PAUL NEWMAN: England have rediscovered their swagger and can go all the way at the T20 World Cup


PAUL NEWMAN: England have bounced back from their post-Eoin Morgan hangover and rediscovered their swagger… despite the cruel loss of Reece Topley, Jos Buttler’s side have every chance of going all the way at the T20 World Cup

  • England had a disappointing white-ball summer after Eoin Morgan’s retirement
  • They have bounced back by winning successive series in Pakistan and Australia 
  • The team appear to have found their swagger in time for the T20 World Cup
  • They have been dealt a blow after Reece Topley was ruled out of the tournament
  • However, Jos Buttler’s team are in top form and have the ability to go all the way 

There was something of a hangover for England last summer as they came to terms with the sudden retirement of their colossus of a white-ball captain in Eoin Morgan.

But the new era without a leader in Morgan who was supposed to have his swansong here starts properly now, says his successor Jos Buttler, as England go into a Twenty20 World Cup they have a fantastic chance of winning.

Certainly, that difficult first summer for Buttler and new coach Matthew Mott, which saw series defeats by India and South Africa, has been replaced with a return of the swagger that saw England conquer the white-ball world under Morgan.

Eoin Morgan (pictured) announced his decision to retire from international cricket in June

England then had a disappointing T20 summer as they lost to India and South Africa (above)

England then had a disappointing T20 summer as they lost to India and South Africa (above)

First came victory in Pakistan, then a convincing triumph in a series against Australia here that was anything but a warm-up, and finally the return to fitness of a key component in their machine in Liam Livingstone in the final practice match against Pakistan.

See also  Rohit Sharma just two hits away from becoming leading six-hitter in T20Is, set to take over Martin Guptill, Follow Live Updates

Only another freak injury in that warm-up in Brisbane to one of their most important bowlers in Reece Topley has done anything to dampen the optimism of an England side who go into Saturday’s opener against Afghanistan here brimming with confidence.

‘I’ve mentioned it to the players a lot but this is very much a new era for the English white-ball team,’ said Buttler ahead of his first world tournament as captain.

‘A lot of them played in the last era but it’s about looking forward now for this group. How do we want to play as a team? What do we want to do in the next game and the game after that? And not to spend too much energy looking backwards.’

England have looked back to their best in recent series wins against Pakistan and Australia

England have looked back to their best in recent series wins against Pakistan and Australia

The team have also welcomed Liam Livingstone back into the fold after a recent ankle injury

The team have also welcomed Liam Livingstone back into the fold after a recent ankle injury

To that end England look certain, as Sportsmail reported on Friday, to throw their most attacking team possible into Saturday’s game, with a batting-heavy line-up taking on Afghanistan’s array of spinners, led by one of the world’s best in Rashid Khan.

Livingstone, who has an exceptional record against Rashid in the franchise world, is set to return from his own ankle injury and come in after new batting sensation Harry Brook, who has made a big impression in particular here on coach Mott.

It means England will go into the tournament a bowler lighter than they originally envisaged but they still have plenty of options, with David Willey expected to replace Topley and join Mark Wood, Adil Rashid and Sam Curran as the bowling bankers. Not to mention Ben Stokes, who could open the bowling, Moeen Ali and Livingstone’s spinning all-sorts.

See also  Harmanpreet Kaur says India batting key

The sight on Friday at the Perth Stadium of Chris Woakes undergoing what looked like a fitness test ahead of training was a concern after his summer was ruined by injury. But Buttler insisted he was fit and it seems England just want to handle him with care for now.

England have been dealt a late blow before the tournament with Reece Topley ruled out

England have been dealt a late blow before the tournament with Reece Topley ruled out

But the absence of Topley, who will leave Australia after Saturday’s game to have an operation at home on his ruptured ankle ligaments, is a real blow.

He has overcome the adversity of four stress fractures of his back to become the most versatile member of the white-ball bowling attack and was expected to feature here with the new ball, in the middle overs and at the death by bowling the vital 19th over.

‘It’s especially tough on Reece himself and we’re all bitterly disappointed for him,’ said Buttler. ‘He’s had so many injury setbacks in his career and to come through them and be on the brink of this tournament and then have it taken away from him is cruel.’

England were meant to be up against a familiar face on Saturday in Graham Thorpe, who became Afghanistan coach after losing his job with England. But he has been suffering from serious health issues this year and in his place comes another familiar face in Jonathan Trott.

‘What happened with Thorpey was sudden and he had been very good to me,’ the former England batsman Trott told Sportsmail on Friday. ‘So when this chance came up I thought of the times I worked with him and have been trying to implement his ideas with these guys.

England are playing with swagger and have a fantastic chance of winning the T20 World Cup

See also  Hardik Pandya visits the famous Sydney Opera House with family, Chahal enjoys a break before Netherlands match

England are playing with swagger and have a fantastic chance of winning the T20 World Cup

‘I’m very excited. England are a top side and one of the favourites for the tournament but we’re playing the first game against them and hopefully can catch them on the hop. We’re dangerous on our day and can beat anybody. It would be massive to beat England.’

An Afghanistan win really would put the cat among the pigeons in a Super 12 group that includes Australia and New Zealand and qualifiers in Sri Lanka and Ireland, who go through at the expense of West Indies after beating them on Friday.

But it shouldn’t happen. England looked formidable in last year’s Twenty20 World Cup before going out in the semi-finals to New Zealand but they have the ability to go one better here. Their time has come to unite the 50-over and T20 world titles and begin that new era with a real bang.

Advertisement





Source link