It seems that England have decided now is the time to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of the shorter forms of cricket. Gone are the days of playing 60% of the innings like a test match and expecting one or two players to perform miracles and take the Three Lions to victory. But the World Twenty20 in India will most probably have come too early for this new breed of youngsters, and they have a lot of work to do to win the tournament.
England’s recent series defeat against South Africa highlighted the issues that they still have with the white ball. The exuberance of youth was evident with the positive brand of cricket that was consistently shown, but from the more experienced players there was a lack of responsibility shown, and this eventually cost them victory.
New Zealand and Australia have set the standard for the one-day game in recent times, with the ability to go hard and take risks at the beginning of the innings but still post a big score. However both teams have players of the likes of Kane Williamson and Steve Smith who have the know-how to bat long and still score runs at a good rate.
You would expect players like Joe Root or Eoin Morgan to do this for England, being the most experienced players, and let the other players bat around them. This wasn’t the case though in South Africa, with both players continually looking to play the big shots during the Twenty20 series, and often falling cheaply.
England should have a strong enough batting line up to seriously challenge for the World Twenty20 title, they just have to apply their skills correctly. Players like Alex Hales, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes are among the most destructive batsmen in the game, and if they can get the right players to bat around them, England can go far.
With the injury suffered by Steven Finn, England may also be found wanting in the bowling department. In the first T20, Reece Topley and Chris Jordan impressed at the death and were unfortunate to be on the losing side, but were torn apart by AB de Villiers in the second game. Very few players have the ability to pull a team to pieces quite like de Villiers, but there will be others capable of getting quick runs against England.
There are still questions to be answered in regard to the spin of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, as both have the tendency to be taken to the cleaners when it isn’t their day. With Ben Stokes playing a key role as the sixth bowling option in the side, this might not be too damaging, but in Indian conditions, they must be on their game.
If England can bring their A-game to India, they can go all the way. But with the lack of game management that England have shown in recent months, they are rank outsiders for the tournament.