Eoin Morgan stated that Ben Stokes was eager to play in the series against India and that's why resting him was not considered even though he was due for rest according to England's rotation policy. Morgan further added that filling the Joe Root-shaped hole will be huge for the side.
England's rest and rotation policy has been fair to everyone in the Covid-19 crisis time and thus going by the same logic, Ben Stokes, who missed the Sri Lanka series, was due for a rest in the ODI series. However, with the Indian Premier League around the corner, Stokes anyway would have to stay back in the bubble to avoid another quarantine. Morgan said that all things considered and Stokes' insistence on playing the series, it was decided not to rest the Durham all-rounder.
"Given that we play three games in five days, if we rested Ben, it would have literally Ben was staying in his room in Pune or Mumbai, sitting around as IPL is near. Ben was very keen to play so it was not considered," Morgan said of Ben Stokes in the pre-series press conference.
During the T20 series, Morgan expected turning wickets for the English team so that they could get prepared for the T20 World Cup in India later this year. However, most of the wickets had plenty of runs, and dew made its appearance to make life easier for the batters. Morgan is not expecting a lot of spin in Pune either, considering the nature of the wicket historically.
"I do not know if we will get turning pitches. Historically, Pune has not really turned, it is a high-scoring ground and it is smaller than most. Good outfield and some dew in the evening. I am not expecting the pitch to turn but if it does it will be a really good experience for us," Morgan said.
England will give chances to either Sam Billings or Liam Livingstone with Joe Root being rested for the ODI series. Root, in the last few years, has been a very important cog in the wheel for the English ODI side, thus his absence would be a huge deterrent for the team. While Morgan stated that he will definitely miss having Root in the middle, he further added that it is also an opportunity for the youngsters to perform as well.
"For a guy who scores run a ball and averages 50, he is an exceptional player and he has been that for a long time. We will miss him but it is about someone getting slotted at number three," Morgan said.
"We have plenty of options with guys who want to bat in the top four, very similar to the T20 make up. We'll see guys given opportunities, more so than the T20 series. It's going to be exciting, three games at the same ground against a very strong Indian side is a huge opportunity for everyone to get back out there, in the frame of mind and the pace of 50-over cricket and for guys who want to make their case in both formats.
"Given a World Cup is around the corner, playing any cricket is a huge opportunity for guys who have been here on the fringes and not made the selection so far. When you score runs or take wickets away from home there is always a huge incentive to try and push your case forward."