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Olly Stone Could Be a Game-Changer in the World Cup: Eoin Morgan

Cricketnext Staff |October 14, 2018, 10:47 AM IST
Olly Stone Could Be a Game-Changer in the World Cup: Eoin Morgan

England captain Eoin Morgan is delighted with the constantly increasing strength in the bowling department after his side’s victory in the second ODI against Sri Lanka unearthed another promising pacer in Olly Stone.

The 25-year-old was given his maiden ODI cap in first match of the series but rain washed the game out after just 15 overs. However, Stone made a strong impression on Saturday in Dambulla with figures of 1 for 23 in his six overs, in which he removed Niroshan Dickwella in his second over with a sharp bouncer that found the batsman fended to the keeper.

Stone was preferred over Mark Wood, who has been England's ODI opening bowler for the better part of this year. The absence of Liam Plunkett, who is unavailable for the first three ODIs owing to his wedding, has helped Stone’s chances while England also have Tom and Sam Curran in the squad and Jake Ball at home.

"It is unfortunate, but when a side is doing well it tends to be the case that guys are sitting out who would be in any other team," Morgan said after the game. "Due to the success of the team it's unfortunate they miss out. To be honest there hasn't been a huge amount of depth in one position and that's replacing Liam Plunkett. He's been phenomenal for us for the last few years and he went down in Australia and we found it very difficult to get a bowler with the same attributes - to bowl quick and change the pace of the game at any stage of the 50 overs.

"There were signs today suggest Olly could be one of those guys. Even taking the new ball gives him a new string to his bow. Liam doesn't really do that. I don't think you can disregard Olly from the World Cup based on today."

While Stone did produce an impressive spell, Chris Woakes was the star of the bowling performance, picking up three wickets in his opening spell. His performance certainly took some pressure off the debutant.

"Woakes has been doing quite a lot, and goes overlooked a lot of the time," Morgan said. "He really set the tone, he made a relaxing impression early on for Olly to come in and do exactly what he does. Olly bowled exactly like he has in the nets and warm-up and that's a really good sign. He had pace, got the ball moving. It was all done with a calm head."

The England seamers were not the only fast-bowlers who had a good day. Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga produced another fine spell of death bowling on the day, finishing with 5 for 44 from his 10 overs. After being left out of the team for nearly a year, the 35 year-old is now eyeing the World Cup next year. "I feel that if I get the chance to play the World Cup, I will," Malinga said. "It will be my last World Cup. I'm not expecting to get the chance, given the kinds of things that have happened to me over the recent past. But I will take it if it is given.

“The selectors are entitled to make those decisions. I'm just a player. My only job is to play when I get the chance. When I was out of the team, I went and played in Canada. I also played the district competition and got the highest wickets. Thanks to those performances I got another chance at this level. Because I'm nearing the end of my career I'm motivated to get wickets.”

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