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England T20 World Cup Preview – How Will They Cope Without Archer And Stokes?

Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali
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The reigning ODI World Champions enter the T20 World Cup as one of the two standout teams in the competition alongside India. Despite not having the same form or body of work in 2021 as they did in 2019, Eoin Morgan’s side will always be considered as one of the favourites to go all the way because of the squad depth and aggressive style of play.


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In Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali (among others) England have a vast array of world-class talent, but unfortunately, they will be heading to the UAE without arguably two of their best T20I players in Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer. The absence of Archer and Stokes due to injury forces them to alter the balance of the side, and the biggest unknown for this England team is how they will cope on the biggest stage without two of their marquee players.


Jos Buttler – Still one of the best T20 openers, although 2021 form a worry

Jason Roy – Excellent on flat decks, could be found out on slow pitches

Jonny Bairstow – Tonks both pace and spin, potential to dominate middle overs

Moeen Ali – High strike-rate versus spin, decent economy with the ball

Dawid Malan – Ranked number one, but unlikely to make a positive impact on UAE pitches

Eoin Morgan – Couldn’t buy a run in the IPL, days are numbered

Sam Billings – Excellent against spin, can slot in anywhere in the middle order 

Liam Livingstone – Poor IPL for RR, but the most in-form batter in the squad

Chris Jordan – Economy rate high for a death specialist but 3-dimensional cricketer

David Willey – Can swing the ball, provides great batting depth at 8

Tymal Mills – Brilliant at the death, can bowl express pace

Adil Rashid – Gun spinner, somehow still underrated by many

Mark Wood – Perfect enforcer who can bowl at the top or in the middle overs

Chris Woakes – Same skill-set as Willey & could be wasted…Hopefully not!

Tom Curran – Lucky to be in the squad considering record at the highest level



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Under Eoin Morgan, England have an incredibly settled XI with a clear strategy and hierarchical structure in place. At the top, Jos Buttler’s best batting position has been under massive debate, but the Lancastrian will (rightly) open the batting alongside Jason Roy.

Dawid Malan has solidified his place at number three despite his middling record in recent times, while Jonny Bairstow has proven to be an excellent option at number four to come in and dominate the spinners. In the absence of Stokes, Liam Livingstone will slot in at number five followed by Eoin Morgan and Moeen Ali in the middle order.

Amongst the bowlers, fourth-ranked Adil Rashid is a certainty in this side and will be accompanied by three pacers. England have a variety of options to choose from, and the ideal combination would be someone with pace, a bowler who can bowl in most phases of the game and a death specialist. Considering the current options, the likely three will be Chris Jordan for his vast experience, Mark Wood for his speed and the returning Tymal Mills to replace Archer’s skills at the death.

Burning Question – What if the pitches turn?

England have taken a remarkably contrasting squad compared to the other major favourite – India – to this tournament with only one frontline spinner and no less than six fast-bowlers in the squad. Conversely, India have selected only three seamers and three specialist spinners (plus Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja) on the assumption that pitches will turn.

Based on the evidence of the second half of the Indian Premier League season with two-paced sluggish wickets, you would suggest that India have set themselves up better to succeed with their squad selection. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali are likely to play all games, however, the absence of an additional spinning option like Liam Dawson or Matt Parkinson for matchups could prove to be costly in the latter stages of the competition.

England still have great quality throughout the squad and have backed their strengths with selecting more pacers, but considering the tired nature of the pitches, it is questionable whether England have selected a bowling line-up that can win them their first T20 World Cup squad since 2010.


[Image Credit: England Cricket]