Eoin Morgan has not closed the door on a potential Cricket World Cup call-up for opener Alex Hales as England battle injuries to their key batsmen.

Hales was included in his country's preliminary squad but failed to make the final cut having been axed in April due to a suspension imposed for what his spokesperson described as an "off-field incident".

England look primed to make the semi-finals without Hales, having won three of their four group games so far, but injuries to Jason Roy and Morgan have given the host nation fitness concerns.

Roy will miss Tuesday's clash with Afghanistan and Friday's encounter against Sri Lanka and, though Morgan (back) could feature in the first of those games, the skipper admitted there have been conversations about potential call-ups.

And the possibility of Hales being included has not been ruled out.

"If [national selector] Ed Smith came to myself and [head coach] Trevor [Bayliss] and said he felt that Alex was the best option, we would have to assess how that would sit in the changing room and the stigma it would bring with Alex coming back in," Morgan told the BBC's Test Match Special.

Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men's team, had said "the door isn't closed" for Hales, and the 30-year-old recently revealed he hoped to be involved in next year's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

Yet, speaking last month, Morgan claimed Hales had "clearly demonstrated a lack of respect" for the team's "values".

The England captain did reveal on Monday that the injury worries had led to discussions about potential call-ups should the problems prove serious.

"When we selected the squad, we did have conversations, sort of underlying replacements for particular players," said Morgan. 

"So they are always ongoing in the background and I'm not involved in a lot of them. I'm sort of quite focused on the group and task at hand. But there are always conversations going on in the background.

"I think the other day, certainly, it was a matter of getting the two scans back and seeing what process we could go through to get us both back playing as quickly as possible, and once we could get [an] indication when that might be, we would cross that bridge."

England will be without opener Jason Roy for Tuesday's Cricket World Cup duel with Afghanistan, but the hosts will remain confident they can boost their semi-final hopes at Old Trafford.

Eoin Morgan's side have made a purposeful start to the tournament on home soil and demonstrated why they top the ICC ODI rankings in Friday's eight-wicket thrashing of West Indies.

It is in stark contrast to the fortunes of their next opponents, who are languishing at the foot of the table without a point from their opening four matches.

After previous concerns over the likes of Jos Buttler and Mark Wood, managing injuries has been England's biggest obstacle.

While Morgan expects to shake off the back problem which forced him off against West Indies, Roy has been ruled out for the next two matches with a hamstring tear and his place will be taken by James Vince.

England coped with those setbacks to deliver a dominant victory against a dangerous opponent, showing the flexibility at their disposal. They will be confident of achieving a similar outcome in Manchester.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

It has been an impressive start from England, winning three of their opening four matches with South Africa, Bangladesh and West Indies all dispatched. Anything but a place in the semi-finals would be a disappointment.

Afghanistan sit bottom and their task has been made more onerous following the loss during the tournament of wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad. They did give Sri Lanka a scare in Cardiff, however, until eventually being beaten by 34 runs on the DLS method.

WHAT THEY SAID

England skipper Morgan: "I would like to think in a couple of games so far we've been red hot favourites and underlining our preparation is the humility and the gratitude with which we go about things, and that's an important part of trying to beat teams like Afghanistan. They are a strong side. I said previous to the tournament, they will beat teams in this World Cup. They haven't managed to do that yet. So that makes it a tougher challenge."

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib: "We are trying to do our best in the matches, but if I look at my team, I didn't like how we played last time [in the nine-wicket defeat to South Africa]. England is a strong side, it's a home side, so everything is on England's side. Afghanistan don't play home cricket a lot. We are used to it but it's a tough game."

OPTA FACTS

- England and Afghanistan have met just once before in an ODI; that clash coming at the 2015 Cricket World Cup with England winning by nine wickets. 

- England have won eight of their last 10 ODIs at Old Trafford (L2), with their only defeats in that time coming against Australia.

- Moeen Ali has taken more ODI wickets at Old Trafford than any other spinner, with his eight scalps at the venue coming at an average of 13.5. 

James Vince will replace Jason Roy at the top of the order for England's Cricket World Cup match against Afghanistan on Tuesday, captain Eoin Morgan has confirmed.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Monday Roy had suffered a hamstring tear and will miss the forthcoming game at Old Trafford and Friday's encounter versus Sri Lanka at Headingley.

Asked at a pre-match news conference whether Hampshire batsman Vince would step in as an opener, Morgan replied: "Yes, he is replacing Jason."

