England © Getty Images
Chris Jordan (center) will be the player to watch out in England camp  © Getty Images

 

Most cricket pundits have written off England’s chances to perform well in the ICC World T20 2014. Bharath Ramaraj analyses England’s squad and wonders whether they have it in them to give a fitting riposte to the critics.

 

In 2010, England climbed to the pinnacle of success by lifting the ICC World T20 2010 trophy. A few of the English players who played on that unforgettable day against Australia in the final at Barbados and defeated them are still around.

 

However, in the world of sport, four years seems like a long time ago. The batsman who engineered that triumph, Kevin Pietersen has been unceremoniously sacked. The fortunes of England team also have plummeted in recent times. Even when they win a match or two, it seems like an oasis in desert. In short, for England to have any chance of putting up an impressive show in ICC World T20 2014 in Bangladesh, they need some pluck and dare I say, plenty of luck.

 

England‘s problems doesn’t just end with the fact that their best batsman, Pietersen has been put to the pastures, as some of their key members of the squad have been battling with injuries as well. As they made that long and arduous journey to Bangladesh Delta, there were question marks over the fitness of their captain, Stuart Broad and even Eoin Morgan. For England to have any chance to perform well in the tournament, they need both players to play and lift the sagging morale of the setup.

 

For all the doom and gloom surrounding the English camp, their opening duo of Alex Hales and Michael Lumb with their bazooka bats can play thrill-a-minute knocks. Hales has a wider range of strokes when compared to the left-handed Lumb. However, Lumb too, on especially good batting tracks has the ability to line up a bowler and thump it over the in-field. He isn’t necessarily a fine player of spin and will be tested in Bangladesh.

 

In the middle-order, England will depend on Morgan and Ravi Bopara to keep the scoreboard ticking. Morgan can play power-packed shots and twin it by deftly placing the ball into gaps with his dexterous wrists. He can play shots in a 360 degree-arc.

 

Ian Bell’s presence in the squad provides England a solid middle-order batsman around whom the team can build an innings. However, it is a bit of mystery as to why Bell finds himself in a T20 squad. His game isn’t suited to the shortest format of cricket.

 

Moeen Ali, the Worcestershire batting all-rounder is a promising cricketer, but it is perhaps too much to expect him to paint the spin friendly tracks of Bangladesh with a brush of willowy magic.

 

Jos Buttler, the wicketkeeper-batsman is the one who is expected to give finishing touches in the end overs. Just like Morgan, he can mix caution with aggression. Such is the power of the man that most of his mis-hits can soar over the boundary boards for sixes.

 

Chris Jordan is the player to watch out for in the England team. He brings that Caribbean flavour to the England line-up. He bowls with energy and enthusiasm and is an athletic fielder, known for those superman-like leaps to take blinders. He also showed in the last game of Twenty20 International (T20I) series against West Indies that he can clear the boundary boards with utmost ease.

 

ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details

 

ICC World T20 2014 Points Table and Team Standings

 

In the bowling department, England will be sweating over the fitness of Broad. He has the experience and the tactical nous to bowl in T20Is. Broad is also a handy batsman down the order as well. Tim Bresnan is a slightly curious selection, as his record in T20Is isn’t anything to write home about. But England think-tank seems to have faith in him. The same can be said about the erratic Jade Dernbach.

 

James Tredwell is the main spinner in the squad. He doesn’t give it a big rip, but he is a wily customer who can outfox the batsmen. The Lancastrian slow left arm, Stephen Parry can bowl tidy spells, but playing in a World T20 is going to be a huge challenge for him.

 

It is difficult to expect England to touch rarefied zones and do well in the tournament. But one has to say that now and then, T20 cricket can throw up surprises.

 

England squad for ICC World T20 2014:

 

Stuart Broad (c), Eoin Morgan, Chris Jordan, Ian Bell, Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Stephen Parry, James Tredwell, Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara, , Chris Woakes, Jade Dernbach, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler (wk), Luke Wright, Ben Stokes.

 

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)