England favourites for World Cup glory?

Sam Billings

England has never won the Cricket World Cup despite having appeared in every addition of the competition to date. ‘Pathetic’ commented the legendary Sir Ian Botham after England was shamefully knocked out of the world cup in 2015 while Bangladesh went on to claim a triumphant fifteen run win.

England have been on form since 2015, winning their last nine series of two matches or more and have won fifty one out of seventy-seven matches since their 2015 disaster. Now they’re touted as the favourites to lift the trophy. Back in 2015, it was thought that a reliance upon statistics and an overly-rigid approach to the game cost England dearly. But the question concerning fans and cricket betting sites alike is: could England finally be on track for glory at this year’s World Cup?

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is to be hosted by England and Wales this time around, from 30th May to the 14th July. The tournament’s format will be a single group of ten teams, with each team playing the other nine teams. The top four teams will progress to a knockout stage of semi-final and a final, and it will be the first cricket World Cup to feature just ten teams playing one another at least once. When evaluating England’s chances of winning, don’t underestimate the home advantage. England’s most beautiful efforts in global tournaments have been on home soil.

The off-spinner Graeme Swann is one of many who have backed England to win this year, singling out batsman Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales as integral to any future success. He believes that Eoin Morgan’s leadership is another reason England could reach victory this year, an opinion backed by Nick Hoult at The Telegraph. Hoult comments on how widely respected Morgan is as a leader, praising him for managing his bowlers expertly and for his unflappability. Hoult also goes on to put stock into Jos Buttler and Joe Root, calling them ‘two mature, composed players at their peaks’.

England’s James Anderson, one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time, has said ‘I don’t think we have had a better chance of getting to a final and doing something special in a tournament than now’. He pinpoints England’s greatest threats as Australia, India and Pakistan. England’s Sam Billings also warns against the threat of the multiple world champions India, commenting ‘I think India will be a very strong side and have some very good players, so I’d put them down as England’s biggest rivals.’ Graeme Swann also warned of the threat, stating ‘you can never write off India, they are an exceptional one-day team. Virat Kohli is a brilliant captain, a brilliant player.’

Swann also warns against the threat of Australia, the most successful country in the tournament’s history, claiming ‘the Aussies are like Germany in the football – you can never write them off at a World Cup.’

English cricketer Ian Bell believes that along with India and Australia, Pakistan will pose another great threat to England, commenting ‘it’s going to be an exciting tournament but, as we saw in the ICC Champions Trophy last year, Pakistan are a very dangerous side with lots and lots of match winners and exciting players in their team.’

Considering all of this, we come back to our question – could England be on track for glory? With Eoin Morgan’s strong leadership, solid batsmen such as Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales, the home turf advantage and a bit of luck, England could very well be storming their way to victory this year.

©Cricket World 2019