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England v West Indies: World Cup hosts not feeling pressure, says Eoin Morgan

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England v West Indies, Cricket World Cup
Venue: Hampshire Bowl, Southampton Date: Friday, 14 June, 10:30 BST
Coverage: Live Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. Text commentary on BBC Sport website, plus desktop, tablets, mobiles and app.

Captain Eoin Morgan says England are yet to feel the pressure of being favourites to win a home World Cup.

England have won two and lost one in their opening three games and Friday’s meeting with West Indies is the first of four matches in 12 days.

“The guys are still really fresh,” Morgan told BBC Sport.

“They haven’t been absorbed by anything, they aren’t feeling any expectation on their shoulders. That’s the best place to be.”

Morgan confirmed Jos Buttler will be fit to keep wicket in Southampton, having been prevented from taking the gloves in Saturday’s defeat of Bangladesh by a hip injury aggravated while batting in Cardiff.

Fast bowler Mark Wood will have a fitness test on Friday morning after suffering soreness in his troublesome left ankle.

Off-spinner Moeen Ali is available following the birth of his second child and could return to the side, after being left out of the win against Bangladesh.

However, given the continuing wet weather which kept the Southampton pitch under cover on Thursday, England may again opt for an extra pace bowler.

Regardless of the balance of England’s attack, fast bowler Jofra Archer – their leading wicket-taker in the tournament – seems certain to line up against West Indies for the first time.

Barbados-born Archer only qualified to play for England in March and his situation mirrors that of captain Morgan, who has played against his native Ireland on six occasions.

“Tomorrow might feel a bit different for Jofra, but that doesn’t make it more difficult,” said Morgan.

“It’s still an international game of cricket where you have to perform like you have been doing. Jofra is extremely interesting because everything he has been confronted with, particularly out on the field, he has overcome.

“Being in that position myself, it does feel different playing against a side you could potentially have played for. I’m sure he will handle it like he’s handled everything else in the tournament so far.”

Archer, who has a British father, was introduced to the English game by Chris Jordan – himself a Barbados-born England international.

Archer was taken to Sussex by Jordan and opted to declare his international allegiance to England after previously missing out on being selected by West Indies for the Under-19 World Cup.

West Indies captain Jason Holder was asked about the prospect of coming up against Archer, at times referring to him as “English” and others as “Barbadian”.

“I have seen Jofra over the years,” said Holder. “He is obviously a Barbadian. He’s grown up in Barbados playing cricket so what I’m seeing of Jofra doesn’t surprise me.

“He is one of those guys who has always had ability and talent. It is just unfortunate how things went in terms of his decision-making but he is a good talent.”

How do England stop Windies dangerman Chris Gayle?

Analysis and insight from former England assistant coach Paul Farbrace, speaking to the Test Match Special daily podcast:

“Most teams in world cricket look to bowl very aggressively at him, tuck him up under the armpit or bowl at his feet. He is not someone who will blast from ball one, he does hit a lot of boundaries but he allows himself balls to get in.

“The danger of someone like Gayle is you can be drawn into bowling too wide at him. You look to bowl wide so he has to reach to the ball but actually when you allow him to swing his arms that is when he is most dangerous.

“If you can bowl straight and take his arms out of the game that can give you a much better chance of keeping him quiet and forcing him to make a mistake that will get himself out.”

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