England v New Zealand: Morgan can 'handle World Cup pressure'

Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan's form was criticised following four ducks in his last five matches
Pool A: England v New Zealand
Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium Date: Fri, 20 Feb Time: 01:00 GMT
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

England batting coach Mark Ramprakash says Eoin Morgan's strength of character will see the captain come good at the World Cup.

England face New Zealand in Wellington on Friday having lost their opening match against Australia by 111 runs.

Morgan's captaincy was criticised and his form came under scrutiny following four ducks in his last five matches.

"In terms of handling the pressures you couldn't ask for a better character to be able to handle it," said Ramprakash.

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott
"Nobody who supports England expects them to win every match but I think we'd all like to see better performances.
"We seem to have such a lot of chopping and changing and are never quite clear about our ideas. Didn't we rearrange the Ashes fixtures so we had plenty of time to plan for a World Cup?
"England have never won the World Cup but in between times we've sacked our best batsman, the former captain has gone and it's been a rollercoaster for months. We're supposed to be planning to win the World Cup but we're probably worse now than we were 12 months ago."

"He's had this amazing run where he's found different ways to get out. If it was another person, another character, then I might have real cause for concern because I think it would weigh heavily on their mind."

Ramprakash, who played 52 Tests and 18 one-day internationals, praised the way Morgan has responded to taking over as one-day captain from Alastair Cook.

"I've been hugely impressed with the way Eoin's dealt with taking over the group but also the way he manages to differentiate between the captaincy and the leadership role with his own game," said Ramprakash.

"I would never say 'I think you should do this'. It's more throwing in the odd question and seeing how he feels.

"He thinks about his own game. He knows his strengths. So the onus of responsibility is on him because of his experience."

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
"It concerns me that England have changed bowling tactics, by the look of it, at a very late stage. They have been out on the [practice] pitch with a scaffold pole and a couple of bricks bowling yorker after yorker."

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who has played alongside Morgan with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, described the left-handed batsman as a "champion player" and a "tough bloke".

"I caught up with him last night but we didn't talk about it," said McCullum.

"He's one of my better mates from around the world in terms of cricket. He's going through a bit of a tough time at the moment, but tough times don't last, tough blokes do.

"Hopefully tomorrow we're able to keep him quiet but I am very confident at some point he'll bounce out of it because he's a quality player and a tough bloke too."

McCullum, meanwhile, said the co-hosts would be unchanged for their third group game following wins over Sri Lanka and Scotland.

They have won 10 of their last 12 matches and are one of the favourites to lift the trophy on 29 March.

"The guys have performed well so far," he said. "We want to give them the same opportunity again. We think that the balance of the team that we're going in with will suit us well on this ground."

Key stats

Advantage New Zealand
England won their first three World Cup games against New Zealand but have lost their last four
Eight of the last nine ODIs between these teams in New Zealand have been won by the team that batted second (the other game was tied)
New Zealand have won nine of their last 11 completed ODIs at the Wellington Regional Stadium
Eoin Morgan's ODI average of 19.4 in eight innings against New Zealand is his lowest against any of the 12 teams he has batted against more than once

Group table

Pool A
1New Zealand2200+2.624
4Sri Lanka1010-1.960


England (from): Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler (wkt), Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Joe Root, James Taylor, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes.

New Zealand (from): Brendon McCullum (capt), Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Tom Latham, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Daniel Vettori, Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson, Tim Southee, Luke Ronchi (wkt), Ross Taylor.

Umpires: Rod Tucker (Aus) and Paul Reiffel (Aus)

TV umpire: Bruce Oxenford (Aus)

Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (SL)

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