'India very good at home'

'India very good at home'

Morgan praises Dhoni's leadership skills

'India very good at home'
England’s limited overs captain Eoin Morgan sees the upcoming three-match ODI series against India as a formidable challen­ge and expressed happiness at the quality of the teams his side will face in the two warm-up games here on Tuesday and Thursday.

“Playing abroad is a different challenge, a challenge which everyone is looking forward to. India is a great place to come and win a series because they are very good at home,” said the Irish-born captain on the eve of England’s opening game against an India A side led by India’s most successful captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

England’s poor 50-over record in India of three successive defeats, including 5-0 whitewashes in 2008-09 and 2012 followed by the 3-2 defeat in their previous series in 2013, showed how big a task lay ahead of the visiting team. “I think the two warm-up games (at the Cricket Club of India) have strong sides. It’s a great preparation to adapt and perform at skill levels that are needed here to win,” he remarked.

England and India open the three-match ODI rubber at Pune on January 15 which is followed by matches at Cuttack (Jan 19) and Kolkata (Jan 22) before the two sides start contesting in a three-match T20 series that concludes on February 1. The hard-hitting batsman gushed about the captaincy skills of Dhoni, who has stepped down from the helm to pave the way for Test captain Virat Kohli.

“MS is obviously a very good captain, has been for a long time and his leadership in the 2011 World Cup was exceptional. His record speaks for itself. “Virat has a little bit of an advantage in that he has been captain in the Test scene now. Of course he is a very good player. (But) You know, until you captain, you don’t know how things will go,” he added.

England are now solely focused on white ball cricket till the Champions Trophy that the country is to host in June, and Morgan said the series thus assumes added importance. “I am extremely excited about the next five-six months leading towards the Champions Trophy as we have only white ball cricket from now up to that,” said the 30-year-old Dublin-born cricketer.

“I think in the context of the next five months it’s important to get a good start. For the build-in that we have had and our record at home, considering that the next two (ICC) tournaments are at home, it’s crucial.” England are to host the 2019 cricket World Cup. Morgan brushed aside suggestions that the 4-0 Test series defeat, in which nine of his team members took part, would have any effect on how they will play in the limited overs versions.