Everyone was behind Colly and the boys in 2009, but will Broad’s team cause a few surprises too?
Let’s break this one down. The World T20 is being played in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is part of cricket’s subcontinent. England are rubbish at limited overs cricket in the subcontinent, so what are the chances of England winning a trophy there? As slim as Andrew Flintoff’s chances of becoming a world boxing champion I reckon. Or are they?
T20 cricket is essentially what the Americans call ‘a crapshoot’. If a team tries its hardest, gets some momentum going and, more importantly, gets a bit of luck, it can win – even if, on paper, it’s weaker than its rivals. Just the other day, New Zealand beat India in T20 warm-up match for example. And India are one of the favourites.
However, having said that, your chances of success get better the more talented your team is. So how good are England exactly? Unfortunately the answer is: ‘less talented than we were 2009’. There’s no KP, there’s no Colly, and we still haven’t found anyone better than Kieswetter and Lumb to open the batting; although one hopes that Hales will play instead of the latter.
The main problem with England, as far as we can see, is that we’ll be almost totally reliant on Eoin Morgan, plus a bunch of unknown quantities. Bairstow, Buttler and Hales are all talented guys, but they’re hardly established names. Other than a few matches for the Lions, they won’t have played on slow subcontinental wickets much; and Bairstow didn’t fare too well in our ODI series defeat in India did he.
Having said that, any technical failings our young guns have are unlikely to be exposed too much if the pitches are slow, low and flat.
Meanwhile, the hussle and bussle of T20 cricket doesn’t really give batsmen much time to think – you’ve just got to go for it – so I suspect that the occasion won’t get to them. It’s not like a test match where every play and miss is scrutinised to a ridiculous degree.
What’s more, it could be an advantage if the opposition don’t know too much about our young players. How much footage will there be of them to study? Not much I wager.
However, we can’t help worrying that we don’t have enough match winners. If you look at India, Sri Lanka and South Africa, they’ve got two or three batsmen capable of turning games. Nobody in England’s lineup will frighten the opposition except Morgan.
Thankfully however, the bowling looks a little stronger. Finn is on form and should take wickets on all surfaces. Broad and Dernbach are gutsy performers, who usually bowl with intelligence (although the latter should bowl more yorkers and less slower balls).
Meanwhile, Swann has a great record in limited overs cricket and should be our banker. Fat Samit might be seen as a weak link, but he’s no more likely to be hit out of the park than someone like Albie Morkel (or anyone representing Australia).
So what do we make of our chances then? Our batsmen might surprise a few teams and our bowling looks solid. Then again, you could equally argue that our team looks inexperienced and we don’t possess a single mystery spinner like Ajmal or Narine – the guys who will probably define this tournament.
In conclusion, I can safely predict that England will either exceed expectations and retain the trophy, or play like a local village team and lose to Afghanistan. As we said earlier, it’s a crapshoot. What do you think?