ENGLAND TOUR OF WEST INDIES, 2019
Cricbuzz Staff •
Willey registered his career-best figures of 4 for 7 in the third game. © AFP
England are in a “really healthy place” as far as their World Cup preparations are concerned, reckoned skipper Eoin Morgan who was pleased with the team’s “perfect performance” in the final T20I against the Windies that helped them end the Caribbean tour on a high. After the humbling in the Test series, the top-ranked ODI nation was held on to a 2-2 draw by a spirited Windies side. But England managed to hit back strongly in the T20I games, sealing a 3-0 finish with clinical performances, especially in the last two matches in St. Kitts.
After a four-wicket win in the first T20I, when they took 18.5 overs to chase down a target of 161, England were ruthless in the next two games – bowling out the Windies for 45 to win the second T20I by 137 runs before registering an eight-wicket win in the last game after wrapping up the hosts for 71.
“That’s as close as we could have got to a perfect performance,” Morgan said after England’s win in the third game. “Throughout this T20 series we have played extremely well. What we have seen over the last two games is individuals standing up and producing match-winning performance,” the England captain told Test Match Special.
“The guys who did perform here certainly will be talked about in selection meetings,” Morgan added. “The guys played close to perfect. There is an opportunity to look at other guys outside of our mainstay players. I probably see our bowling line-up changing more than our batting. David Willey really did stand out with that early spell. We felt he was our best option to swing the new ball and he’s very deceptive with his slower balls. Sam Billings, Chris Jordan and Joe Denly have also come in and done well.”
The T20I series provided an opportunity for some of the fringe players to make their impression ahead of the World Cup selection. With Jorfra Archer’s England selection looming, David Willey had mentioned earlier that the combination that got England to the top should not be disturbed with, and that the players will be eager to come up with performances on the field that ensure that they can’t be ignored. Having not featured in the ODI series, Willey made sure to grab his opportunities in the T20 games, finishing the series as the joint-highest wicket-taker along with Chris Jordan.
“They are the kind of days you dream about in Twenty20 cricket,” said Willey, who registered his career-best figures in T20Is with his 4 for 7 in the third game. “Very often it’s a batter’s game so to be a bowler and get some wickets, then to win in the fashion we did is brilliant. “I’d like to think I was on for the five-for but if someone had offered me four for seven when I woke up this morning I’d have bitten their hand off. I’m happy with that.”
“Touring is difficult when you’re not playing and when you do get your opportunity there is a bit more pressure on for you to step up and contribute. I always feel I play my best cricket when I’m playing regularly so it can present a challenge to hit your straps when you’re not playing regularly. So to come out and play as I have gives me a lot of confidence,” Willey said.