Friday, April 2, 2010
Having a look at England's T/20 squad
I thought of having a look at England's T/20 squad. England were inconsistent in the T/20 world cup in 2009 as they defeated last year's champions Pakistan and 07 world T/20 champions India, but were defeated by the minnows Netherlands and crushed by South Africa. I don't think the team has much of a chance of winning the trophy, but at least England can look to perform better.
Here is the team
Paul Collingwood (Durham, Captain),James Anderson (Lancashire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Michael Lumb (Hampshire), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Ajmal Shahzad (Yorkshire), Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Luke Wright (Sussex), Michael Yardy (Sussex).
First up, let us look at the candidates for the opening slots in the team
Lumb, Bopara and Kieswetter
I would look at Lumb and Kieswetter opening the batting. Lumb and Kieswetter both go hard the ball and can be very strong square of the wicket though, I think Kieswetter is a better player. He has quick hands and rotates the strike better as he runs between the wickets well. He still looks vulnerable to the full delivery as he doesn't really come forward and it was exposed in the couple of game in the Champions league in India. Both may find it a bit difficult to get going on those slow and low wickets of the Caribbean as batsmen need to play late on such wickets. The other option is Bopara, but I'm not convinced that he can be a better option than either Kieswetter and Lumb though, one has to consider that Bopara's dibbly dobblers may come in handy on those Caribbean wickets.
As far as Kieswetter's wicketkeeping is concerned, he isn't a good keeper and that maybe a problem as in T/20 cricket, coming up-to the stumps to medium pacers can be a key factor, but perhaps the desperation to have a good striker of the ball at top of the order has meant that selectors have gone for him. Lumb dropped a few easy catches in the IPL and that is something England can't afford in the world T/20 as fielding is a key component of any T/20 side.
KP, Colly and Morgan
England 's strength no doubt is in the middle-order. Yes, there is a suspicion that KP hasn't been that good in T/20 cricket, but he is the second highest run-getter in T/20 internationals behind McCullum and has a better strike rate than even McCullum. He did well even in the world T/20 in 09 as he averaged 38.5 and had a strike rate of over 150. Colly is good at rotating the strike and can bowl a bit of his dibbly dobblers which can prove useful. I'm still not sure about him captaining the side though. The squad also has Morgan and he has been a revelation. He doesn't lose his cool and plays very late which helps. He is suited to the wickets in the Caribbean as he plays late and uses soft hands to milk the spinners. He can also play big shots as well. He is no doubt a key component for the team.
Yardy, Wright, Swann, Bresnan
Yardy in first class cricket is mainly a batsman, but in T/20 cricket he can be mainly picked for his left arm spin bowling as he has a good record in England's domestic T/20 competition and even in the only game he played in the Champions league, he wasn't taken apart by the opposition ranks. In T/20 cricket, restrictive bowlers like Yardy have a role to play especially, on those slow and low wickets of the Caribbean. He would look to bowl stump to stump and take the pace off the ball with those slow and low wickets doing the rest. His fielding isn't good and his batting won't be suited to T/20 cricket, but I believe England would be doing a mistake by dropping Yardy as with his left arm slow bowling he can do a good job.
Among others, Luke Wright can be used as a floater as occasionally he can be sent up the order, but I believe it would be better if he comes lower down the order and look to go after medium pacers. The new white ball would do a bit and he maybe found out. His medium pace has improved a bit too. Swann of course is the main spinner in the side. He has been in great form in recent times and has mainly troubled the lefties by going around the wicket. He can also score runs quickly as he is a clean striker of the ball. He is no doubt a vital cog in the England's side. Bresnen hasn't yet performed that well in the shorter formats of the game, but in Bangladesh he did show some improvement by bowling a decent line and length. He can also bowl yorkers in the end overs and can score useful runs lower down the order.
Broad, Anderson, Siders, Sehzad and Tredwell.
Many may consider broad as an all-rounder, but he doesn't have a first class century to his name yet. He can be useful lower down the order, but I think he is mainly a bowler. He has struggled a bit in test cricket, but in T/20 and one-day cricket he has been good. His mixture of slower deliveries and bouncers have worked for him. Jimmy Anderson hasn't taken too many wickets in recent times in T/20 cricket, but hasn't gone for too many runs either. For instance, when the Saffers racked up a score of over 250 in just 20 overs recently, Anderson went for only around 7 an over. The problem with Siders of course has been his fitness and his fielding too is a question mark. The young Sehzad may struggle to get a game and even the off spinner, Tredwell may not play.
If I look at the England's squad the problem is, the bowling may sometimes lack penetration and the top-order has been an Achilles-heel for sometime now. For England to do well, they need good starts from the openers and that would help the engine room of the team, the middle order to fire. The bowling too needs to get better and another problem can be England rarely get direct hits when fielding.
I don't see England winning the world cup, but just like 09, the team can cause a few upsets.