England back experience to add more limited overs silverware

By Rex Clementine 

England’s  resurgence in white  ball cricket with consistent performances in both T-20s and 50 over formats is  thanks to a good mixture of youth and experience. They have stuck to same game plan for the upcoming T-20 World Cup in Australia even though some of the seasoned campaigners are returning from injuries and some after surgery.

Captain Jos Buttler is nursing a calf injury while Mark Wood (elbow) and Chris Woakes (knee) are recovering after surgeries. While Wood has just featured in a T-20 in Pakistan, Woakes hasn’t played any competitive cricket  since March this year. That’s indication how much England selectors are confident  that their tried and tested performers will fire in cricket’s biggest stage.

Chris Jordan and Liam Livingstone are also nursing injuries and are not part of England’s ongoing campaign in Pakistan.

Although the former champions have backed experience, they have not simply got carried away with those with proven track records.

Jason Roy for example has been part of several successful campaigns by England but he has been axed following poor form.  Since the last World Cup, he featured in 11 T-20 Internationals  and managed only 206 runs. He would have still got the nod had  he been in decent form in domestic cricket but when you lose touch, it abandons you totally. His place has been taken by Phil Salt.

When Roy was axed, England looked at Jonny Bairstow partnering captain Buttler as openers. But his freak injury while playing golf has  changed the equation altogether. It looked Alex Hale’s international career was over after a couple of misdemeanours but Baristow’s injury has opened a slot for Hales.

Hales was in Cape Town holidaying with his girlfriend when he was called up for international duty and although his domestic form has been not that great, you wouldn’t want to miss out on a player whom opponents fear like the plague. A globetrotter, Hales has played 152 games in various leagues around the world since 2019 and only Rashid Khan with 180 games has played  more.

England fans have seen a lot of Harry Brook over the years in domestic cricket and the world will take note of Yorkshire’s extraordinary young talent for the first time during the World Cup.

The addition of Mike Hussey into the coaching staff is a good move. Nicknamed Mr. Cricket, Hussey’s obsession with the game is  all too well known and  in a brief campaign like the World Cup, he can add much value to the side not just with tips on batting and  conditions but by helping to maintain good vibes in the dressing room. When Shane Warne retired, he carefully chose Hussey as the caretaker of the Australian team song and you wouldn’t find a better team player than him.

Also added into the coaching staff is David Saker, who has managed England fast bowlers before as well.

England have been a strong force in  T-20 cricket. They won the T-20 World Cup in the Caribbean in 2010 and were losing finalists in 2016 suffering heartbreak in Calcutta when Carlos Brathwaite hit four consecutive sixes with 24 runs required in the last over.

England Squad: Jos Buttler (Captain), Moeen Ali, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes, and Mark Wood.