Eoin Morgan has told his England players they are facing a "genuine" audition for the T20 World Cup this summer (Image: Getty Images)
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Eoin Morgan has set the hare running for places in his T20 World Cup squad by branding the next four weeks as a ‘genuine’ audition.
And for the likes of Chris Woakes, Liam Livingston and David Willey, their return to the squad couldn’t have come at a better time to make an impact.
England get the first of three T20 games against Sri Lanka underway on Wednesday night with injuries to Jofra Archer and Reece Topley preventing their inclusion, while Ben Stokes is almost ready to return to the international arena.
The squad is otherwise at full strength which means that a strong performance or two from Woakes, who has missed the last 52 England T20s but remains a regular pick at IPL auctions, could see him leapfrog Tom Curran or even Chris Jordan into a first choice spot.
“I think this patch of white-ball cricket that we’re playing we’re using both to grow the squad but also to utilise positions that might be available at the World Cup in October,” said Morgan.
Chris Woakes is fighting for a spot in the T20 World Cup squad
(Image: Getty Images)
“Both Chris and Dave have played a lot for us in the past, both 50 over and T20, so we know the potential that they have.
“It’s great they’re back involved, specifically for T20 cricket in the build-up to the World Cup.
“It’s important to try and get guys that we feel will play a part in the World Cup some form of opportunity during the next four weeks
“And the things we look at in the next four weeks will be a serious and genuine look, with World Cup selection down the line.”
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Test skipper Joe Root could be forgiven for casting an envious glance at Morgan’s squad and the selection headaches he has, knowing that he is yet to have a full strength squad to pick from in 2021.
Root will also know that World Cup selection is extremely unlikely for him after missing out here, even if Morgan hasn’t officially closed the door.
Alex Hales is another with very little chance of getting back into the squad with work still to be done on regaining trust in covid times and with so many quality options ahead of him with Jos Buttler and Jason Roy continuing their opening partnership this week.
Morgan has some difficult decisions to make – although selecting Jos Buttler isn't likely to be one of them
(Image: Getty Images)
“It is a rare case for me to have this strong a squad in the summer,” added Morgan. “Joe and I have a level of understanding having spoken about it.
“We know full well there will be areas and fixtures and series where both of us wouldn’t have our strongest available squads out.
“Obviously Joe is keen to get back involved when he can, and we’re not ruling him out. With Alex, I think the longer you spend out of the side the further away you get from the position you once had.
“He’s a very fine player, but when you look at the players that we have available to us at the moment we’re spoiled.”