England 1/4 favourites to beat West Indies in ODI series as Eoin Morgan side look to bounce back

Cricket
Windies celebrate Eoin Morgan's dismissal
Windies celebrate Eoin Morgan's dismissal

Eoin Morgan admits England will start the Royal London Series against West Indies with "angst" hanging over their one-day international credentials after their Champions Trophy semi-final exit to Pakistan.

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Morgan's 50-over specialists have not played together since they were shocked by the tournament winners in Cardiff in mid-June.

It was a chastening result which left a question mark over plans for the 2019 World Cup and - as England completed preparations for a five-match series against the Windies, starting at Old Trafford on Tuesday - Morgan acknowledged they have a point to prove.

"We probably felt we weren't good enough to get through to the final, so there is a little bit of angst there in the will to produce a significant performance throughout this series," he said.

England are Sky Bet's 1/4 hot favourites to win the series and 4/1 to do so 5-0 while the Windies can be backed at 11/4.


England v West Indies: Sky Bet odds

  • England 5-0 - 4/1
  • England 3-2 - 2/1
  • England 4-1 - 2/1
  • West Indies - 3-2 - 4/1
  • West Indies 4-1 - 16/1
  • West Indies 5-0 - 50/1

There are potential high-profile sideshows in the offing over the next two weeks too, with Ben Stokes back after his one-match break in Saturday's Twenty20 setback to face favourite old adversary Marlon Samuels.

The pair have locked horns just once, in England's ICC World Twenty20 final defeat, since the 2015 Test series in the Caribbean during which Samuels mocked the fiery England all-rounder by raising a salute to him after he was caught in the deep in Grenada.

Morgan insists he has "no worries" about any confrontations escalating between the pair – even with Stokes one more misdemeanour away from a possible International Cricket Council ban at the start of this winter's Ashes.

The Irishman concedes, however, that England must demonstrate they have addressed issues of consistency as they look to restate their ODI standing following the eight-wicket defeat against Pakistan.

"We're not quite there yet," he added. "Guys are striving to improve... (but) we still have a long way to go. We were beaten quite convincingly in that game, and there was a lot to learn from it."

England dropped Jason Roy for that semi-final, in favour of Jonny Bairstow to open alongside Alex Hales and - although the Surrey batsman has since re-discovered his form for his county, after his Twenty20 golden duck at Chester-le-Street - Morgan has decided to stick with the Yorkshireman.

"We feel the selection of Jonny is justified," he said. "He's a fantastic player. This is an opportunity to make the opening position his."

Roy is not being cast adrift, however.

Morgan added: "It's by far and away not the end. He's certainly in our plans for the future."

So too is Stokes, of course, as one of England's resident match-winners – and Morgan is confident there will be no repeat set-to with Samuels.

"No worries at all, absolutely none," he said, making it clear he does not want Stokes to feel compromised on the pitch. I want Ben to be himself. I want him to get into the contest of a game. It's part and parcel of his character... and getting the best out of Ben Stokes."

Is there a temptation, though, to earn a match ban early in the series and allow Stokes to serve a punishment beforehand and then travel on to Australia four demerit points away from any more trouble?

Apparently no – because Morgan claims that possibility has not yet occurred to him.

"I haven't thought about it," he said. "Maybe I'll speak to Rooty (Test captain Joe Root) about it."

Either way, to England, Stokes' all-round presence is critical - especially after his career-best Test bowling this month in the victory which clinched series success against West Indies.

"It's huge," said Morgan. "He's almost like having an out-and-out seam bowler, particularly after bowling like that at Lord's."

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