As captain Morgan has spearheaded England’s shift from also-rans at the 2015 tournament to top of the rankings ahead of next summer’s edition on home soil, and is the country’s top scorer in one-day cricket with 5,618 runs.
Despite his considerable position of strength, the Dubliner has made it clear that nobody should consider themselves certainties over the next eight months.
Speaking on the eve of England one-day series against Sri Lanka, Morgan told Sky Sports Cricket: “When you drop yourself as captain it almost sets that example, that nobody’s place is cemented in this side.
“If I’m not supposed to be in the team I’ll be the first one to say it. If it means making a tough decision I’m more than capable of doing that.
“It’s a brave call, but we’ve come a long way with this team. We need to put ourselves in the best position in order to be contenders. If that means I’m not good enough to be in the team, both as a captain or as a player…I’m a pretty honest guy.”
Morgan attracted criticism from some, including former skipper Michael Vaughan, when he stepped aside from a Twenty20 decider against South Africa in 2017 to take a look at the likes of Liam Livingstone and Dawid Malan.
The 32-year-old, though, is clear that he must continue putting the greater good first.
“In the past I’ve dropped myself to create opportunities for guys in order to see if they can play at international level or give them an extra chance to prove themselves,” he said.
“We’re trying to build a squad of 16 or 17 guys to win the World Cup, that’s the objective. It’s not an individual trying to get runs, not an individual trying to get wickets. It’s a team collective and everyone needs to buy into it.”
Vice-captain Jos Buttler would inherit the reins in the unlikely scenario of Morgan’s form slumping dramatically enough for him to step aside.
He is an increasingly influential figure across all formats and deputised impressively when Morgan declined to tour Bangladesh on security grounds in 2016.
Buttler stepped in for Morgan again on Tuesday, but this time it was only for pre-match media duties at the Ranjiri Dambulla International Stadium.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was in strident mood, happy to shake off the underdog tag which often follows England in the sub-continent.
They have won only six of their 21 ODIs on the island, with a solitary series victory in 2007, but are well fancied this time.
Sri Lanka lie eighth in the world after a winless run of nine series and bowed out of the Asia Cup after successive defeats to Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
“We are very happy to be favourites. We’ve been doing some good stuff and like being favourites,” he said.
“We’ve been playing well. It’s been tricky in the past for England sides to come here but we are full of confidence and looking forward to the challenge, adapting our style of play and pushing the boundaries of what we are capable of in these conditions.
“There is always pressure being number one, people want to chase you. Once you get there that’s when the hard work really starts because you have a target on your back and it’s down to you to keep improving and stay there.”
Chasing Pakistan’s commanding first innings total of 482, at lunch Australia were cruising at 137 without loss but Asif turned it all around taking six wickets for just 36 runs including Australian debutants Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne both for ducks.
Australia were all out for 282 just before 16:00 UAE time, still 280 runs behind Pakistan’s first innings total, but the hosts did not enforce the follow on, instead choosing to build on their lead.
Having been ignored for selection in the Test squad, the India opener plans to warm-up for the upcoming ODI series against the Windies by sweating it out in the domestic arena for Mumbai.
The India limited-overs vice-captain has made himself available for the knockout games and his return to the domestic set-up has been confirmed by Mumbai chief selector Ajit Agarkar.
“Yes he will. We’ll pick the team on October 10,” the former India pacer told the Times of India when asked if Rohit will play in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
“Rohit will play for us in one or two games. The team will be led by Shreyas Iyer, who captained Mumbai in their last two games in the league stage,” an official from the Mumbai Cricket Association was quoted as saying.
India are due to play five ODIs against the West Indies with the series getting underway on October 21 at Guwahati. The ODIs will be followed by a three-match T20 series.
Rohit has been in excellent form in white-ball cricket of late. In the absence of Virat Kohli who was granted a rest, the opener led India to their seventh Asia Cup title in the tournament held in the UAE.
The 31-year-old registered two half-centuries and an unbeaten ton against India’s arch-rivals Pakistan in the team’s unbeaten campaign.