Morgan confirmed he will be able to play in Manchester after a back spasm prevented him from batting in last Friday's eight-wicket win over West Indies and he remains similarly confident over Roy's prospects in the tournament.

Next Tuesday's showdown with Australia at Lord's represents the next time at which the Surrey man might be available.

"I certainly believe Jason will play again in this tournament," he said.

"He's going to be assessed continuously over the next few weeks.

"Absolutely [I think he will play again] - if not Australia then the following game."

Having won three of their four matches, hosts England lie fourth in the round-robin standings, with the top four from the 10-team group progressing to the semi-finals.

Jason Roy will miss England's next two Cricket World Cup matches after an MRI scan confirmed the opening batsman has sustained a hamstring tear.

Roy pulled up while fielding during England's eight-wicket win over West Indies last week and must now sit out Tuesday's fixture against Afghanistan at Old Trafford and Friday's Headingley clash with Sri Lanka.

In a statement, the England and Wales cricket board said Roy "will be reassessed on an ongoing basis this week".

There is better news regarding captain Eoin Morgan, who similarly did not bat against the Windies after suffering a back spasm.

Morgan's condition has "settled down" and he will be monitored before a decision is made on his involvement in the Afghanistan match.

James Vince is poised to replace Roy in the England XI, with all-rounder Moeen Ali an alternative option at the top of the order.

The Surrey batsman bludgeoned a stunning 153 as England thrashed Bangladesh by 106 runs in Cardiff in their third outing of the competition, having opened his campaign with a half-century versus South Africa.

A best-case scenario for the hosts would see Roy return for next week's showdown with Australia at Lord's and he is likely to enjoy every chance to make a full recovery as any player replaced can only return to a World Cup squad in the event of one of their team-mates also pulling up injured.

With Alex Hales out of contention, Joe Denly would appear the most likely replacement for Roy if England are forced to go down that route.

Having won three of their four matches, England sit fourth in the points table.

South Africa may have to win all of their remaining group-stage matches to earn a place in the Cricket World Cup semi-finals and Faf du Plessis' side face two tricky challenges this week.

The Proteas lost their first three games at this tournament, belatedly getting a point on the board with a washout against West Indies before picking up their first win thanks to a comfortable triumph over Afghanistan last week.

But things certainly do not get any easier for South Africa over the coming seven days, as they take on an unbeaten New Zealand and a mercurial Pakistan, who desperately need a win themselves following Sunday's resounding defeat to fierce rivals India.

Virat Kohli's side look the strongest all-round outfit in the competition and they should pick up another victory against Afghanistan, who also face hosts England in a tough week for the only team yet to claim a point.

 

FIXTURES

Monday 17 June:  West Indies v Bangladesh (Taunton) - 1030 BST start

Tuesday 18 June:  England v Afghanistan (Old Trafford) - 1030

Wednesday 19 June:  New Zealand v South Africa (Edgbaston) - 1030

Thursday 20 June:  Australia v Bangladesh (Trent Bridge) - 1030

Friday 21 June:  England v Sri Lanka (Headingley) - 1030

Saturday 22 June:  India v Afghanistan (the Rose Bowl) - 1030, West Indies v New Zealand (Old Trafford) - 1330

Sunday 23 June:  Pakistan v South Africa (Lord's) - 1030

 

THE WEEK'S BIG GAME

With over half their matches played and only three points to their name, South Africa can ill-afford any slip-ups. Their first assignment of the week comes against the Black Caps on Wednesday, in a repeat of the thrilling semi-final from four years ago that saw New Zealand squeeze through. If the Proteas can dish out a first defeat of the tournament to Kane Williamson's side, they will go into Sunday's clash against an erratic Pakistan with renewed hope of securing a top-four finish.

STANDINGS

1. Australia - 8pts from 5 games, Net Run Rate +0.812
2. New Zealand - 7pts from 4 games, NRR +2.163
3. India - 7pts from 4 games, NRR +1.029
4. England - 6pts from 4 games, NRR +1.557
5. Sri Lanka - 4pts from 5 games, NRR -1.778
6. West Indies - 3pts from 4 games, NRR +0.666
7. South Africa - 3pts from 5 games, NRR -0.208
8. Bangladesh - 3pts from 4 games, NRR -0.714
9. Pakistan - 3pts from 5 games, NRR -1.933
10. Afghanistan - 0pts from 4 games, NRR -1.638

 

LEADING RUN-SCORERS

1: Aaron Finch (Aus) - 343
2: Rohit Sharma (Ind) - 319
3: David Warner (Aus) - 281

 

LEADING WICKET-TAKERS

=1: Mohammad Amir (Pak), Mitchell Starc (Aus) - 13
2: Pat Cummins (Aus) - 11

Australia captain Aaron Finch smashed 153 against Sri Lanka at The Oval to record the joint-highest score of the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Finch, who has also made the most runs in this tournament having accrued 343 in five innings, blasted five sixes and another 15 fours in a 132-ball knock as Australia piled on the runs.

