Eoin Morgan is confident Ben Stokes can play a full part in a Champions Trophy campaign
The all-action all-rounder faces an early-morning fitness test on his sore left knee to see whether he can bowl in the Group A opener against Bangladesh at The Oval.
But after seeing him charging in during an outfield session yesterday, Morgan says he is expecting medical staff to deliver the perfect tonic ahead of their bid to end a 42-year wait for silverware.
“If he only came in and bowled three overs it’s still huge, but obviously the form he’s in at the moment and the way he’s batting it’s literally like having two players,” said Morgan.
“But he’s pulled up really well. The best preparation is he doesn’t feel anything either today and in the morning, nothing swells up and he doesn’t feel stiff and is fit to bowl.
“I envisage him being fit to bowl, I don’t see any complications as to why he can’t. I don’t want to put him under a huge amount of pressure to bowl 10.
“We have guys who can impact a game as much as he can, particularly with the pace we have got. But you always look to him as a minimum of five.”
England squad for the ICC Champions Trophy Tue, April 25, 2017
Express Sport runs through the England squad for the ODIs against South Africa and the ICC Champions Trophy
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Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, captain)
He’s pulled up really well
England skipper Eoin Morgan
Morgan was in confident mood on the eve of a tournament for which his exciting white-ball side are favourites.
And the skipper took the opportunity to end speculation that Jonny Bairstow might yet be parachuted in at the expense of the out-of-sorts opener Jason Roy.
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Roy has struggled this year, just once reaching double figures in his last five innings for England, but his captain retains full faith in his ability to kickstart the innings.
“Jonny will miss out unfortunately,” said Morgan. “He’s been very good when he’s come in, but each and every one of us within the batting department has had ups and downs over the years.
“One of the strongest parts of reinforcing the way that we play and the freedom in which we play with is backing that up with selection.
“Jason will definitely play. And the decision remains the same throughout the tournament. I cannot see it changing.”
England were not at their best in their final outing of a three-match series against South Africa at Lord’s on Monday, slumping to 20-6 at one stage and losing by seven wickets. Yet Morgan believes it can act as the perfect wake-up call.
“If you’re looking for positives out of it, it certainly was a wake-up call in the fact that you need to be able to adapt in different circumstances. It’s about delivering in every game.”