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Sport

Morgan says Root in England's T20 plans despite omission

(Reuters) - Joe Root has a future in England’s Twenty20 setup but he was left out for the three-match series against Australia as his spot in the playing 11 was not guaranteed, captain Eoin Morgan said on Thursday.

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Test captain Root was included in England’s one-day international squad but Morgan said the 29-year-old was better off returning to Yorkshire to play county cricket rather than staying with the squad.

“We’ve spoken to Joe and he certainly does have a future,” Morgan told reporters ahead of Friday’s series opener in Southampton.

“The conversation was surrounding Joe not getting into the best 11 at the moment, but also we didn’t want to carry him around and not play any cricket.

“Joe wants to play T20 cricket and put his best case forward, particularly when he doesn’t have a lot of opportunity to go back to Yorkshire and play T20 cricket. We felt this was a really good opportunity to do that.”

Morgan added that the team lacks a middle-order batsman who can help accelerate the run rate, especially in the absence of all-rounder Ben Stokes, who skipped the last two tests against Pakistan to visit his father, who has brain cancer, in New Zealand.

“There are periods where... guys will have opportunities to bat in their normal position or elsewhere,” Morgan added.

“One of the challenges we do have down the line is trying to find a lower-order batter that can come in and play in an aggressive manner from ball one.”

Australia are the world number one side in T20s and Morgan said the tourists would be favourites going into the series, which is being played without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They have their strongest squad here and so will probably be putting in their best 11,” Morgan said, adding that the lack of fans would not affect them in any way.

“I don’t think it bothers them. Some guys really enjoy playing away from home.”

Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai; Editing by Toby Davis

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