(Reuters) - Joe Root will return to England’s ODI team for the opening clash of the three-match series against Australia at Old Trafford on Friday with a ringing endorsement from his skipper Eoin Morgan.
Test captain Root was left out of the T20 series which England won 2-1, but will be back in his familiar number three slot for the 50-over world champions.
“Joe is one of the best players in the world and been in great form at Yorkshire so hopefully he can take that form into this series,” Morgan, who will also return having missed the T20 defeat by Australia on Tuesday, told a news conference.
“Throughout the World Cup he showed how valuable a player he is to us. He is under-sold a lot of the time in white ball cricket, extremely versatile in what he does. His dot ball percentage is unbelievably low, his average is high, his strike rate high. From a number three that’s all you can ask.”
While England’s ODI squad almost picks itself, such is the tried-and-trusted formula that is now instilled, Australia have chopped and changed as they try to remedy the consistency that has seen them drop to fifth in the ICC’s rankings.
“We’re still searching for our best formula and our best 11 players day in, day out in the one-day format,” captain Aaron Finch said. “I don’t think there’s any secret to that. We probably haven’t nailed consistently in this format.
“We’ve played some really good cricket in patches and some indifferent cricket in other patches. I think it’s important that we start to finalise our best eleven and make sure of our best 15 players going forward.”
“We know that any time you play England you can’t play at 90 percent, you have to be at 100 percent to beat them and we’re excited for that challenge,” he added.
Finch said the series was an opportunity for Mitchell Marsh, who steered Australia to victory on Tuesday, to nail down a middle order spot having missed the 2019 World Cup and only playing a minor role in the 2015 triumph.
“He averages 35 with the bat and I think 36 or 37 with the ball,” Finch said, “We’ve probably been guilty of shuffling him around to try to fit some other pieces in there at times.
“He’s got a great opportunity over the next couple of years to cement that spot and we’ve got huge confidence in him.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge
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