The opener was eventually dismissed when he skied a slower ball from Isuru Udana straight into the air to give Dimuth Karunaratne a simple catch at cover.

That total meant the Australian emulated England opener Jason Roy's World Cup knock against Bangladesh one week ago, while Finch also equalled his own best ODI score having made an unbeaten 153 against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in March.

Finch had put on 80 with David Warner (26) in their opening stand before he combined in a third-wicket partnership worth 173 alongside Steve Smith (73), with Australia moving beyond 300 in the 45th over.

West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite has been found guilty of breaching the International Cricket Council's code of conduct after showing dissent in Friday's defeat to England.

The all-rounder was given out caught behind off the bowling of Jofra Archer in the 44th over of West Indies' innings during the Cricket World Cup fixture in Southampton.

Brathwaite was clearly disappointed to be dismissed for 14 as his side were bowled out for 212, a total England easily overhauled with eight wickets and 101 deliveries to spare.

As well as an official reprimand, the 30-year-old received one demerit point for a level one breach. He accepted the sanction handed down by match referee David Boon, meaning a formal hearing was not required.

Players face suspension if they receive four or more demerit points within a two-year period.

West Indies are next in action in the tournament on Monday, as they take on Bangladesh at Taunton.

It was supposed to be the tournament for the entertainers to deliver a summer of sizzling sixes. Instead, it continues to be the quiet man from Sheffield who plots the way for England's potential success at the Cricket World Cup.

Joe Root added another century – this one unbeaten – to take his tally to 279 runs and make himself the leading scorer in the competition on his own terms. 

Finessed strokes, dancing feet, precision play. In a team filled with bravado with the bat, it is a hark back to yesteryear that saw him become the first English player to hit three hundreds in World Cups.

"He is the glue that holds everything together," said captain Eoin Morgan after the eight-wicket triumph over West Indies at the Rose Bowl on Friday, an impressive chase of 213 completed with almost 17 overs remaining.

"He never seems to go at less than a run a ball. You look up, he is going at more than a run a ball and it is exceptional to watch, so to see him come out and be in this form is brilliant."

This is not just an individual endeavour, though; a third hundred partnership so far in the tournament delivered alongside emergency number three Chris Woakes, after an earlier 95-stand with Jonny Bairstow – having been forced to open the batting following Jason Roy's unfortunate injury.

West Indies bore the brunt on this occasion, as they've done on multiple occasions before. Root has four centuries against them in ODIs - no other England batsman has more than two.

"He's a quality player," reflected West Indies captain Jason Holder. "He got off to a really good start, kept up with the momentum and played really well. Credit must be given to him."

And Root continues to shine, when needed to, with the ball as well. 

A pitch that surprised Morgan with the amount of spin on show saw him turn to Root's part-time off-breaks and the skipper was rewarded with two wickets, including the break-up of a major partnership.

"Typically he's got a golden arm and does take wickets, which is great," Morgan reflected with a smile that hid the pain of a back spasm that also forced him from the field.

"I kept speaking to Jos [Buttler] because I can't get an indication unless the ball beats the bat as to how much it's turning, but Jos kept saying, 'It is turning more than we think here, it might be worth a go.'

"So we spoke about it for a couple of overs and went with it for one, possibly two [overs], but he started brilliantly."

After a week of rain interruptions, the Cricket World Cup needed one of its shining lights to break through the gloom. And as the sun began to beat down on Hampshire, Root continued to leave his nation dreaming of maiden glory.

Eoin Morgan says he and Jason Roy should discover in the next 48 hours the extent of injuries they sustained in a Cricket World Cup hammering of West Indies.

Roy suffered a hamstring problem before captain Morgan damaged his back in the field as the Windies were bowled out for only 212 at the Rose Bowl on Friday.

