Sunday, October 17News That Matters

England’s T20 series loss to India leaves more questions than answers   

England’s full-strength Twenty20 side flunked their lines in their potential World Cup final dress rehearsal on Saturday.

They slumped to a 36-run loss to India and a 3-2 series defeat that leaves more questions than answers. 

Here, Sportsmail’s cricket correspondent Paul Newman looks at the major issues still facing Eoin Morgan. 

England lost the decisive match against India on Saturday as the hosts won the series 3-2

England lost the decisive match against India on Saturday as the hosts won the series 3-2 

England skipper Eoin Morgan couldn't guide the visitors to a series win in Ahmedabad, India

England skipper Eoin Morgan couldn’t guide the visitors to a series win in Ahmedabad, India 

JOFRA ARCHER PUTS ENGLAND FIRST  

England desperately need Jofra Archer fit and firing if they are to win the Twenty20 World Cup in India and then the Ashes at the end of this year. 

So confirmation on Sunday of news broken by Sportsmail on Saturday that he will miss the 50-over series and the start of the IPL because of his recurring elbow injury is a big concern. 

‘It’s clearly something we need to get to the bottom of,’ said coach Chris Silverwood. ‘We’re going to make sure he has every resource necessary to get him back fighting fit for England.’ 

But the good news is Archer has ended any possible doubts over his commitment to Test cricket by seeking treatment and rest now rather than fulfilling all of his £800,000 contract with Rajasthan Royals. 

‘It was a joint decision by us and Jofra and both parties put England first,’ added Silverwood. ‘Jofra wants to be at the World Cup and Ashes so this is a sensible option.’

Jofra Archer's recurring elbow injury is a big concern ahead of the T20 World Cup and Ashes

Jofra Archer’s recurring elbow injury is a big concern ahead of the T20 World Cup and Ashes 

THE MALAN CONUNDRUM  

Dawid Malan became the fastest batsman in Twenty20 history to reach a thousand international runs, in his 24th innings, with 68 off 46 balls on Saturday and the world’s No 1 ranked short-form batsman has an average in excess of 50 and strike-rate of 144. 

Yet it is still not certain he is the best option at No 3 for a World Cup in Indian conditions.

He could have ended all arguments if he had led England to their formidable target of 225 but after making a faster than usual start, Malan couldn’t maintain the asking rate once the outstanding Bhuvneshwar Kumar had ended his partnership of 130 with Jos Buttler. 

It is not certain whether Dawid Malan is England's best option at No 3 for the T20 World Cup

It is not certain whether Dawid Malan is England’s best option at No 3 for the T20 World Cup

The question is whether Malan really is one of England’s best six T20 batsmen. He could do with a strong debut IPL campaign with Punjab Kings to ease any sub-continental concerns.

MORE NEEDED FROM BEN STOKES 

Ben Stokes certainly is one of England’s best six batsmen in any format but he ended the T20 series a dejected and under-used figure and Morgan must get more from him in the shortest format. 

Stokes faced only 56 balls in five games, scoring 70 runs, and there is an argument to move him up the order, where he was a big success for Rajasthan in the last IPL. 

Ben Stokes was a dejected and under-used figure for England in the T20 series against India

Ben Stokes was a dejected and under-used figure for England in the T20 series against India 

If Stokes batted at three, room could then be found for the lesser spotted Moeen Ali at six to provide an extra spin option while theoretically strengthening the batting. 

It would be incredibly harsh on Malan if he missed out now but England need more power and options if they are to triumph in India in October.

MOEEN ALI STILL MISSING  

So Moeen was controversially rested for the last two Tests to keep him fresh for the T20 series and then didn’t play a game. 

Silverwood insisted on Sunday it was simply because the Ahmedabad pitches did not spin as much as expected but Moeen’s decline to seemingly fringe status in all formats is sobering. 

Moeen Ali didn't play a single T20 game - after he was rested for two Tests to keep him fresh

Moeen Ali didn’t play a single T20 game – after he was rested for two Tests to keep him fresh 

Morgan’s decision to field just 12 players in the series was in contrast to experimental India who introduced two more of their no fear IPL trained batsmen in Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan to productive effect. 

It can only be hoped Moeen gets a belated chance in the 50-over series that begins in Pune.

CHRIS JORDAN’S MIXED FORTUNES  

Chris Jordan pulled off one of the great pieces of fielding on Saturday when he caught Yadav one handed and then threw the ball to Jason Roy before stepping over the boundary. 

But the best fielder in the world has become a worry in his main role with the ball. Jordan has gone at more than 10 an over in six of his past 10 T20 internationals and is not the death bowling force of old. 

While Chris Jordan's fielding was superb, he has become a worry in his main role with the ball

While Chris Jordan’s fielding was superb, he has become a worry in his main role with the ball

There are concerns too about Sam Curran who only bowled 10 overs in five matches. David Willey must wonder what he did wrong to disappear from the white-ball picture. 

Archer, if fit, Adil Rashid and Mark Wood, even though he was expensive at the death in game five, are bankers in England’s World Cup attack but two bowling places might yet be up for grabs.

P.S. The key moment in the decider was the fall of Buttler’s wicket but it was soured by Virat Kohli’s churlish send off and then another display of clear dissent to the umpires.

It was hardly a surprise the all powerful Kohli again escaped disciplinary action from the ICC on Sunday but he really does let himself down at times. 

The Indian captain needs to clean up his on-field act. 

Virat Kohli lets himself down sometimes with his dissent - he needs to clean up his on-field act

Virat Kohli lets himself down sometimes with his dissent – he needs to clean up his on-field act