Eoin Morgan is the best captain at the Cricket World Cup and will not allow England to struggle with the pressure of being hosts and favourites, says Rob Key.
No 1-ranked England begin their bid for a maiden global 50-over title against South Africa at The Oval on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 9.30am.
Morgan suffered a fractured finger last week but was set to bat in Monday’s warm-up against Afghanistan before going unneeded as England recorded a thumping nine-wicket win.
“I think they will cope pretty well as they have been that good and have been planning for this for four years,” Sky Sports expert Key said of Morgan’s England.
“Generally, with the exception of an odd blip, they have dominated.
“Morgan is the best captain in the competition by a mile, whether that’s off the field or tactically on the field. He keeps them calm.
“He is one of those characters who looks after every single player, so the fact he is captain should hopefully mean they are able to deal with [the expectation].
England vs S Africa
May 30, 2019, 9:30am
“England have a had a few little scares with niggles but now seem to be in a position where they can pick from the entire squad.
“The only concern I have is whether Mark Wood can back it up game after game – at his best he is outstanding but hasn’t been able to put game after game together this summer.”
Wood has been passed fit to face South Africa after tweaking his ankle in Saturday’s defeat to Australia in Southampton and being withdrawn from the attack after 3.1 overs.
The Durham seamer sat out the Afghanistan game, one in which Jofra Archer impressed again, with the paceman taking 3-32 as England skittled their opponents for 160 at The Oval.
Key says ‘rare talent’ Archer should now start at the World Cup – and in the Ashes later this summer.
“You see the great batsmen play a shot and everyone says straightaway that there is something special. You say that about this bloke when you see him bowl one ball,” Key added of Archer.
“Three weeks ago we were probably talking about whether he gets in the World Cup squad but after seeing a couple of spells, even a couple of balls, you are saying he starts in the World Cup.
“Plus, for me, he would start in the Ashes. He is that good. You are talking about a rare talent.
“I remember playing against Jimmy Anderson at the start of his career and you weren’t as excited about him as you are about Archer.
“Now I’m not saying Archer is going to be a similar bowler to Anderson or have anything like Anderson’s career but you didn’t see as much talent in Anderson as you do with Archer now.
“He looks like a rare bowler who could take the world by storm. He can also deal with pressure as he showed in the IPL and Big Bash – in Australia they don’t rate any English cricketer at the start!
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