South Africa and England’s preparations for the World T20 begin with a measly two-game series that rounds off the Three Lions’ winter tour against the Proteas.
For the visitors, the open-and-closed campaign represents half of their matches in the format before the tournament begins, so opportunities to learn anything will be few and far between.
In the spirit of helping out, Ladbrokes News offer Eoin Morgan an co a headstart by highlighting three areas that should be explored during the South African series:
How do you arrange the middle order?
Jason Roy and Alex Hales will open the innings. But beyond that settled pair it is a bit of a lottery who fills spots three to seven and in what order.
Joe Root, Morgan and Jos Buttler are the logical choices to follow and can interchange to suit various situations.
However, that would leave Ben Stokes batting as low as number six which is arguably far too low for a man that set the record for the fastest ever Test 250 just one month ago.
Who is the death bowler?
Chris Woakes would normally get the gig, but he was overlooked in the World T20 squad in favour of another spinner to compliment the Indian setting.
The Warwickshire man is, ironically, in South Africa, but shouldn’t really get a game considering Morgan must find his replacement at the back end of the innings.
Chris Jordan and Reece Topley are the leading candidates and may even both play to share the responsibility. That would leave David Willey and Steven Finn in a straight shootout for the last seam-bowling spot, which is an embarrassment of riches.
Do all three spinners play?
Alternatively, England could completely abandon the three-seamer strategy by the time they reach India in favour of a trio of tweakers.
With Stokes around to provide relief for the quicks, playing all of Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Liam Dawson is made easier. The only problem is Dawson isn’t in South Africa to be tested, such was the lateness of his inclusion in the World Cup plans.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.