London: Eoin Morgan believes England must field their strongest Twenty20 side as often as possible if they are to triumph at next year's T20 World Cup and replicate their 50-over global triumph.
The coronavirus pandemic has led England to name separate red-ball and white-ball squads this season, with the likes of all-format stars such as Test captain Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer missing from a three-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan at Old Trafford starting Friday.
They will also be without another member of the side that won the 50-over World Cup last year, with opening batsman Jason Roy missing because of a side injury.
If COVID-19 – which has already seen the T20 World Cup scheduled for Australia this year held over until 2021 in India – continues to upset the global cricket calendar, England may well persist with separate squads
And Morgan, while encouraged by the chance to give the likes of batsmen Dawid Malan and Tom Banton a chance to stake a claim, he insists England must field their first-choice team as often as they can if they are to enjoy more success at a major world tournament.
"This is another opportunity for guys who would potentially sit outside that 15 to try and present their best case moving forward for winter tours and the World Cup next year," white-ball captain Morgan told reporters on Thursday.
But he added: "One of the challenges between now and the World Cup is going to be getting our strongest team on the park as often as we can to define (their) roles.
"We will only know our strongest positions after we have guys achieving in those roles.
The Dublin-born batsman said he wanted to see the first-choice side in action as often as possible.
"I don't think we can have a scenario where we can play the majority of our games with a half-strength team and then expect to go into a World Cup as contenders when guys don't know their roles or haven't been familiarised with them," he said.
Pakistan could give a Twenty20 debut to teenage batsman Haider Ali.
"He is an exciting talent and has been doing well in practice," said the tourists' captain Babar Azam.
"We will definitely want to give him a chance as and when it comes."
For Babar, Friday's match means a quick change in formats after his unbeaten fifty helped Pakistan to a draw in the third Test against England earlier this week, although the travelling side lost the series 1-0.
"It's really difficult to come from red-ball to white-ball," said Babar, one of the world's leading batsmen.
"But T20 specific players have been practising so the aim is to win the series.
"We are positive about the series and will not take England lightly. They have good white-ball players."
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While the UAE were always the first back-up option, Oman's capital Muscat has been added as the fourth venue, apart from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, for the tournament that will start in the last week of October.
The BCCI has sought time till 28 June to decide on whether it can host the T20 World Cup in India as a possible third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected during the meet in October-November.
Left-handed opener Burns hit 16 fours and one six before he was last man out, caught behind off Southee for 132, as the home team was bowled out for 275.