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ICC World Cup 2019 | Session With Southgate on Handling Expectations Helped: Morgan

Cricketnext Staff | May 30, 2019, 7:50 AM IST

England captain Eoin Morgan has declared that his side will not crumble under the pressure of being World Cup favourites ahead of their tournament opener against South Africa at the Oval on Thursday (May 30).

England, the top-ranked ODI team, have played some consistent white-ball cricket and have won 15 out of 19 series since their embarrassing exit from the 2015 World Cup.

They now find themselves in an unusual position where everything seems to be going their way, and are standing at the door of their best opportunity to win a major 50-over ICC event.

“We have spoken about it as a group, the level of expectation and the favourites tag is there for a reason,” said Morgan.

“Over the last two years, particularly at home, we have been outstanding and that is the reason it is there. In past World Cups I have played in and some of the others have played in, we have gone with little expectation and not done that well. I would pick this position instead.

“There is a lot of belief within the dressing room. We are confident with our own game. The first game of any World Cup or Ashes feels different and that is natural.

“Dealing with it is a challenge in itself but one we are looking forward to. A win [against South Africa] under any circumstances will do.”

England however will be wary of South Africa who themselves has been in fine form of late. Morgan also expressed his worries about the overhead conditions that will provide ample help to the new bowlers.

South Africa will be without injured Dale Steyn but Morgan is aware of the threat Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi can cause.

“In every World Cup, something stands out. And in this one, it could be that every team is three or four down early on because of the overhead conditions,” he added.

“We are prepared for that and it is something we will overcome. They are a well-rounded team, they are coming into a tournament with confidence.

“They have coped without Dale Steyn often for about a year and a half. They have cover. The last time they were here, Dale wasn’t and they were fine.”

The hosts will try to emulate their female counterparts who won the 2017 Women's World Cup on their home soil. The Morgan-led side also spent some time with England football team manager Gareth Southgate under whose guidance Harry Kane's men made it to the semifinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

“We did the session with Gareth and it was brilliant,” he added.

“Every one of our players enjoyed it. He got up and talked about his journey with the team, especially in the build-up and how they increased expectations.

“Everyone who has been in our team recognised that they were in the same place we were four years ago. Hopefully we can match what they did.”

Television coverage of cricket in Britain has been largely hidden behind a paywall since England won the 2005 Ashes but Morgan believes a World Cup win would break through to a new audience.

"It would mean a huge amount. The World Cup alone raises the profile of the game and is a platform for every young kid in this country to have a hero or have the inspiration to pick up a ball or a bat," he said.

"To go on and win it, I couldn't imagine what that would do."

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Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 Australia 3028 116
2 New Zealand 2406 115
3 India 3085 114
4 England 3882 105
5 Sri Lanka 2454 91
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5093 127
2 India 5819 119
3 New Zealand 3716 116
4 South Africa 3345 108
5 Australia 3518 107
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Australia 5285 278
2 England 4564 268
3 India 9319 266
4 Pakistan 5470 260
5 South Africa 4380 258
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