Limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan feels it's "laughable" to use The Hundred as an excuse for England's recent Ashes debacle and insisted that Test cricket has "always been the priority."
England's Test side slumped to 0-4 Ashes series defeat in Australia last week. They were completely outplayed in four games by the hosts, while Joe Root and his men managed a draw in the fourth Test by the skin of their teeth.
Morgan's comments come after Test skipper Root urged the ECB to 'prioritise' his side following the Ashes defeat, implying there has been too much focus on limited-overs cricket since 2015.
“People that use that as an excuse don’t watch cricket,” Morgan told 'talkSPORT'.
“Test match cricket has always been the priority – it’s the format for our elite players. Obviously times at the moment have been tough down in Australia during the Ashes but they always are. We’ve lost the last two series 4-0," he added.
Root has argued for changes in the domestic structure to incorporate more red-ball matches at the height of summer when The Hundred -- the ECB's professional franchise 100-ball cricket tournament -- takes place.
“It’s laughable to point the finger at The Hundred. The Hundred is an unbelievable success," Morgan said.
He added that the domestic structure in England is similar to that of Australia's. “Our formats in county cricket and the Hundred, in the way they’re structured, are exactly the same as Australia’s.
“People need something to blame so they’ll point at probably the furthest point to reality because nobody wants to say, ‘You know what, we’ve not had the prep we’d have liked, we probably haven’t played as we’d have liked, and we’ve lost.’ “That happens in all formats, but I stress Test match cricket has always been the priority."
It has been claimed that Morgan has been given full-strength squads throughout the last two years in preparation for T20 World Cups but the limited overs skipper pointed out that the white ball side has often not had the luxury of a full strength team available.
“As a white-ball group, we’ve gone on tours and played in series at home where we haven’t had our full-strength side available – that’s been a constant theme for a number of years now. Obviously Test matches take priority and always do."
Morgan also said that for a "majority" of his cricketing career, limited-overs cricket was second fiddle, an "afterthought".
“... 95 per cent of the time was spent around planning and prep for Test match cricket and then when we got to a World Cup, it was like, ‘Well, if we do well, great, but if we don’t, it’s fine’.
“With the skill level that guys are producing now on a consistent basis, proven over a long period of time, we’re considered one of the best in the world. Trust me, I’d much rather be considered that than an afterthought,” he added.
England is scheduled to take on West Indies in a five match T20 series, starting Saturday.
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