Eoin Morgan refuted Kevin Pietersen’s opinion that the England captain had ‘looked scared’ while facing Mitchell Starc in his side’s Cricket World Cup loss to Australia on Tuesday.
Former England batsman Pietersen made his claim on Twitter, adding: “I’ve not seen a captain show such a weakness for a while.”
Asked at the post-match news conference whether he had feared the Aussie fast bowler, Morgan said: “No. No. I didn’t feel like that way at all.”
Morgan managed just four runs in the match at Lord’s though, falling to Starc, and England lost the match by 64 runs to put their hopes of reaching the semi-finals in doubt.
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West Indies’ Chris Gayle was expected to hang up his international boots post the completion of the 2019 ICC World Cup but the veteran batsman has now declared his intentions to extend his career beyond the tournament.
Gayle had earlier announced his intentions to retire from international cricket after the World Cup in England but the Jamaican is now looking to feature in the home ODI series against India which takes place in August.
The 39-year-old is not only looking to play in the 50-over series but is also aiming to make a comeback to the Test setup for the first time since September, 2014.
“My plans after the World Cup, may be play a Test match against India,” Gayle said on the eve of Windies’ clash against India at Old Trafford.
“And then I’ll definitely play the ODIs against India. I won’t play the T20s,” he added.
Gayle’s about-turn came as a surprise to even skipper Jason Holder who ultimately welcomed the veteran’s desire to extend his West Indies career.
“I just found out as well,” said Holder on Wednesday.
“So, I guess I’ll have to go downstairs and have a serious conversation with him but if he is dedicated to play for the West Indies any longer then I feel it’s definitely going to benefit us.
“He didn’t say anything really in the dressing room. But yeah, it’s great. It’s great for cricket. It’s good to have Chris around as I said before. He’s got a lot to offer still, I believe and hopefully his body could hold up and he could hopefully be on the cricket field for a little longer for West Indies.”
Gayle has so far played 103 Tests, 295 ODIs and 58 T20Is for West Indies so far since making his international debut in 1999. The southpaw has registered two half-centuries in five innings so far in the 2019 World Cup so far with a highest score of 87 against New Zealand.
Gayle and Windies will be in action on Thursday when they take on India at Old Trafford in Manchester.
India will aim to take another giant step towards 2019 ICC World Cup semi-final qualification when they take on West Indies at Old Trafford on Thursday.
The Men in Blue remain unbeaten in England with four wins from five clashes while one encounter with New Zealand ended in a no-result.
Windies, on the other hand, are all but out of the running for the semi-finals after picking up just the one win in their six games.
FOCUS ON INDIA’S MIDDLE-ORDER
India’s start to their World Cup campaign had been an impressive one but they come into the Old Trafford clash after being given a big scare by Afghanistan.
India’s batting struggled massively against Afghanistan’s slower bowlers with MS Dhoni, in particular, having a hard time in the middle. The veteran wicketkeeper scratched his way to a 52-ball 28 and looked unconvincing throughout his stay at the crease.
Even the normally restrained Sachin Tendulkar criticised Dhoni for a lack of intent in the middle as India ultimately posted a below-par total of 224-8.
Dhoni will be in the spotlight once again and it will be interesting to see whether skipper Virat Kohli shuffles the batting order. India are set to persist with all-rounder Vijay Shankar in the middle-order despite the availability of Rishabh Pant while Hardik Pandya will likely be used as a floater once again.
Kedar Jadhav should retain his place as well after a fighting fifty against the Afghans while he also bowls part-time off-spin.
A sensational maiden ODI ton from Carlos Brathwaite was not enough for the Windies as the Caribbean side falling to an agonising five-run loss to New Zealand in their most recent encounter.
It was the fourth loss in six games for Jason Holder and his men who had started their campaign with a comprehensive thrashing of Pakistan. Despite coming into the tournament with a power-packed side containing the likes of Chris Gayle and Andre Russell, the Windies have failed to put together a complete team display which in turn has cost them in crux situations.
Star all-rounder Russell has now been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament to rub salt into Windies’ wounds with batsman Sunil Ambris called up as a replacement.
Although they still hold an outside chance of qualifying, the writing is well and truly on the wall for West Indies. They will now be playing mostly for pride in their three remaining games.
India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned to bowling in the nets after picking up a hamstring niggle in India’s win over arch-rivals Pakistan. However, India are set to proceed with caution when it comes to Bhuvneshwar and he is likely to miss out again while hat-trick hero Mohammed Shami should retain his spot in the playing XI.
India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.
West Indies: Chris Gayle, Shai Hope (wk), Sunil Ambris, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder (c), Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas.