Kolkata: Wary of the collective batting prowess of the West Indies, England skipper Eoin Morgan says their focus would be on the entire Caribbean side and not just Chris Gayle in the World T20 final, here tomorrow.
The final would provide England an opportunity to avenge their loss against the West Indies in Super 10 stage, a game in which the Caribbeans rode on Gayle's 11 sixes in an unbeaten century to come out victorious.
However, since then the big-hitting left-hander has been quiet, scoring just nine runs in two innings and is due for big knock tomorrow but Morgan said Lendl Simmons' innings against India in the semi-final proves that "West Indies team is not just about Gayle".
"Even before we played them in the group stages I was quite firm that the West Indies team is not just about Chris Gayle," Morgan said on the eve of the summit clash.
"It is important when you are playing good sides you don't focus on one or two players, it's everybody, because anybody can hurt you, and I think India witnessed that in the semi-final. Everyone watching the game (semi-final) witnessed that with Lendl Simmons' innings," the English skipper said.
Chasing India's 192 for two, the West Indies rode on Simmons, Johnson Charles and Andre Russell's power-hitting to overwhelm the target with two balls to spare after Gayle got out cheaply.
Fully aware about the magnitude of the moment, Morgan has called on his side to embrace the World T20 final.
"We're quite real about things. We know it's not going to be a normal game. Even the semi-final we played, there was quite a lot of hype around the expectation of playing in a final and I want all of our players to embrace it. It is important we are in the right frame of mind to slow it down when needed and more importantly execute our skills," he said.
"Winning the title would mean a huge amount. I think given the strides that we've made in the last 12 months in the white-ball cricket, this would be a great reward for the mindset we've shown, the dedication and the hard work," Morgan said.
The West Indies have a 9-4 win-loss record against England going into tomorrow's big match but Morgan said past results would have no bearing on the final.
"I think it's two completely different teams. Given that we've grown as a side, game after game. It's difficult to compare sides from the first game of the tournament to the final of the World Cup."
England were dumped out by Bangladesh in the ODI World Cup in Australia last year but they have turned the tables around splendidly.
"It's quite a stark difference from 12 months ago. It's hard to believe in some ways. I would never have imagined the turnaround being so immediate or having such an immediate impact. But I've always stressed about the talent we have and the hard work we put in," Morgan said.
"The key component in that has been the mindset of the players and back-room staff. Tomorrow, the opportunity that we do have is a product of that. It's very exciting. I'm just very proud."'
Even though he has struggled with the bat in this tournament, Morgan's captaincy has come in for a lot of appreciation.
"I think I've drawn a lot of experience. One thing I like I do is deal on an individual basis pretty well and keep an eye on the guys, how they re travelling, and the guys who aren't playing. It's very important that their contributions and morale around the group is high, given that we're touring India and a lot of the guys haven't been here before.
"It's important to keep talking about conditions, make sure there's no novelty and no pre-conceived ideas that we came to India with," he said.
Morgan also showered praise on top-order batsman Jason Roy and said the opener's rich form has benefited the team.
"I think Jason is an extremely positive player, he has really grown in the England changing room since he started playing with us. The brand of cricket we are playing at the moment really suits his style.
"Even when he was going through a bad run, at no stage did he look to play for himself. He has always played for the team, always tried to put in that match-winning performance and on the big stage it's coming good," he said.
Morgan himself has struggled for runs so far, averaging just 15.25 with two golden ducks.
"At the moment I'd like to score more runs. That hasn't happened. Hopefully tomorrow I can make a match-winning contribution...if I can get past the first ball," he said.
Updated Date: Apr 03, 2016 13:55 PM