourselves,” said Morgan. “But when we look at players, when Tom has been in the side, we’ve earmarked a number of games throughout the series he would play, whether that’s two, tre, four or five.

“It’s very rare that we will put somebody in for a one-off game. It doesn’t hold a lot of context. When you identify a talent to come into a squad, I believe you should always invest in that talent and think long-term.

“For years I’ve watched guys come in and out and been given one-off games and whether it’s opportunity or form that has not given them many after thatit’s not a way that you want to treat a good asset or an asset for the future.”

Another factor is the ICC’s 13-team ODI Super League, with each ODI worth 10 points regardless of whether a series is won and the top seven qualify automatically for the 2023 World Cup. England currently sit top, albeit having played more games than others.

Certainly the need for results fed into Morgan’s decision to bowl first in Bristol, even if the captain revealed that Sam Billings and Moeen Ali were slated to bat up the order given a lack of time in the middle during the one-sided series.

Asked about largely ignoring Moeen with the ball, Morgan said: “Finger-spinners over the last three to four years haven’t been as effective in all white-ball cricket. When you speak about Moeen, he’s a genuine all-rounder.

“There are stages when you look at different batters within our side and he’s always considered in the highest regard in that mould as well. He shouldn’t just be earmarked as a guy who is only going to play when he bowls.”

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