MELBOURNE (Reuters) - England’s World Cup opener is only two days away, but captain Eoin Morgan will delve into the past for inspiration to reverse his poor batting form and help his team cope with their demons facing Australia on home soil.
A crowd of 90,000 is expected at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for Saturday’s match, and most of the fans will hope the tournament’s co-hosts post a big win to continue their dominance of their arch-rivals since the 5-0 Ashes sweep a year ago.
Morgan, who replaced the out-of-form Alastair Cook as skipper late last year, is himself out of sorts with the bat and posted a third duck from four innings in England’s loss to Pakistan in Sydney on Wednesday, their final World Cup warmup.
The MCG bear-pit can be a daunting place for a player battling queries around their game, but Morgan was “not really” concerned.
“I went through a little bit of a bad patch before Christmas and I think since then through the Big Bash I’ve started to turn things around,” he told reporters at the venue on Thursday, referring to Australia’s domestic Twenty20 competition.
”I’ve had a couple of low scores, but obviously I‘m looking to cash in on Saturday if I manage to get past 10 to 20 balls.
”(It was) four or five games since I last scored a 100, so I don’t have to look that far back to actually reconnect with what works well for me.
”I took a lot out of that 100 I scored in Sydney, particularly as it was against Australia and the first game is a big one against Australia. I take a lot of confidence from that game.
“I find it really easy to reconnect with the past and find what I do well and be very individually focused when the chips are down.”
England have lost 13 of their past 15 one-day matches away to Australia, including their last three matches during the recent triangular series with India.
The last harrowing tour of Australia, when England lost the Ashes and the following one-day series 4-1, will be fresh in the minds of seasoned players like Ian Bell and frontline seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Morgan said his squad would need to remember happier days when England held the whiphand.
“We’ve all, the majority of the side, have all been in (winning) positions before,” he said.
“It’s swings and roundabouts. We’ve been in that position before and our time will come.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury