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2017: England's big year of white-ball cricket

England's one-day squad have departed to India as a huge year of white-ball cricket begins.

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2017: England's big year of white-ball cricket

Eoin Morgan averaged nearly 60 in his last ODI series for England

Points to prove? Maybe. Scores to settle? Certainly. But England’s head coach Trevor Bayliss and one-day captain Eoin Morgan will be stressing the importance of looking forward rather than back to the nine players who will be making a rapid return to India this week, little more than a fortnight since the end of a mostly grim Test series.

Obviously, the three 50-over matches in Pune, Cuttack and Kolkata will be England’s first in any format in 2017 – a huge year which ends with the resumption of Ashes hostilities in Australia, but has a strong white-ball focus over the first six months building to the ICC Champions Trophy on home soil in June. 

There are also three T20 matches in India, in Kanpur, Nagpur and Bangalore, before Morgan’s men can focus exclusively on the 50-over game.

They play another three-match series in the West Indies in early March, and Bayliss and the selectors will then have the opportunity to assess any possible bolters for Champions Trophy selection in the North-South series in the UAE before the start of the domestic season.

England then play two matches against Ireland in early May, at Bristol and Lord’s, before a three-match series against South Africa at Headingley, the Ageas Bowl and Lord’s again – which is followed only three days later, on 1 June, by the opening match of the Champions Trophy, against Bangladesh at The Oval.

So the countdown is on – hence the need for the nine all-format tourists to look forward to future challenges, rather than to dwell on recent Test disappointments.

And the first task confronting them – a one-day series in India – is certainly a challenge.

India ended 2016 joint third in the ICC’s 50-over rankings, with England only four points behind in fifth. But their record at home is formidable in one-day cricket, with a single series defeat – against South Africa – since the last Champions Trophy in 2013.

In contrast England’s one-day record in India is pretty miserable – the 3-2 defeat they suffered in their last series in 2013, which was also in the countdown to a home Champions Trophy, actually represented a significant improvement on the 5-0 thrashings suffered in 2012 and 2008-09.

India also won the last one-day series between the teams in England in the summer of 2014, as well as breaking home hearts in the Champions Trophy final of 2013 at Edgbaston – although England did win the last two 50-over meetings between the teams, in Perth and Brisbane in early 2015 in the build-up to the ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Changing of the guard

There will be one significant difference in the India team that Morgan’s men face in this series, however – MS Dhoni will no longer be captain.

India have yet to announce their squad, but Dhoni told the selectors this week that he feels the time is right to stand down as the leader of the white-ball team – having handed the Test captaincy to Virat Kohli two years ago.

In contrast Morgan is relishing his return as England’s one-day captain after pulling out of their last series in Bangladesh last autumn for personal reasons – and he will link up with the squad in high spirits, after a brilliant match-winning innings for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash on Wednesday.

Morgan is one of four members of England’s squad who have been playing in Australia – David Willey for the Perth Scorchers, and Jason Roy and Sam Billings for the Sydney Sixers.

With Alex Hales also returning to the squad after missing the Bangladesh series for the same reasons as Morgan, England will be aiming to maintain their impressive one-day momentum, having won nine of their last 11 50-over matches against Asian opposition in series wins against Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

England ODI squad

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, captain) 
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire) 
Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire) 
Jake Ball (Nottinghamshire) 
Sam Billings (Kent) 
Jos Buttler (Lancashire) 
Liam Dawson (Hampshire) 
Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire) 
Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire) 
Adil Rashid (Yorkshire) 
Joe Root (Yorkshire)* 
Jason Roy (Surrey) 
Ben Stokes (Durham) 
David Willey (Yorkshire) 
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire) 
* Root’s departure delayed for personal reasons

Countdown to the Champions Trophy

England have 11 one-day matches before they launch the ICC Champions Trophy against Bangladesh at The Oval on Thursday 1 June.

15 January – v India (Pune)
19 January – v India (Cuttack)
22 January  – v India (Kolkata)
3 March – v West Indies (Antigua)
5 March – v West Indies (Antigua)
9 March – v West Indies (Barbados)
17, 19, 21 March – North v South series, Dubai / Abu Dhabi
5 May – v Ireland (Brightside Ground, Bristol)
7 May – v Ireland (Lord’s)
24 May – v South Africa (Headingley)
27 May – v South Africa (Ageas Bowl)
29 May – v South Africa (Lord’s)

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