Eoin Morgan says the Twenty20 International series whitewash over Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates is just the start of an exciting period for his emerging squad.
Morgan’s young troops continued their rapid development in the sprint format by following up victories over New Zealand and Australia during the English summer with three consecutive triumphs in the Middle East to move up to fourth in the ICC rankings.
England’s T20 performances have coincided with their excellent form in one-day international cricket and, having won the 50-over series 3-1, they ended the tour with six successive limited-overs wins over Pakistan.
Those showings have understandably raised confidence within the group, according to Morgan, who believes his team will only get better in the future.
“It is a little bit surreal at the moment,” Morgan told ecb.co.uk. “Throughout even the one-day series and the transition from the one-dayers into the T20s, which has been quite fluent, we have taken confidence, momentum and our development in our skills has been outstanding.
“I am not getting carried away here, I know this is only the start of what we can do.
“We haven’t seen our best performance as a team, or individuals, we have probably only seen one world-class performance and I know there is more in that changing room, certainly with guys who have just started their international careers.
“If we can build on this start, in two or three years time it will be a strong start. I am excited, I have been since I’ve taken over again at the start of the summer, and there is a great amount of motivation and determination within the group.
“Guys want to come out and not only do good things in international cricket and win games, they want to dominate.”
However, Morgan does expect some bumps in the road at some point for his squad, which has an average age of 26, especially with the challenge awaiting them in South Africa and then the World Twenty20 early next year.
“I think the acceleration of the growth within the side will be quickly as long as we keep winning,” the left-handed batsman said.
“If we start to have a couple of hiccups and start to get tested a lot more, which we will do in South Africa against a very strong team, we might have a couple of setbacks.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) November 30, 2015
“But that comes with everything in life and we are looking forward to the challenge.”
England completed their series whitewash in the most dramatic circumstances, edging out the designated hosts in a Super Over after the scores were tied at 154.
Chris Jordan, the first England player to deliver a Super Over, executed his plans to perfection against big-hitting duo Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal to concede only three.
Morgan and Jos Buttler were then charged with the task of chasing four, a feat they completed from the penultimate ball of Afridi’s over.
England were earlier rescued by a 60-run partnership between James Vince, who top-scored with 46, and Chris Woakes as they posted 154 for eight after they had slipped to 86 for six having won the toss.
The tourists’ winning run appeared to be on the verge of ending when, having seen Afridi and Shoaib Malik set up the chase with a stand of 63 in just 38 deliveries, Sohail Tanvir smashed Woakes for six in the final over, with 10 runs required, but the seamer pulled it back to take it to a six-ball shootout.
“I am ecstatic really,” Morgan said. “I don’t think we had any right to win that game and take that game as deep as we did.
“We under performed with the bat. We were bailed out by James Vince and Chris Woakes, I thought they were outstanding in the partnership that they formed and the way they went about it.
“It was a little bit too late for our top order to catch up, but they certainly led the way in that front and brought us up to a par score. We controlled probably the first 12 overs with the ball but it slipped away from us.
“Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik’s partnership, the deeper they went the more pressure they put on our bowlers.
“To take it to a Super Over was brilliant. I thought Chris Woakes finished extremely well and then Chris Jordan, the performance of the tour. It was outstanding.
“We haven’t been in a situation yet where somebody has played a perfect performance and I think that over was perfect.”
2 series wins! Been a great few weeks in Dubai. Lads fully deserve it! Time to head home Thanks to those who have supported us!
— Chris Woakes (@chriswoakes) December 1, 2015
Despite choosing Woakes to bowl the final set of six in the last two matches, Morgan plumped for Jordan in the Super Over.
And his decision was vindicated by the right-arm seamer as he restricted the batsmen by delivering balls full and straight into their pads.
“I had a chat with Jos, who is the vice-captain, and we discussed what was going to be the best to bowl six balls in a row,” Morgan explained. “We said yorkers.
“We were trying to think who was going to bat and what we could bowl, whether cutters would work, and once we decided yorkers we turned to Jords because at the moment he is our best yorker bowler.
“If it was a different case and we had to bowl cutters it probably would have been Woakesy, but Jords stepped up.”
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