It will take more than an exploding oven to put off England’s young braves at the start of a new era under Eoin Morgan.
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Overheating chillies were thought to be the culprits in the Edgbaston kitchen on the eve of the one-day series. But whatever the details of a minor fire in the media centre stand, Morgan – who has unified the one-day international and Twenty20 captaincy – confirmed the drama yesterday had minimal impact on England’s preparations.
As he seeks to put last winter’s embarrassing early World Cup exit behind him, he has made it clear a new England will not be too proud either to copy the methods of their conquerors.
They must start the process, with a squad comprising six who failed at the World Cup and eight new or recycled faces, against New Zealand – who trounced them by eight wickets in Wellington four months ago, in less than half the scheduled playing time, on their way to the final of the global tournament.
One saving grace, as England urgently seek to demonstrate they are far better than they appeared that February day, may be the absence today of Tim Southee – who took seven for 33 as Morgan’s men were shot out for a hapless 123.
Southee will be given a little time to rest sore limbs after back-to-back Tests in a drawn series which finished last week.
As for England, radically changed and featuring a clutch of names unfamiliar to a wider audience as they try to reinvent themselves, Morgan makes no secret of the plan to ditch previous conservatism and adopt the aggressive template which underpinned both New Zealand and champions Australia’s World Cup success.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) June 8, 2015
“We watched New Zealand get to the final, playing the sort of cricket that has driven one-day cricket forward,” Morgan said. “You don’t have to look further than both finalists of the World Cup – that is the brand we want to play.”
As rising stars such as Jason Roy and David Willey practised their skills on a chilly but bright morning in the Edgbaston nets, the temperature was rising inside.
Fire alarms would soon be set off, and several kitchen staff had to be checked over for smoke inhalation. But aside from having to move his press conference 200 yards or so, to the indoor school, Morgan and his team were unaffected.
“Most of the boys were finished by the time the fire alarm kicked off,” he said.
England’s steel-eyed captain will not be distracted from the mission, despite his association with previous failings.
The plan has been signed off under new England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss and will be inherited by recently-appointed but yet-to-arrive Australian coach Trevor Bayliss, following the sacking of Peter Moores.
Morgan, who will work initially alongside caretaker coach Paul Farbrace, said: “It’s great to have that backing. Andrew is on the same page as me, Farby and Trevor over the direction we want to take this team and the brand of cricket we want to play.
“We want to be unclouded in the way we play and put opposition sides under pressure as much as we can. For a long time now, we’ve been behind the eight-ball in one-day cricket.
“We’ve fallen behind by a long way, and it’s time for a catch-up.”
Five ODIs and then a Twenty20 against New Zealand will be a tough initial test.
“We hope it’s going to be a very exciting series for us,” added Morgan.
“After the World Cup, we’ve come back and said we need to change the way we play – and the proof of that is the selections we have made.
“We’ve selected guys who play a different brand of cricket – and we don’t want that to change once they put the England shirt on.”
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