ICC Cricket World Cup - England SWOT Analysis - Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat
The top-ranked ODI side, England have not lost a single bilateral series in the last two years.
It came as a huge setback for the entire English setup when the team crashed out of the 2015 World Cup, played in Australia and New Zealand, in the group stage. This was the third time in five World Cups that they could not proceed any longer than the group stage. However, they were then at rock bottom and the team could have only progressed from thereon. England did exactly that by shedding their overly defensive tag and turning ultra-aggressive. It was this approach that helped them reach the finals of the 2016 T20 World Cup, losing out to the West Indies with two balls left in the game.
England have been a part of every World Cup since the tournament began in 1975. Despite appearing in the finals thrice, the last of which came back in 1992, England are yet to clinch the trophy and the team would believe that the stars have aligned for them this year.
Jos Buttler is England’s weapon-in-chief in the shorter formats of the game. Though the team has several proven match-winners, there is none like wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler. In the second ODI against Pakistan, his 110 off 55 deliveries at a strike rate of 200, adorned by six fours and nine towering sixes is one of the best displays of ODI batting that you would ever see. On the days when Buttler is on song, England will be in a position of pushing the envelope as far as the par score is concerned.
England’s opening pair of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy is also particularly destructive. Both have been in sublime touch and can’t help but score consistently, that too at the rate of knots. While Roy has blasted two centuries in the ODI series against Pakistan, Bairstow also have a ton under his belt, succeeded by his 445 IPL 2019 runs.
There are a handful of English paceman such as Chris Woakes and David Willey who do not have a lot of pace and bank on swing to snaffle some early breakthroughs. However, if the ball does not move, their effectively falls manifold and without express pace, they can become easy fodder on flat English wickets in the World Cup.
Ben Stokes played a match-winning 71-run knock off 64 deliveries to see his team to a win in the fourth ODI against Pakistan but that cannot paper over his lack of form over the past six months or so. Stokes had an ordinary IPL and seems to have lost his mojo with the ball. While batting, he is trying to clobber everything towards the leg side and is losing his shape in the process.
In an interview with The Cricketer, former England international Mike Gatting said, “England have the strongest side they have ever had, and the inclusion of the exciting Jofra Archer is only going to strengthen that. England will not have a better opportunity to win it."
One can't agree more with Gatting. England cannot have a better opportunity of laying their hands on the trophy. They have almost everything going for them – the team has a destructive opening combination in Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, the stability of Joe Root and Eoin Morgan in the middle and a top finisher like Jos Buttler. They also have the bowling acumen both in pace and spin.
More importantly, almost all of their players are in form and the team is ranked number one in the ODI ranking. They have had a consistent run over the last couple of years and would be playing the World Cup in their home conditions, which they would know better than any other team. All these factors combined skew the balance heavily in England's favour and there is practically no comprehensible reason why England should not go on to win the World Cup.
You live by the sword, you die by it. One can't remember the last time that England were the favorites going into a World Cup. With the country hosting the mega tournament, it will only multiply the pressure of expectations. But the team does have a track record of taking pressure in their stride.
One must understand that there are a lot of variables that go into winning a World Cup. England are almost guaranteed a place in the semis, but post that, in the remaining two knock out games, you never know what can transpire. A dropped catch, one run-out, a misfield can make or break the match. Remember the 2017 Champions Trophy semi-final against Pakistan?
Squad: Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Alex Hales, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, David Willey
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