The key talking points ahead of England’s five-match Twenty20 series in India

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England are on a reconnaissance mission ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup in India later this year as they take on Virat Kohli’s side in Ahmedabad across five matches, starting on Friday.

The series has been billed as a dress rehearsal, with England eager to gain an understanding of a number of factors on this expedition, ahead of the global showcase in India in October and November.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the major topics for discussion on the eve of this series.

Spin to win

After six Tests in the space of seven and a half weeks in Asia, some of England’s all-format batsmen would perhaps be forgiven for looking forward to flatter surfaces and the more unresponsive white ball in this series. After all, many in their ranks were utterly bamboozled by Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel, who exploited lavish turn to spin India to a 3-1 win in the four-Test series. Ever the pragmatist, though, Eoin Morgan takes a long-term view as he insisted he would welcome trickier, bowler-friendly conditions so a vaunted batting line-up can brace themselves for what may be coming their way in the autumn. Ashwin is no longer under consideration in the white-ball formats, but Patel is once again lurking menacingly alongside the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar.

Keep an eye on Jofra

There should be no doubting Jofra Archer’s pedigree by now – at any level. But the paceman has been troubled by pain his right elbow since inspiring England to their historic 50-over World Cup triumph nearly two years ago and the problem reared its head during the Test series. He missed two of the last three matches and head coach Chris Silverwood intimated the issue may need long-term management. The reigning Indian Premier League most valuable player is in contention to feature on Friday but England should be wary of overburdening their star fast bowler. How he is handled by England over the coming months could go hand-in-hand with their fortunes.

Hales casts a shadow over batting group

Eoin Morgan, right, says Alex Hales has his work cut out to get back into the England side (Nick Potts/PA)
Eoin Morgan, right, says Alex Hales has his work cut out to get back into the England side (Nick Potts/PA)

Who might be looking over their shoulders?

Jason Roy could do with a score (Jon Super/PA)
Jason Roy could do with a score (Jon Super/PA)

Who wants it?

Morgan and deputy Buttler have this week given India the favourites tag for the T20 World Cup because of their supremacy at home. It is a fair argument; in their last 11 T20 series on home soil, India have lost only once, while they have prevailed in their last five on the bounce globally. However, Kohli seemed taken aback at the suggestion from two of England’s most senior personnel and was quick to return the favour. His reasoning is that England are the top-ranked T20 side in the world and will therefore have the biggest target on their backs. It seems the mind games are well under way.

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