Joe Root (100 not out) scored a second century of the tournament, having replaced Roy at the top of the order, and Morgan was not required to bat as Chris Woakes took advantage of being promoted to number three with an excellent 40.

After watching his side get home at a canter, Morgan said of his injury: "It's the back. It's a bit sore at the moment. I've had back spasms in the past and we have to see over the next 24-48 hours. 

"Jason Roy has potentially tweaked his hamstring. He's gone for a scan and we have to see it for the next 48 hours.

"Everybody in our squad is vital, and we don't want injuries."

Morgan hailed Root after he was untroubled in yet another classy knock.

He said of the Test skipper: "Joe has had an absolute day out. He's the glue that keeps the team together."

Barbados-born paceman Jofra Archer took 3-30 in his first match against the Windies and Mark Wood claimed brilliant figures of 3-18, with Root showing his all-round ability by holding two catches off his own bowling.

The hosts and tournament favourites are up to second after a third win out of four and face Afghanistan in their next match at Old Trafford next Tuesday.

 

Test skipper Joe Root powered England to a crushing World Cup victory over West Indies to soothe the pain of stricken one-day captain Eoin Morgan. 

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell became the third player forced to leave the field due to injury during Friday's Cricket World Cup game against England at the Rose Bowl. 

Putting extra effort into a short-pitched delivery that struck Jonny Bairstow on the helmet, the paceman fell in his follow through and had to be helped off the field.

So often a dynamite player for the Windies, Russell also needed treatment whilst batting after striking consecutive sixes, with additional support being given to his wrist.

Russell has been troubled by a knee problem, hobbling off in his side's crushing win over Pakistan.

England suffered their own injury problems during the West Indies innings of 212 all out - Jason Roy sidelined after feeling tightness in his left hamstring before captain Eoin Morgan's back spasms meant Jos Buttler had to step into the breach as captain.

Test skipper Joe Root moved up the order in England's run chase, with Roy unable to open.

England suffered a second injury blow in their Cricket World Cup match against West Indies as skipper Eoin Morgan was forced off.

The tournament hosts lost Jason Roy early in the day when the opener developed tightness in his left hamstring and left the field.

And although England looked set to limit West Indies, who were 211-8 after 43 overs, to a modest total at the Rose Bowl, another scare soon followed as Morgan also pulled up in discomfort while fielding.

Morgan appeared to hurt his left leg as he made his way to the stumps at the non-striker's end and hobbled off with the support of England's physio, meaning Jos Buttler took over as captain.

England confirmed Roy would not return to the pitch during West Indies' innings, which ensured he would be unable to bat higher than number seven in the run-chase.

The injury to Morgan appeared more concerning on first viewing and it remained to be seen whether his participation in future games would come under threat.

Jason Roy was forced to leave the field during England's Cricket World Cup clash against West Indies as he suffered what appeared to be a hamstring injury at the Rose Bowl.

The opener, who came into the match in fine form after hitting 153 against Bangladesh in England's last outing, was in immediate discomfort chasing a single in the outfield, which left captain Eoin Morgan expressing concern for the 28-year-old.

James Vince - the only back-up batsman in England's squad - took Roy's place in the field.

If the injury keeps Roy on the sidelines, Vince would be the prime candidate to take his place at the top of the batting order alongside Jonny Bairstow in future matches. All-rounder Moeen Ali, left out for the second game running on Friday, is the other option should Roy be ruled out.

Mark Wood took his place in an unchanged England line-up after overcoming an injury concern ahead of their Cricket World Cup clash against West Indies, leaving Moeen Ali on the sidelines once again.

Wood had been doubtful for Friday's contest due to an ankle niggle, yet the Durham paceman was named in an unchanged line-up for the hosts, with Jos Buttler also fit to keep wicket following a hip injury.

Heavy rain throughout the week affected preparations at the Rose Bowl, but dry conditions were expected as Eoin Morgan elected to bowl first upon winning the toss, with all eyes on Jofra Archer as the Barbados-born paceman came up against West Indies for the first time.

The Windies made three changes to the side that briefly took the field against South Africa on Monday, with Evin Lewis, Shannon Gabriel and Andre Russell coming into their starting XI.

England were looking to maintain their impressive World Cup record against the West Indies. Since losing the 1979 final, they have won the following five matches between the pair and also count Hampshire as a happy hunting ground with four succesive victories under their belts.

Eoin Morgan has been assessing the dangers posed by their next opponents, the West Indies.

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