England’s opening World T20 match against Afghanistan is less than three weeks away – so what will their starting line-up be?
Former England stars and now Sky Sports Cricket Pundits Nasir Hussain and Mark Butcher have picked the sides they want to take on in Australia, with both picking Harry Brooke in their middle order.
Brooke, 23, finished as England’s top scorer in the 4-3 T20I series win in Pakistan, scoring 238 runs in six innings at an average of 79.33 and a strike rate of 163.01, with a match-best 81 not out from 35 balls. . Game three
The dilemmas for Nasser and Butch were whether Phil Salt or Alex Hales would partner captain Jos Buttler at the top and whether Chris Jordan or Chris Woakes would complete the bowling line-up.
Here’s what they came up with…
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England squad for T20 World Cup
Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingston, David Malan, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Rhys Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood. Travel reserves: Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson, Tymal Mills
Nasser Hossein says…
“If you pick all your batsmen and you have Moeen Ali or Liam Livingstone at No.7, you need your best bowlers, whether they bat or not.
For me, England’s top four players are Mark Wood – that’s with his pace and X-factor – Adil Rashid with his changes and ability at the death, Rhys Topley with the way he’s been going this year, the left-armer. Angles and takes wickets, and then I go to Jordan.
“You have to remember that in the last two T20 World Cups, England have lost them with their death bowling. Ben Stokes in 2016 with four sixes, Carlos Brathwaite and Jordan in 2021 against New Zealand, so it’s a zone It’s worrying. England needs to sort it out
“However, I feel Jordan did the right thing this summer, he was getting back to his best. He has experience and has been consistent under Eoin Morgan and now captain Butler. As Wood and Tapley say about The new ball bowlers are worried, not worried. Very well done there
“The other option is to leave a batsman – there are a lot of batsmen out there – and play Sam Curran. He is an exceptional cricketer and gives you bowling options at the death.
It’s important to use the extra batter Morgan pattern – some batter bowls in Stokes, Livingstone and Moeen – or play with the extra bowler because in Australia you feel like you need a safety blanket.
“If Salt doesn’t open, the other way he can be kept in the side is to keep wickets. For me, for England to win this World Cup, Buttler has to have a very good tournament with the bat.
“When Morgan was leading, I thought his captaincy was more important than his batting and fielding. With Buttler, it’s his batting, his batting, his batting and then his captaincy and wicket-keeping.
“Anything that ticks Buttler’s batting is very important. If Buttler saves, I can’t get Salt because Hills’ record in Australia in the Big Bash is exceptional and he is more experienced than Salt.”
Mark Butcher says…
Jordan did not go to me. Not because I don’t think he can play a big role, but I think the new ball bowling will be vital in Australia as wickets can be picked in the powerplay.
That hasn’t necessarily been Jordan’s forte, while Woakes was at the UAE’s last World Cup.
“This side runs incredibly deep – it’s a terrible line-up if you’re a competitive player. It’s really Brooke who doesn’t have a lot of international experience.
“Everyone else has been around the block many times. It’s a tough, grizzled, very talented group of players.
“With Brooke, I think this Pakistan series is the first time in his fledgling career in England that he has been able to give people an idea of what he can do. He is a very special player.
“People in Yorkshire know he’s a considerable talent, but sometimes it can be difficult to translate that into tangible performance in an England shirt, but he’s done that in spades. For me, he’s getting into the team. “
In terms of openers, Salt is very much the man of the future, but England have chosen Hales because of his record in Australia, the fact that he has over 10,000 T20 runs and is probably playing the cricket of his life.
“They want that big presence at the top of the order to scare opposition bowling attacks and I don’t think anything has changed there, I don’t see Hills on the bench. But if Hills limps, Salt is ready to come in.”
England prepare for the T20 World Cup with three T20s against hosts Australia (October 9, 12 and 14) and a warm-up against Pakistan (October 17) before Jos Buttler’s side begin their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan in 2017. Kend travels Down Under. Perth on October 22.
You can watch the T20 World Cup in full on Sky Sports and the tournament starts on October 16.