As You Were – England’s Champions Trophy Squad

Continuity is nice. It’s like a reassuring hug. It might be boring – and it gives the blogosphere sod all to talk about – but it shows that most things in the garden are rosy and optimism is starting to bloom.

England’s champions trophy squad is one such example. The selectors could have picked a number of budding new players – Liam Livingstone amongst them – but they resisted the temptation to weed out any incumbents. And it was probably the right decision.

The biggest surprise, if one can call it that, is the omission of Steve Finn. The selectors opted for Jake Ball instead. I feel comfortable with this decision. Finn frustrates me more than any England bowler of recent times – primarily because of what he could have been (before his remodelled his action and lost a yard of pace).

Jake Ball, on the other hand, has fewer technical foibles and will probably perform more consistently. I think he’s looked quite promising in his international career to date. In my opinion he deserves his place.

The rest of the squad basically picked itself. The only real talking point is that Sam Billings has been named reserve keeper over Jonny Bairstow. The latter has been included purely as a reserve batsman.

The simple explanation for this decision is that Billings is a better keeper at this point. And you know what, he probably is. It’s just a bit weird that our test keeper is now the third choice white ball stumper. Normally you’d want your test keeper to be the best pure keeper available. I guess it wouldn’t be the England cricket team without a little weirdness.

With several players involved in the ‘IPL’ – I’ve never heard of it either but apparently it’s some kind of T20 competition – some of the guys who missed out on the Champions Trophy squad will get the chance to impress against Ireland. Ben Duckett is the name that stands out to me.

I still think Duckett can be a special player for England in limited overs cricket (and maybe even test cricket too one day) so I’m pleased he’s still in the selectors thoughts. It must have been tempting to include Livingstone, who is obviously flavour of the month, but Duckett has shown great talent in his limited white ball performances for England and the selectors are right to keep faith in him.

Personally, I think Livingstone may get his chance in test cricket before he plays an ODI. After all, our white ball teams have plenty of strength in depth. Our test batting line-up, on the other hand, has more question marks than The Riddler’s favourite suit.

I’ll reveal my thoughts on England’s chances of winning the Champions Trophy down the line. However, I don’t think the selectors have harmed our prospects with this squad. Most of the selections were no-brainers – which is kind of convenient if you suspect our chairman of selectors has no brain.

I will, however, reveal one thought: it’s good to see Mark Wood in the squad. England’s bowling attack is our achilles heel and Wood should provide the pace and wicket-taking potential that South Africa and Australia have in spades. I sure hope he can keep himself fit. We might need him both at the death and in the middle-overs.

Champions Trophy Squad Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

Ireland ODIs Squad Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Ben Duckett, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Mark Wood


  • We appear to be providing the entire Ireland squad as well ?
    Though I suppose that might be seen as fair recompense for having poached Morgan…

      • Oh Nick you pedant :-)

        I wrote ‘Ireland ODIs squad’ i.e. the squad for the Ireland ODIs. If it said ‘Ireland ODI squad’ (with no ‘s’ after ODI) then you’d have a point.

        Either way I doubt I’ll be getting nominated for the Nobel Clarity Awards any time soon.

  • No complaints.

    Really hoping Wood gets fit, stays fit, and comes into contention for the Ashes. Think he could be really useful there.

  • No controversies! Resting a test regular for the first two championship matches of the season only to demote him the third choice wicketkeeper and second batting reserve for a series and World event which will last till July. IN ENGLAND where they can call a reserve for an injury at 4 hours notice.

    Would be funny if they hadn’t done the same exact thing to the same player 4 years ago, which lead to poor returns in the 2013 Ashes and being dropped before the final Test of the summer. I get it Bairstow isn’t worth a place in the ODI side. He has played quite a few ODI in the last 12 months and a MOTM at Headingley aside he hasn’t pulled up any trees.

    Wicket Keeping takes another blow of the three in the International Squad Billings hasn’t kept since last summer, Buttler didn’t keep in the first half the winter and isn’t keeping at his home club Mumbai and Bairstow has kept in one innings since the India Test series. Part time or what

  • “most things in the garden are rosy and optimism is starting to bloom”.

    England are fifth in the ODI rankings:

    In this ‘new era’, England have only one series’ victory team ranked above them (NZ in 2015). I’m not at all convinced thsi team is as good at 50-over cricket as it is at T20.

    Meanwhile, domestic red-ball cricket now goes on hold for three weeks while teams play the domestic 50-over competition. Why are we playing our “priority” in sub-arctic weather?

    Finally, it’s being reported the new T20 tournament has been voted in 38-3 (Middlesex and Essex against with Kent abstaining).

    • And last time I looked England were 4th in the test rankings. Go figure!

      Yes it’s rather odd that we’re not a bit higher in the rankings. And it’s certainly weird that we’re ranked higher in tests than ODIs. To be fair though I do think we’ve made some progress. The bowling is average but the batting is very powerful now and I think we’re a much more dangerous side than we used to be in 50 over cricket. I agree that T20 is possibly our strongest suit at the moment.

  • I am fine with the squad, but why is Billings reserve keeper? I agree he is a better keeper than Bairstow, but Bairstow is a much better keeper than Buttler. I always think that Buttler must start his innings on -5 to compensate for the price we have to pay for his keeping. Keep Buttler in the side but play Billings instead of Roy or Hales and give him the gloves.

  • This is really a second rate World Cup isn’t it? It was nearly dumped a few years back. Who wants to watch Eng v Ireland or Australia v Bangladesh? Anyway with the new t20 in 2020, 50 over cricket will all but disapear in this country. Not sure what will happen in the 2023 World Cup. Any thoughts ECB (puke) ?

  • Unreported by the majority of the UK media, there have been some dodgy goings-on in Dubai. Giles Clarke appears to have orchestrated an ambush of the BCCI and left them isolated and humiliated.

    Indian sources like Wisden India and the Hindustan Times are predicting the BCCI seeking vengeance. Boycotting the CT and expanding the IPL are two threats that have been made before and are reappearing. We may be about to discover if these are real or not.

    • If India boycott the champions trophy because they lost a political battle at the ICC, they’ll appear incredibly childish. I can see them expanding the IPL though. Money talks.

      • Boycotting the CT would also expose them to legal action – they could send a reserve team?

        A two-month IPL though…..

  • I am boycotting the Champions Trophy also mostly down to the belief that we should be following county cricket right now, which has been denied two matches per team and shunted to seasonal bookends. Am I supposed to support an England team captained by a Irish mercenary chicken, and administrated by a board who did the dirty on the county I support (Durham)? Get out of here!! I hope England lose every game.

    • I’d add the draw (openly rigged to maximise revenue) and the venue (England again? What happened to the days when the CT was about spreading the game?) as further reasons to boycott the CT.

      On the subject of doing the dirty to the CC, it’s only just been pointed out by some of the media that there’s a Lions’ series this summer that’s going to take players selected out of the three CC games. Some counties could lose three or four players for that time.


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