(Reuters) - England’s limited overs captain Eoin Morgan has defended missing Sunday’s series-deciding Twenty 20 international with South Africa, saying he had wanted to give younger players the chance to get some minutes on the pitch.
Debutant Dawid Malan smashed a hard-hitting 78 to help England to a 19-run victory in Cardiff and a 2-1 series win over South Africa, although Morgan’s absence was queried by former England skipper Michael Vaughan and media pundits.
Morgan said England were keen to offer a second cap to Liam Livingstone, who had struggled on debut in the second T20 at Taunton. Livingstone was bowled for a duck by Dane Paterson on Sunday.
“It’s an important part of our development. Our success in 50-over cricket and T20 has been down to the strength in depth we’ve had in the side,” Morgan told Sky commentators.
“Ideally, yes (I would have played). It’s a very difficult situation to be in. I love playing international cricket, but unfortunately that is the case today. It’s tough, but it’s a call you have to make looking to the long term.”
Morgan’s decision not to play did not go down well in some quarters, with Vaughan voicing his displeasure on Twitter.
“1-1 ... Series decider ... and the England Skipper is resting... Worlds gone mad,” Vaughan tweeted during the match.
However, stand-in captain Jos Buttler backed the decision to rest Morgan.
“Depth is huge if you are going to become a really good side,” Buttler added.
”Dawid showed that by producing that performance and it shows there are some really good players really knocking on the door.
“You need that if you are going to become one of the best sides.”
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Ransom