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Need to earn the ‘favourites’ tag by beating top sides more often: Morgan

Bairstow scored a brutal 72 not out off just 44 balls in the second One-Day International (ODI) against Ireland at Lord’s on Sunday (May 7) but will likely miss out on England’s three-match ODI series against South Africa in two weeks’ time when Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes, all of whom missed the Ireland series because of Indian Premier League (IPL) commitments, will return.

After impressive returns from Joe Root with the ball against Ireland (he bowled ten overs for the first time in an ODI at Lord’s and took five wickets across the two matches), coach Trevor Bayliss had suggested that England might play Root as the sixth bowler instead of Moeen Ali which would mean a place for Bairstow at No.7 in the order.

“To justify an-out-and-out batter at seven, I’m not sure you can. The number of balls faced at seven, the spread on them is very small so over the course of say 10 games, if he faces 40 balls in one game is he going to face 40 balls that will win you a game, or could your all-rounder go in, do the same job, and then contribute more with the ball?”

England depart for a pre-Champions Trophy training camp in Spain on May 15, but before that, Morgan will head back to the IPL and the Kings XI Punjab rather than play for his county, Middlesex, in the Royal London One-Day Cup. Sam Billings will also be heading back to the Delhi Daredevils

“This year is probably the hardest year to justify going back to India and do what I’ve always done, but I’ve stuck to my guns and I still maintain that I always come back from India either striking the ball better or I’m more confident as a player and I don’t know why,” Morgan said. “Whether I’m playing or not or working on my game or not it helps. It could be the high intensity of everything or the outside chaos and pressure on you, but when I come back I just feel like I’m good to go.

“I’m the opposite to Joe Root. He needs to hit balls and play a lot of games, or as much as he can in the lead up to a series, but for me it is more of a feeling and that is why I’m flying back out.

“If I had played more out there before coming back for the Ireland games then I probably wouldn’t be flying back now. I’d feel more comfortable about staying and playing.”

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