England preview – 2021 T20 World Cup

Characteristic

Archer and Stokes’ absence hurt Eoin Morgan’s side in preparation for T20 World Cup

Big picture

England had a hand on the trophy five years ago, until Carlos Brathwaite’s “remember the name” salute against Ben Stokes. They have been outspoken and optimistic about their goal of holding both World Cups simultaneously since their victory at Lord’s in 2019 in the final of the 50-year-old tournament.
Their chances of unifying the belts have taken a major blow in the preparation, due to the absence of the two Super Over heroes of this title: Jofra Archer, the MVP of the IPL last season, is missing with an elbow injury , while Stokes continues his extended hiatus from the game as he prioritizes his sanity. He has started hitting balls again after another operation on his left index finger, but will play no part in the World Cup.
But, regardless, they remain among the favorites, thanks to a stacked batting lineup and an imposing T20I record over the past three years. Few teams have given this format as much priority as England since 2019 – Eoin Morgan received their strongest team in South Africa and India during the winter of 2020-21, while players multi -formats have rested from parts of the Test series. And their results reflected that; they have never been better placed to compete in a T20 World Cup at this stage of their preparation.

Recent form

England have won nine, drawn and lost one of their last 11 T20I bilateral series, dating back to 2018. They have won five of six games against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the summer at home, but their 3-2 defeat to India in March did so. expose some flaws, and the ECB’s decision to pull out of their stop-off tour in Pakistan leaves squad members who haven’t played in the IPL’s second half run out of game time.

batting

There are some big changes from the squad that played in the 2016 final: Joe Root and Alex Hales haven’t been involved for two years, while Jos Buttler has gone from an innovative finisher to an opener. destructive. Dawid Malan posted remarkable numbers in the T20Is to move up to No. 1 in the ICC batting standings and will look to dispel lingering doubts about his abilities on slower pitches, while Liam Livingstone came out on top in the mid-order as a replacement for Stokes with a conspicuous purple spot during the summer at home. Morgan’s form with the bat must be a concern, but he remains their designated finisher, and Jonny Bairstow has looked at home in middle order since rising to No.4 in South Africa last winter . Expect some flexibility in hitting orders depending on match situations, with Moeen Ali – most likely to be carded at No.7 if chosen – a candidate to move up to a batting role. pinch against the spin.

Bowling

Adil Rashid is the only frontline spinner on the team – Moeen and Livingstone offer other options – but the roles of the setters are less clear. Tymal Mills returns to the squad after a four-and-a-half-year absence following a successful season for Sussex and Southern Brave, with Morgan keen to address England’s recent struggles to the death, but is not yet guaranteed a place; Mark Wood is an option in the role of the executor, playing at a high pace in the middle; Chris Jordan has been disappointed lately, but is a key lieutenant to Morgan and has extensive experience at the time of death; while Chris Woakes and David Willey attack options with the new ball if England decide they need to chase the first wickets. Finding role clarity early in the group stage will be essential.

Player to watch

The merits of using Buttler as an opener versus a finisher have been a constant source of discussion around the England side of the T20I, but his top-of-the-order record leaves little room for debate: in 22 innings as an opener, he scored ten halves. centuries, averaging 51.47 with a strike rate of 148.05, and is guaranteed to start the World Cup in that role alongside Jason Roy. With Morgan’s future as captain beyond this tournament unclear at this point, it could be an important month in the career of his likely successor.

Key question

England’s successful run in the bilateral playoffs has typically happened on level ground and thanks to a deep batting team capable of chasing high scores. So how will they adapt if the surfaces in the UAE are as tired and slow as expected? Their players involved in the second half of the IPL generally struggled to adjust to the batting conditions, and their streak against India in Ahmedabad earlier this year highlighted potential shortcomings against the spin. and death, especially on slower terrain. That said, the importance of quick starts with the bat became increasingly clear as the IPL moved forward, and thanks to Roy and Buttler, England’s power-play scoring rate was among the best in the world over the past three years.

Probably XI (line-up): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jos Buttler (week), 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Liam Livingstone, 6 Eoin Morgan (captain), 7 Moeen Ali / Chris Woakes, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Mark Wood, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mills of Tymal

Matt Roller is associate editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ mroller98


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