The main phase of the ICC World T20 is fast approaching and England is taking what looks like an inexperienced yet exciting squad of players.
The inaugural Twenty20 World Cup winners will be reliant on Alex Hales and Jason Roy to get them off to a good start at the top of the order – especially the former, who has flirted with the pinnacle of the T20 batting rankings in the past.
England’s middle-order is likely to comprise Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes, with one of Sam Billings, James Vince and Liam Dawson possibly sneaking in if England opt for a lengthy batting line-up.
It is a powerful crop of contemporary cricketers who are capable of fireworks, but they are no strangers to a collapse. As ever, Joe Root – a man for all formats and occasions – will need to be the “glue” of the batting order.
With spin certain to play a key part in India, England will be hoping for strong contributions from the likes of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, while England could deploy a three-man spin attack if uncapped all-rounder Dawson, who bowls left arm spin, is given the nod.
With Ben Stokes certain to feature, England’s remaining seam options will be two or three from Steven Finn, David Willey, Chris Jordan and Reece Topley – perhaps the most difficult department in the team to call.
A selection headache could be allayed by Finn’s side strain, which is likely to rule him out of the first game at the very least.
The inaugural Twenty20 World Cup winners will compete against South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and the Group 1 winner of the qualifying phase.
Sri Lanka, with prowess in both bowling and facing spin, are sure to be a handful, despite the fitness concerns of key bowler Lasith Malinga, while South Africa got the better of England in their recent T20 encounter.
As for West Indies, no team that includes cricket’s Mr Cool, Chris Gayle, should be considered lightweight, but there’s no doubt that the absence of Sunil Narine (“insufficient progress in the rehabilitative work on his bowling action” and Keiron Pollard (knee injury and lack of cricket) are huge losses.
Apart from Sri Lanka, all the Group A teams are not particularly adept in the spin department, which could hinder their progress in a tournament in which India must surely be the favourites to claim the much coveted trophy.
However, this could be a very exciting tournament for English cricket fans. If the likes of Hales, Buttler, Stokes and Morgan are in good nick, this is a team that could potentially go all the way. Your eyes are glued to the screen when these guys have a bat in their hand.
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