NASSER HUSSAIN: Tymal Mills HAS to fill the void left by Jofra Archer in England’s T20 side and captain Eoin Morgan MUST rediscover his form if they are to prosper
- England face India in a warm-up match on Monday ahead of the World Cup
- They then open their tournament against the West Indies next Saturday
- Jofra Archer’s absence has dealt a massive blow to England’s T20 side
- Tymal Mills one of the best death bowlers in franchise cricket but must step up
The first thing to say is England remain a fabulous Twenty20side and have a very strong chance of completing a white-ball World Cup double here in the next month.
But there are issues they must address in their two warm-up games for this tournament, starting against India today, because they are in a slightly different place than they were ahead of what became their 50-over WorldCup-winning campaign in 2019.
The late inclusion of Jofra Archer in that squad was a huge factor for England as we saw throughout the tournament, particularly in the final, and his absence is a massive blow.
Tymal Mills (left) must step up for England’s T20 side in Jofra Archer’s (right) absence
England have had to learn to live without Archer in all formats but it’s most keenly felt in T20cricket because he is one of the best in the world, whether it be wicket-taking with the new ball in his bowling at the death or with his economy rate.
Eoin Morgan has had time to work on replacing a man who is effectively two bowlers in one but today’s game and Wednesday’s warm-up against New Zealand give him the chance to focus especially on the death bowling issues that have not yet been fully resolved.
That is where Tymal Mills comes in as one of the best death bowlers in world franchise cricket and that makes him a key figure, because even someone with the experience of Chris Jordan hasn’t quite got it right in recent times.
It is an aspect of T20cricket England have to master because, as we saw in the last World Cup final five years ago, they can get90 per cent of their game spot on and then lose it by conceding four sixes in the last over.
Eoin Morgan has had to focus on replacing Archer, who is effectively two bowlers in one
England went through a long period when they were not taking wickets with the new ball, but Morgan has addressed that by using Mark Wood and even Adil Rashid effectively up front.
He has also used Sam Curran but he is injured, too, so the captain might want to have a look at Chris Woakes and David Willey with the new ball in these warmups.
Batting-wise, the decisions Morgan has to make revolve around Dawid Malan, who remains the No1 ranked batsman in world T20 cricket.
His stats are incredibly good but they also tell you he takes time and uses up deliveries in the powerplay and then catches up.
Sam Curran was used up front in addition to Mark Wood and even Adil Rashid but he is injured
That is fine in most places around the world but on the slow and used pitches of the United Arab Emirates, the powerplay is absolutely vital because it gets harder and harder to catch up.
England T20 World Cup schedule
Monday: India v England, 3pm (warm-up match)
Wednesday: England v New Zealand, 11am (warm-up)
Saturday: England v West Indies, 3pm.
October 27: England v qualifier, 11am.
October 30: England v Australia, 3pm.
November 1: England v qualifier, 2pm.
November 6: England v South Africa, 2pm.
All times are UK. All live on Sky Sports Main Event
I would give Malan first dibs at No 3 because he’s earned it but there are other options.
Chennai SuperKings used Moeen Ali differently to England in this year’s IPL and Morgan would have seen firsthand in the final how effective he can be higher up the order.
Moeen has been out of England’s side and when he has played it has been lower down the order, but the pitches will turn here and both the bowling of spin and playing of it will be paramount,which makes him a potentially important figure.
As too will be Liam Livingstone,who last summer was the man who lifted England to those above-par scores.
His emergence as their best finisher has been magnificent and after a quiet IPL he must now show he can still smash it on these pitches.
Then there is the form of the captain himself. Morgan’s leadership, as we saw withKolkata Knight Riders in theIPL, is as good as ever and in big tournaments England would not want anybody else in charge. The players hang on his every word.
But he has been very short of runs and he will want to put that right against India or NewZealand.
We have to remember Morgan is unique and has gone through spells like this. Then it usually just takes one good innings,everything clicks and he doesn’t look back. England want him to get on another positive streak as soon as possible.
Moeen Ali was used differently by Chennai SuperKings in this year’s IPL than with England
That, particularly in the absence of another player of experience in Ben Stokes, would be a very important part of completing the England World Cup jigsaw.
It is good England are playing two teams of quality from the other group in India and New Zealand ahead of Saturday’s tournament opener against West Indies, because they need to be properly tested on the pitches they will find here.
England remain a team full of power but they showed in the50-over World Cup they can adapt to slower surfaces and in lowscoring games. Now they have todo the same over the shorter distance. Then they can complete that unique World Cup double.