England skipper Eoin Morgan admitted it was a tough call to drop Joe Root for the returning Ben Stokes for the T20I series-decider against India on Sunday.
England were forced to change the playing eleven after Ben Stokes recovered from a hamstring injury. The hosts only had two plausible options to drop to make room for the returning all-rounder. While one of them was Joe Root, reports suggested the other one was Alex Hales.
However, Hales managed to retain his place after a match-winning fifty in the second game.
As a result, Root had to make way for Stokes. The Test skipper failed to impress in both the games, falling twice in succession to India’s wrist-spinners for an aggregate nine runs.
But despite Root’s failures, Morgan said it was tough to drop his Test counterpart. At the same time, he stated the decision to go with Stokes was purely down to his abilities with the ball.
“Dropping Joe is not an easy decision,” Morgan told the media. When you look up the balance of the game and trying to win the game on this ground, it came down to Ben as a bowling option.
“If we had Joe as a sixth bowler when we needed it – and we needed it here today – an extra spinner didn’t really match up with India well. That was the call we made,” he added.
Morgan further said Root was disappointed after missing out.
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“Joe was understanding but obviously disappointed to miss out. Obviously, that changes moving forward into the 50-over games,” the skipper said.
Stokes, on the other hand, failed to justify his inclusion in the playing eleven. The comeback man scored just 14 and went wicketless for 11 runs from two overs.
When asked why Stokes did not bowl his full quota of four overs, Morgan said,
“It was tactical – we couldn’t get a wicket, so I was chopping and changing trying to get a wicket, or find a wicket, trying to be as unpredictable as we could, but it didn’t work.”
Coming to the game, India thrashed the hosts by seven wickets to win the series 2-1. Asked to bat first, England, led by Jason Roy’s blistering 67-run knock, posted 198 for nine. For India, Hardik Pandya starred with the ball, picking up four for 38.
In reply, India chased down the total with eight balls remaining. Rohit Sharma led the chase with an unbeaten ton. There were also useful contributions from Virat Kohli (43) and Pandya (33 off 14).