Eion Morgan believes Afghanistan opener Mohammad Shahzad will be a huge threat © Getty Images
Eion Morgan believes Afghanistan opener Mohammad Shahzad will be a huge threat © Getty Images

England skipper Eoin Morgan believes associate nations should be given more and more opportunities. Having been a player of an associate nation Ireland, before switching his allegiance to English in 2009, Morgan believes countries like Afghanistan, Netherlands, Ireland and others should be given more opportunities to fight it out against the test playing nation. England, who started of their T20 World Cup 2016 campaign with a loss in their first game against West Indies, came back strongly against South Africa by chasing down a record 230 runs to win the match. Their next fixture is against Afghanistan, who beat Zimbabwe, a test playing nation, en-route to winning their group and qualifying for the Super-10 stage. FULL SCORECARD: England vs Afghanistan, 24th T20 Match, Super 10 Group 1

Ahead of the game, the English skipper in an interaction with media said, “It’s very important for the sport to grow. I think Associate nations are a key in evolving our sport. We should give them as many opportunities as possible. Certainly as captain of a team that plays in all three formats and watching the gruelling years they go through, I certainly feel a time where it’s feasible where we play tri-series against different teams, not necessarily fielding our strongest side. I certainly see an opportunity down the line.” ALSO READ: T20 World Cup 2016: Afghanistan appeal to ICC for more challenges

He was also asked about the mental state of his side for this game, with comparisons to England’s loss to Netherlands in 2014. He replied, “It (Netherlands 2014) was a unique set of circumstances. We were already out of the tournament back then. We were flying back directly after the game, our bags were packed. So the mindset we brought to the game was different. Certainly, in my mind, I was already at home sitting on a couch. A lot of guys were in the same circumstances.”

“The disappointment of being knocked out of world is really horrific. Coming into this game, we are very fresh. Tomorrow it’s going to be about adapting to the conditions that are in front of us. If we do that, hopefully we will perform well,” he added.

He was also quizzed about the threat possessed by Afghanistan, especially by opener Mohammad Shahzad, who scored a quick-fire 19 ball 44 against South Africa. “Mohammad Shehzad is a good batsman. It would be rude for me to single out any one of their players. I think, as a side they can be quite strong and very destructive. If we target one player, we give opportunity to another. It’s important that we treat every player in the side as we do Shehzad. ALSO READ: T20 World Cup 2016: Eoin Morgan wants England to be at their best when facing Afghanistan

“They’re a dangerous side. They have played a really exciting brand of cricket. 10 years back we wouldn’t have known about them but such is the nature of modern game that we know a lot now. We have watched their games. They are playing really well. It’s been nice for us to have seen them play against South Africa and Sri Lanka and know what kind of side they are. Tomorrow is a big game for us. We are certainly not taking Afghanistan for granted,” he said. ALSO READ: T20 World Cup 2016: Inzamam-ul-Haq says Afghanistan cricketers very talented; need exposure

Finally, he was quizzed about how he will cope with the conditions at Feroz Shah Kotla, as well if he planned to use Joe Root as a bowling option. “Since we have arrived here (Delhi), we had one net session and certainly the ball was turning quite a lot. I don’t think it will as much as it has had. That’s all we can do. We can be as open-minded. Being open-minded, taking in all the information and then playing accordingly is important,” he said.

“Root can be a viable option for the third spinner. Williams Dawson could come into consideration if the grass comes off. He is ready. He is training really hard. He has been bowling really well in training and like anybody, is keen to get involved.”

– With inputs from TOI