'Our middle-order probably haven't fired as well as we would have liked'
Captain Eoin Morgan wants England's IPL-bound players to make the most of the opportunities in the upcoming T20 league as they prepare themselves for the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in India later this year.
The T20 World Cup is scheduled to be hosted by India in October-November this year and Morgan expects English cricketers to take full advantage of the IPL, starting April 10.
"Taking advantage of the upcoming IPL is going to be huge," Morgan said after their 36-run defeat to India here last night to concede the five-match series 2-3.
"As a team and individuals we don't want to stand still, we want to continue to move forward. Any opportunity guys get at the IPL, you want to try to make the most of it," said Morgan, who is the skipper of IPL side Kolkata Knight Riders.
England will be at home all summer, taking on New Zealand (two) and India (five) in seven Tests between June and September before they get to play white ball cricket in Bangladesh and Pakistan in the build up to the T20 World Cup in India later this year.
"We're going to be playing at home all summer and then we got to Bangladesh and Pakistan. You know, there's limited opportunity to get our best XI in those games."
"So I think the experience over the next couple of months is probably the most valuable, and then having the time to work on your game after that," said Morgan, England's ODI World Cup-winning skipper.
England have fielded full-strength squads in their recent T20 series against South Africa and India but Morgan has revealed that he expects to be without the services of multi-format players throughout their home T20I series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan next summer.
"I would imagine all of the multi-format guys (will miss those series)," Morgan said.
"It's just too much to ask, given the winter guys have had as well, around being in a bubble. A lot of it will be dependent on how flexible it is to come in and out of the bio-secure environment that we'll have during our summer, and whether they can see their families or not."
"We've been lucky with injuries so far but we can't always have our fast bowlers as fit as we would like them. What we will have throughout the summer is opportunities for guys to stake their claim."
England made just one change in the just-concluded five-match T20I series with Tom Curran replacing Mark Wood due to injury in the second match.
But Morgan insists England are yet to finalise its T20 World Cup squad.
"I think we're too far away from the World Cup to see who could be in and out of the squad, what we will have throughout the summer is opportunities for those guys to stake their claim," he said.
"Nobody's nailed on. If any player including myself looks that far ahead and think that their position is nailed down, they're mistaken because we want to improve as the rest of the world progresses. T20 as a game is progressing faster than any other of the formats, so we need to be quite flexible in how we want to improve. We can't be rigid."
"We looked at it last summer with guys like Tom Banton, Sam Billings, and Moeen Ali (who has) taken on great responsibility when he's had the opportunity."
The duo of Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan gave a fantastic start to England's mammoth chase of 225 last night as they were 130 for 1 after 13 overs but three quick wickets derailed the visitors.
"Our middle-order probably haven't fired as well as we would have liked. But there were some big lessons and huge amount of positives. Four out of five games, we've produced some of our best powerplay bowling that we have in the last couple of years," he said, hailing Adil Rashid.
"He (Rashid) has to be hugely commended for taking on a new role within the side, creating opportunity and obviously limiting the amount of runs that he was scored off as well, gives us an extra option moving forward. It's one of the hardest to bowl probably particularly in India," he concluded.