Morgan confident of Tri-Nations success
England Learning Disabilities head coach Derek Morgan believes there is enough quality within his squad to win this month’s Inas Tri-Nations tournament in South Africa.
England, captained by Gavin Randall, face the Proteas and defending champions Australia in four 40-over matches, with the two teams who accumulate the most points squaring off in the final on November 26.
Australia inflicted heartbreak on England two years ago with an eight-wicket Duckworth-Lewis victory in the final, but Morgan strongly believes his squad can go one step further this time around.
“The good thing is that we have two opportunities to play each opposition. Obviously we don’t want to make allowances for an off day or a poor performance, we want to make sure we perform on a day-to-day basis,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“It’s quite a condensed itinerary that we play our four group games in the space of five days so that will present a challenge for our players. But like the opposition they also share the condensed itinerary with us so we are on an even playing field.
“We are always looking to close the gap on the opposition and just take care of our performances and hopefully that will be enough to get us through the four games and the points that we need.
“Historically, there has been a close link with the South Africans so they are the two games we will be specifically be targeting and if we can win both of those games then that should ensure our place in the final.
“We think we have a realistic opportunity to win every game and come back with a 5-0 record on tour.”
Despite including six debutants in his 14-player squad for the competition, including some members as young as 15, Morgan insists his squad boasts plenty of experience to provide a stiff test for their Southern Hemisphere rivals.
“We have made significant changes over the past two years; we have brought in four or five players that are in the 15, 16, 17 age group to add to a squad which is probably otherwise an average age of around 20-22,” he said.
“They are not the oldest group around and there is a lot of youth but, having said that, there are a number of players who have got quite significant experience of cricket at this level.
“For example Gavin Randall, the captain, it’s his third Tri-nations tournament at 22 so he’s got quite a lot of cricketing experience at this level with two or three other players in similar situations which will be added pressure for them. They have got to be focal points for the tour.
“We are confident we can be very, very competitive on this tour and will present the opposition with more challenges they have ever faced in the past so it will be interesting how they respond to that.”
Morgan accepts his knowledge of South Africa and Australia is limited, but expects his young England outfit to be fully prepared for the challenge that awaits them.
“There is a shortage of knowledge of how the other squads have developed over the previous two years so our emphasis is trying to focus on our squad, our players and trying to prepare them as best as we can,” he added.
“Looking historically, Australia have been strong for a number of years and have always previously set the benchmark. The last tour where I was lucky enough to be an observer, South Africa seemed like a very young squad, so potentially there could be a lot of those players involved.
“It’s always a kind of unknown really going into these competitions regarding knowledge of the opposition.
“What we can say is we have improved our squad, with players, the way they have performed, they way they have played and developed their skills and we feel quite confident with where we are at with our players and we will have to see what we face when we get out there.
“We need to make sure we equip those players with the skills they can adapt and react to the opposition we are faced with.”