England have good prospects going into the ICC World Twenty20 2012 and as defending champions they have proven that they can perform on the biggest stages.
England would be justified in being confident that they will make it through the group stages, their toughest test will undoubtedly be India though they must not underestimate an ever improving Afghanistan side in their other group fixture. On recent form England are undoubtedly one of the favourites for the competition; apart from a poor start against Pakistan and a loss to South Africa, England have been invincible in T20 matches this year.
Prior to the arrival of South Africa, their most recent victory was a comprehensive defeat of the West Indies by seven wickets in which the young Alex Hales scored an outstanding 99 runs from 68 balls.
England’s squad has the perfect mixture of talent, firepower and youth, national selector Geoff Miller expressed confidence in the squad's ability to retain the ICC WT20 title: "This is a very balanced squad combining experienced players with some exciting young talent who have done well at both international and domestic level this season and who are all very excited by the challenges ahead in Sri Lanka."
In order to defend their title England will not only have to perform well as a team but will also be reliant on the form of their key players. Arguably the most important of these is the young England captain Stuart Broad. Broad will have to balance the strains of captaincy with being England’s front-line bowler. Having been appointed to the role of Captain in 2011 this will be the first major test of Broads leadership abilities.
Other key players include Eoin Morgan who brings firepower and broad range of batting strokes to the side, top spinner Graeme Swann and T20 specialist Luke Wright. After his outstanding performance versus the West Indies the young Alex Hales will certainly be one to watch as England move through the tournament.
One cloud which will hang over England throughout the tournament will be questions over the omission of Kevin Pietersen from the squad. Pietersen was the player of the tournament in 2010 when England were victorious and no doubt his talent and big hitting will be missed. If England continue their recent form there is no reason why they should not reach the later stages of the tournament, though they may come unstuck against an extremely talented South African side if they meet somewhere down the line.
2012 – LWWWLXW
23rd February: lost to Pakistan by 8 runs
25th February: beat Pakistan by 38 runs
27th February: beat Pakistan by 5 runs
24th June: beat West Indies by 7 wickets
8th September: lost to South Africa by 7 wickets
10th September: match abandoned against South Africa
12th September: beat South Africa by 28 runs
Previous Tournament Performances
2007: Eliminated in Super 8 stage of the tournament
2009: Eliminated in Super 8 stage of the tournament
2010: Winners, defeating Australia in the final
Group A: England, India, Afghanistan
21st September: England v Afghanistan, Colombo
23rd September: England v India, Colombo
Stuart Broad, Jonny Bairstow, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Craig Kieswetter, Michael Lumb, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright
© Cricket World 2012
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