Former England spinner Graeme Swann has described Eoin Morgan as the country’s best ever one-day captain and praised his handling of Alex Hales after his drugs ban.

Despite an inauspicious start to his reign, Morgan has overseen England’s rise to the top of the ODI rankings since taking over as skipper just before the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

His side are now considered favourites to lift the trophy this summer even after their preparations were disrupted by news that Hales had received a 21-day ban for recreational drug use.

The explosive opening batsman was subsequently thrown out of the World Cup squad and Morgan accused his team-mate of showing a “complete disregard” for England’s team culture.

And Swann has hailed Morgan’s treatment of Hales, insisting the only thing standing in the way of England and winning the World Cup is whether they can handle being tipped for the title.

“I think England’s biggest obstacle is the pressure,” he said. “The pressure of being the tournament favourites, but looking at this team I don’t think they will bother with that.

“You only have to look at the way they carry themselves, I was going to say swagger around but that’s doing them a disservice, the way they hold themselves and confidence they have.

“Eoin Morgan has been key to that as well and I really like Morgs. He’s the best one-day captain we’ve ever had by a country mile because he is so aggressive.

“He thinks so far out of the box and he doesn’t give a monkeys what the pundits and all the crowd think, he knows the best method for his team to win.

“He’s demanded an honest and aggressive culture within the team and I love the fact he’s not let Hales back in the team because he lied to him and he lost the trust of the team.

“He needs the trust of his team and I think he’s brilliant, he’s the best leader for this World Cup and if do well then I think he will be a large reason why. He is very mature and hitting it well too.”

Speaking before the ODI against Ireland, Morgan insisted he was unaware of Hales’ transgression until it was revealed in the media after England had named their provisional squad.

Morgan said that Hales’ actions were at odds with the team’s “culture” - one they had been working to adopt since the incident involving the same player and Ben Stokes in September 2017.

Then, following a fight outside a Bristol nightclub, Hales and Stokes were charged with bringing the game into disrepute by the ECB after the latter was found not guilty of affray by a jury.

Swann previously played with Hales at Nottinghamshire and insists only the 30-year-old knows what caused him to wreck his own World Cup chances so close to the tournament.

“He’s not going to play in this World Cup, but I know Halesy as I played with him at Notts and believe it or not he’s actually quite a bright lad,” said Swann.

“So to be so mind-numbingly stupid on the eve of a Cricket World Cup is mad. You’re best off talking to Halesy to find out what was going through his head at the time.

“If he needs help then he should get help and that’s not his fault but it smacks to me as a bit of laissez-faire stupidity to me rather than anything else.”

Swann was speaking at a Barmy Army warm up event at The Oval, where he went head to head with YouTuber Charlie Morley to come up with a new song for England ODI captain Morgan.

And despite still having some concerns about the amount of runs England’s bowlers are conceding, Swann is feeling confident about their chances of lifting the trophy.

“England are going well and this is probably the first time ever England are genuine favourites to win the World Cup, they are looking brilliant - especially with the bat,” he said.

“They beat Pakistan in Bristol without Jos Buttler even batting and I think they are in with a great shout to win it, my one worry is with the ball they are still quite expensive.

“If they have an off day with the bat, it may not paper over the cracks enough but a good team dovetails all the time and I reckon this England team will be able to do that.”

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