England's successes in ODIs and T20Is over the last two years have mirrored each other to the extent it has probably instilled enough confidence in them to treat the two formats in similar fashion. Since the 2015 World Cup, they have won 56% of the ODIs they have played and the figure goes up to 60% in T20Is for the same period. Unlike a lot of other teams that change squads, including captains, vastly from one format to another, England have shown they prefer to stick to a core group in limited-overs cricket.
Captain Eoin Morgan agreed that the two formats had also "grown alike" in the last two years. England arrived in Kanpur for their three T20s against India and were only without Chris Woakes, who flew back after the 2-1 ODI series loss, and Alex Hales, who had departed earlier with a fractured hand. Even in Hales' absence, England's batting line-up will remain almost the same.
"They are still different [formats] but, trying to compare the two of them, you can in short spurts," Morgan said. "But not directly. I think what we are seeing nowadays is that actually, your 50-over team is pretty much identical to your T20 team. And the same risk level and skill level you have to show in both forms are pretty evident whereas previously, before the 2015 World Cup, you might have had three-four changes between the two groups. You might have had specialist T20 players coming in. Whereas we probably have only one or two now."
England brought in Chris Jordan, who was a key part of the team that reached the 2016 World T20 final but has also played 31 ODIs, and T20 specialist Tymal Mills to bolster their pace attack. Morgan has previously expressed his excitement about Mills' inclusion in the T20 squad but said players did not have to be groomed for different formats anymore.
"I think we're beyond that. Fifty-over cricket and T20 cricket are similar and probably have grown more alike probably quicker than we thought. It'll happen naturally but it will be a difference being a Test player and a white-ball player as opposed to just a T20 player. We have one guy but that is because he is injury prone."
Three T20 matches could lack context at the end of a long tour but the ODI series showed how chasing mammoth scores cannot be ruled out and the trend could easily carry forward into the T20Is. Just as India used the ODIs to try combinations for the Champions Trophy in June, the England players could look at the three T20Is as a chance to impress the IPL franchises ahead of the auction next month. Morgan, however, said they could also use the T20s as a build-up for the Champions Trophy "simply because the group is very similar", even though England play another eight ODIs beforehand - three against West Indies, two against Ireland and three against South Africa.
"I suppose going from the series that we've just played where our bowlers have found it quite difficult, honing your specific skills to T20 cricket can also be relevant," Morgan said. "We don't know where the 50-over cricket is going. What periods of it, throughout the middle overs or even early on, we might just go for yorkers because that might work on a particular ground. So exploring that option and improving your skill to be able to do that might, I think, help the guys in the long run.
"The positive a few of our guys have is that they've put in solid performances over the last couple of years," Morgan said of his team-mates' chances in the IPL auction. "In the lead-up to the auction, it probably already helps guys who haven't been as consistent as your top performers. Guys like Stokes for instance. If he doesn't have three great games, it doesn't mean he's not going to be picked up. It is an opportunity for guys who potentially might have been fifth on the list for franchises to be picked up. It might elevate them to third or fourth and that's a huge opportunity."
England have won several ODIs while chasing, nearly succeeding in Cuttack too, in the last two years and Morgan said it was a template they could follow in T20 too. Last year, when they brought a less-experienced side for the World T20 in India, they magnificently chased 230 in Mumbai, against South Africa's potent attack, on their way to the tournament final.
"It sits really well with batting teams having to chase," he said. "With the level of skill that batsmen have shown, the improvements they have shown in dealing with levels of risk and finding the boundary, batting units or teams, in general, are quite comfortable knowing what their target is. Posting a score or knowing what a good score is becoming more and more difficult.
"I think probably over the last three years, having a look at previous results or scores on the ground haven't been as accurate as they have been in the past or as predictable as they have been in the past. That's what's made it difficult."