Eoin Morgan eyeing fresh start
England can begin the process of repaying supporters for a winter of discontent and failure against Sri Lanka at The Oval.
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Eoin Morgan, deputising as Twenty20 captain for the injured Stuart Broad, is embracing his responsibility to lead from the front as England try to revisit a rare success from their troubled 2013-14.
They moved on from Ashes whitewash to complete their schedule by losing haplessly, under Stuart Broad, to Holland in a dead-rubber ICC World Twenty20 match in March.
Yet before then, Morgan and centurion Alex Hales had carried Broad's team to a memorable victory over Sri Lanka in Chittagong - the only time the eventual tournament winners were defeated in their entire campaign.
Morgan is optimistic of doubling up in home conditions, but knows a repeat will be hard-earned against opponents starting a new era of their own following the sprint-format retirements of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
In their place, Sri Lanka have a clutch of newcomers to choose from - including young opener Kithuruwan Vithanage, who excelled in Sunday's warm-up win over Sussex.
As Morgan assesses England's prospects on Tuesday, however, he is encouraged by their recent run chase.
"There's huge confidence to take from the game we played in the group stages of the World Cup," said the Irishman.
"They're are a notable T20 team - they have great variations. To turn them over in the World Cup was a great effort.
"If we can put in a similar performance tomorrow that will go a long way."
Morgan senses conditions for an evening match in London in May will not be as dissimilar as some might anticipate to those encountered by both teams last time round.
In any case, he acknowledges England are still far from in credit after their mostly miserable winter.
"It's probably going to be a high-scoring game, dominated by the bat.
"To repay a little bit of what happened in the winter, a win would go a long way and start off our season properly.
"If someone puts in a match-winning performance against a side we face in the first half of our season, it's going to go a long way."
England ended their World Cup campaign on a new low - one which arguably ensured Ashley Giles would not continue as limited-overs coach, replaced instead by Peter Moores and his assistant Paul Farbrace.
Morgan insists nonetheless they broadly deserved a little better in Bangladesh.
"In the Twenty20 World Cup, we put in some outstanding performances but never got the results.
"It's incredibly disappointing when you do play some really good cricket but don't get the rewards.
"Just because you work hard, it doesn't mean you'll be rewarded.
"But we'll continue to work hard and fight as a squad and hope those rewards will come."
Farbrace's presence is an important, if slightly controversial, one.
Cricket Sri Lanka were not amused initially to learn the man who had taken them to Asia Cup and World Twenty20 success was leaving, after a short tenure, to help his native country.
Morgan is delighted to have the extra inside info to hand.
"He has been key in our preparation.
"He knows their guys inside out, as he should do, and his knowledge and applying our skills in countering things they will do has been really good.
"He has gone through the majority of their players and probably given us a bit more background than we would be able to access, which is brilliant."
Morgan, vice-captain in the short format when Broad is available, is relishing his chance to play a more prominent part on and off the pitch.
He would welcome more of the same too, should a longer-term opportunity arise - as it might, if England decide Broad needs to lighten his load.
"Certainly, a leadership role is something I would be inclined to take on - I quite enjoy it.
"I have taken on the captaincy at Middlesex in Twenty20 and one-dayers.
"It has been brilliant - a bit of a challenge but really exciting - and when I have done it at international level I have really enjoyed it."
Morgan is likely to lead out a team containing at least one Twenty20 debutant, in either Ashes opener Michael Carberry or seamer Harry Gurney - who made his international bow in the rain-shorted 50-over victory against Scotland in Aberdeen 10 days ago.
Warwickshire pair Ian Bell and Chris Woakes may be the men to miss out from the 13-man squad selected for this one-off match.
Teams for Tuesday's NatWest Twenty20 International between England and Sri Lanka at the Kia Oval, starting at 6pm:
England (possible): EJG Morgan (Captain), MA Carberry, AD Hales, JE Root, MM Ali, JC Buttler (wkt), RS Bopara, TT Bresnan, CJ Jordan, HF Gurney, JC Tredwell
Sri Lanka (possible): L Malinga (Captain), T Dilshan, K Vithanage, L Thirimanne, D Chandimal (wkt), A Mathews, S Prasanna, T Perera, S Senanayake, N Kulasekara, A Mendis
Umpires: R Bailey and M Gough
Third umpire: TBC
Match referee: J Crowe (NZ)