England will have to find a new captain for the fourth ODI against Pakistan on Friday after skipper Eoin Morgan was banned from the match by the International Cricket Council for a slow over-rate offence.
Morgan was sanctioned after World Cup hosts and favourites England took around four hours to bowl their 50 overs in a six-wicket win over Pakistan in the third ODI at Bristol on Tuesday.
He was also fined 40 percent of his match fee and his players 20 percent of theirs after match referee Richie Richardson ruled England were two overs short after time allowances were taken into consideration.
As Morgan had previously been found guilty of a minor over-rate offence during the Barbados ODI against the West Indies on February 22, this latest incident constituted his second minor over-rate offence within a 12-month period and so led to a one-game ban.
“The suspension means Morgan will miss the fourth ODI against Pakistan in Nottingham on Friday,” said an ICC statement issued on Wednesday.
‘Need to be quicker’
England paceman Chris Woakes, who led the attack with four for 67 from his maximum 10 overs, said being without Morgan was far from ideal.
“Of course you don’t want to lose the captain, particularly in the form that he’s in,” said Woakes, speaking before Morgan’s ban was announced. “It’s one of those things, we probably need to be quicker. We can deal with it, we’ve obviously got some exceptional players on the sidelines but losing Morgs would be a huge loss for a game so we don’t want that to happen.”
England, who were resting leg-spinner Adil Rashid, opted for just seven overs of specialist slow bowling in Bristol — including six from off-spinner Moeen Ali.
“Obviously Rash (Rashid) the majority of the time will bowl 10 overs as will Mo — Mo only got through six,” said Woakes.
Pakistan’s 358 for nine — a seemingly challenging total that England overhauled with ease thanks mainly to a brilliant century opening stand between Jonny Bairstow (128) and Jason Roy (76) — featured plenty of boundaries.
“When the ball’s disappearing to the fence, sometimes you need to reassess and take that extra minute to decide what your plan is going to be and execute it,” Woakes added.
“But it’s too long, it needs to be shorter than that.”
England may well have rested Morgan for at least one game in order to give vice-captain Jos Buttler more leadership experience ahead of a World Cup starting later this month.
As it is, star batsman Buttler, rested at Bristol, could now return as captain for Friday’s match at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge.
Buttler has already captained England in white-ball cricket, while Test skipper Joe Root is also a mainstay of their one-day team.
Morgan’s cumulative punishment will not roll over into the World Cup, with an ICC spokeswoman telling AFP that all players taking part would start the tournament with a “clean slate”.
Meanwhile Bairstow was officially reprimanded by former West Indies captain Richardson for smashing his stumps in frustration after he was bowled, with one demerit point added to his disciplinary record.
England are 2-0 up against Pakistan, with games in Nottingham and Leeds to come, after rain forced the abandonment of last week’s opener at The Oval.