Why Does the Cricketing World Expect England to be T20 Champions?
It’s almost impossible to get cricket supporters to agree when fans, pundits, and commentators are involved. Clashes are inevitable with so many different voices and opinions. But if there is one point the cricket fraternity can agree on at the moment, it’s that England will be crowned World T20 champions in 2021.
It's a remarkable rise by a team that was demolished in the 50 over format in 2015 and widely considered as the worst one-day side in the world. Now, they’re the cream of the crop and expected to beat India on their home turf. So, how has this change in fortunes come about?
What has been impressive about England and the ECB in the last five years is their focus and attention to detail. Their test form may have suffered as a result, yet former chief Andrew Strauss and Co had a plan to make England the kings of One-Day International cricket. They achieved this goal after winning the World Cup at Lords by the finest of margins.
As for Twenty-20, the form has been just as imposing because they have won 27 of their last 46 fixtures at a win percentage of almost 60%. This includes series wins against New Zealand, West Indies, South Africa, and Australia, which is why the cricket betting odds put England as second-favorites at 7/2.
Course & Distance
Yes, India will be hard to beat because they are at home and understand the conditions better than any team. However, England has two aces up its sleeve. Firstly, a very similar squad finished runners-up to the West Indies in 2016. Where was the tournament held? In India.
Secondly, the ECB has found a middle ground for one-day stars who want to play in the IPL. 10 players joined the league this year, including Captain Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, and Jos Buttler, and continued their form from 2019. For example, Jonny Bairstow had an eye-catching debut last year, smashing 445 runs in 10 matches at an average of 55.62. The conditions and high-pressure situations are no longer foreign to English cricketers, which only bodes well for the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup.
Some sides are happy to take their previous performances and use them as excuses not to change. Not England. The spine of the squad remains the same, with explosive openers at the top of the order, finishers in the middle, and spinners limiting runs. But management has also unearthed a few gems that will take the team to the next level.
Jofra Archer is the real deal, as his rise to stardom has proven. Tom Banton is providing much-needed competition for Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, while Jos Buttler is being utilised further up the order to exploit his explosive power. But the really exciting player to watch out for is Dawid Malan. Ranked as the best T20 player in the world, Malan dismantled South Africa recently and is hard to stop because of his 360-degree shots.
There’s no doubt that the world expects when international T20 cricket comes to India next October, but it’s easy to see why when you look at the big picture.
©Cricket World 2020