For the first time in a very long time, England are being considered favourites to win a 50-over competition. For years, England were stubborn and remained stuck to their conservative style of playing in the 50-over format, even though the format itself had undergone a sea of change over a period of time and other teams had worked out different strategies to succeed in the format.
But now, since their group-stage elimination from World Cup 2015, England have not only embraced the way the rest of the world approaches 50-over cricket, but have added a couple of extra gears and have rocketed to the top of the ICC ODI rankings.
Win Percentage Post World Cup 2015: 70.7%
Win Percentage in the Last 12 Months: 77.3%
England started building for the World Cup 2019 almost immediately after their ouster from the previous tournament; the core of the team has remained the same for a long time now, and the selectors have added exciting talent every now and then to bolster the side.
The England line-up is packed with attacking batsmen – several who are capable of winning matches single-handedly. Add to that the experience and the depth in the batting line-up; the majority of the batsmen picked in the squad have been around for years and several of them have first-class hundreds against their name.
In Eoin Morgan, England have an aggressive captain too. Whether by design or by force, Morgan only plays white ball cricket for England, and he has been a huge influence in England playing the fearless brand of cricket.
Even if it isn’t obvious, the bowling attack – particularly the pace bowling line-up – is England’s weak-link.
There is plenty of experience and ability in England’s pace attack, but there isn’t one player who will send jitters into the opposition camp; there isn’t one player who is capable of running through opponents.
The lack of one X-factor bowler in the attack is best illustrated by England’s desperation to choose Jofra Archer – selected over some of the more experienced bowlers – who only qualified to play for England recently and only has a handful of ODIs against his name.
Opportunities & Threats
A home World Cup is a double-edged sword and serves as both an opportunity and a threat.
Playing at home means knowledge of conditions and overwhelming support. Even though pitches will be prepared by the ICC’s curators, familiarity of venues would be a nice advantage to have; England’s players and support staff will be able to read the surface and overhead conditions better than visiting teams, and that knowledge should hold them in good stead. England can also expect a lot of support from those in the stands and from the local media; players have often said supporting crowds are like the team’s twelfth man, and can help lift the players’ motivation and energy levels.
At the same time, playing at home comes with the pressures of having to deliver the goods. Such pressure can be immense; particularly given the build-up of England being favourites, there are expectations of the team to go the distance and clinch the title. Will the England players be able to cope with the pressure?
Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Players to Watch Out for
Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Jofra Archer & Adil Rashid
England have the potential to reach the finals this World Cup.
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