What England’s Tour of India Tell Us About Their T20 World Cup Hopes
In 2015, the cricketing world wouldn’t have been contemplating England’s T20 hopes, mainly because they were terrible when it came to the white ball stuff. However, a chastening tournament Down Under led to major changes that have borne fruit in the best possible way – a World Cup win.
Add a T20 World Cup final in 2016 that they should have won, and the nation’s dominance of the ODI arena has been swift and decisive. Still, doubts remain whether England’s players can win a big competition in the sub-continent. With that in mind, here’s what the team’s last tour of India tells us about their hopes later this October.
Spin Will Be Key
And it will be key in more ways than one. As the Test cricket element of the tour highlighted, there is only one batter who has the ability to make runs on a fiery turner – Joe Root. Of course, Root’s role at number three isn’t as cemented as it is in the 50-over and Test formats. Therefore, there could be problems if the red soil pitches move square.
Another element of England’s white-ball success has been the spin twins of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali. Unfortunately, neither managed to set the world alight, and both only managed a handful of wickets all series. While the cricket betting makes England second-favourites at 4/1, India are much stronger at 9/4, which means the bookies believe the gremlins of the past few months could come back to haunt them.
The IPL Is a Must
The debate over whether the ECB should bend over backwards for those who want to experience the Indian Premier League isn’t going to end any time soon. However, it’s evident that this is the year when players need to flex their muscles in the world’s most exciting cricket competition. Thankfully for English supporters, a significant 14 players will join teams from around India, include Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy.
Squad members who aren’t necessarily nailed on starters will get their chance to experience the conditions and be around world-class players, too. Whether it’s Liam Livingstone at Rajasthan Royals or Sam Billings at Delhi Capitals, the experience will only be a good thing for them. This makes England’s squad much stronger if there are injuries or unforeseen circumstances in October.
Archer and Wood Will Need to Play Regularly
Jofra Archer and Mark Wood should play every game regardless of the format. They have proved how good they are throughout the past couple of years. Sadly, injuries keep on holding them back, with Archer recently having surgery on his hand after an incident with a fish tank. Wood’s ailments are more chronic, with the Durham man being rotated regularly against India to help with his fitness levels.
But, having two rapid bowlers that regularly reach speeds of 90mph-plus watching from the stands won’t do England any good. After all, Sam Curran will struggle to get the ball to swing, and Tom Curran isn’t express pace. On even wickets, the Indian batsmen had plenty of time to swat the lesser bowlers around the park, making it a battle between the two top orders.
Eventually, England’s gung-ho style didn’t pay off, leaving Virat Kohli’s men with all the silverware at the end of the tour. If Eoin Morgan and his team want a reversal of fortunes, they’ll need their best 11 on the pitch ready and raring to go after a tough IPL campaign.