Captain Eoin Morgan says he is “really excited” by the potential of England’s Twenty20 team as they prepare to face South Africa in two matches before the World T20 begins in India in March.
England have won their last six T20 internationals and beat South Africa A by 44 runs on Wednesday.
“We ticked a lot of boxes,” Morgan said. “The squad is starting to come together and show real strength.
“We have a number of match-winners within the side.”
England take on South Africa in Cape Town on Friday after Alex Hales hit 78 and Reece Topley took three wickets to earn Morgan’s men a comfortable victory in the warm-up match in Paarl.
“We played with a lot of aggression and committed to everything we did,” Morgan said. “Alex Hales continued his great run of form.
“The team is looking in really good shape.”
Young attack ready for ‘big test’
Morgan conceded that England’s bowling remains a work in progress in the shortest format of the game.
“We need to continue the way in which we play and up our skills, probably more so with the ball than with the bat,” he said. “South Africa are a very strong outfit and this is really good preparation for us.
“The wickets are probably going to be batsmen-friendly, so it’s going to be a bigger test for our bowlers, which is really good, given that we don’t play a lot of T20 cricket. For our young bowling attack, it’s going to be a really good challenge.”
But he said the form of spinner Adil Rashid and left-arm pacemen Topley and David Willey gave him optimism that the bowlers would be equal to the task.
“I’m not worried about the bowling,” Morgan said. “The fact that the two left-armers swing it and pose a threat early on gives us a chance to take wickets in the first six overs, which is crucial.
“Since Adil has come back into the side, he’s been outstanding. His experience at the Big Bash has been brilliant, he was one of the leading wicket-takers over there and the experience of playing as an overseas player in a different country was a huge responsibility to take on his shoulders and he cherished that.”
Buttler key to batting flexibility
Morgan has batted at four and five in England’s most recent T20 games and says this sort of adaptability is important to keep England’s batting line-up firing – including getting the best out of destructive wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler – at the World T20.
“The way in which we’d like it to formulate is to be flexible, similar to the one-day team,” Morgan said.
“Within that flexibility of the batting order, using Jos as much as we can and as well as can is going to be key in the World [T20].
“I don’t have an ideal spot [in the order]. If there’s a situation where somebody is suited better for it, we’ll send them in.”