For the first time in decades, the English Cricket team walk into an ICC tournament as favourites. A solitary ICC World T20 title is what they have to display in their trophy cabinet. The 8th Edition of the ICC Champions Trophy a.k.a the “Mini WorldCup” is now a golden opportunity for them to double their trophy count. Eoin Morgan has been positive right from outset and his captaincy has had a positive impact on the style of play. The ICC rankings for ODIs do not rightfully explain their dominance in world cricket at the current moment. With 111 points they stand 5th on the chart, only 7 points away from the 2nd ranked Australian squad.
ICC Champions Trophy 2017 England Team Preview, Squad, Time Table
England Team Stats in ICC Champions Trophy
Best Result In The Champions Trophy: Runners-Up (2004, 2013)
Team England have always done well in the longer format but very seldom have they won ICC tournaments. 2004 was one such occasion when they had the West Indian squad on the mat. Defending a meagre 217, they had the Caribbean squad tottering along at 147/8. With the likes of Darren Gough, Steven Harmison and Andrew Flintoff, sending the tail back into the hut shouldn’t have been a worry. What followed was a stern and a defiant display of batsmanship from the West Indian duo. Ian Bradshaw and Courtney Browne added 71 runs to take the West Indies home ,in what would go down in history as one of the finest pursuits.
England have hosted the Champions Trophy twice. They’ve reached the finals twice and have finished runners-up twice. A record they’d like to meander and turn it in their favour. The last time the Champions trophy was played, a rain curtailed game didn’t help their cause. Also, they had an exemplary opposition in team India. With not much to chase(130), England did falter at the beginning but they did tune on to a fine rhythm when Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan managed to assemble a decent partnership. As fate would have it, they didn’t deliver the knock-out punch yet again. India managed to win the contest and the tournament by 5 runs.
ICC Champions Trophy 2017 England Squad
THE ENGLISH SQUAD: Eoin Morgan(c), Joe Root, Jos Buttler(wk), Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Mark Wood, Jake Ball, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Johnny Bairstow, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid.
IMPACT PLAYERS: The shorter version of the game has a demand for game changers. Players who can come in, score a quick-fire 50-60, pick a couple of crucial wickets. The English team’s filled with such play makers. Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Johnny Bairstow and Alex Hales have been major contributors with the bat.
Alex Hales and Jason Roy have been in red hot form in the ODIs. Let’s have a look at their numbers in the years 2016-2017.
ALEX HALES JASON ROY
MATCHES PLAYED 21 27
RUNS 1048 978
AVERAGE 55.15 39.12
STRIKE RATE 101.55 104.26
HIGHEST SCORE 171 162
HUNDREDS 4 2
The numbers displayed here are a clear indication that England have a lethal combination at the top of the order. The strike rate of this duo is something teams will be really intimidated with. Hales and Roy put on a 256 run unbeaten partnership last year at Birmingham against Sri Lanka, the highest in 2016 and also were involved in 4 hundred run partnerships. Joe Root and Alex Hales adding 248 at Nottingham, the next most significant synergy.
THE ONE JOE ROOT: Joe Root is one among an elite list of players who averages 40+ in all the three formats. His form has been significant to England’s rise in the limited over format. Pristine technique, immaculate footwork and an artistry touch makes him one of the best in Modern cricket. You might be the fastest bowler in the world or the most successful bowler, Root has answers to all. He’s an encyclopaedia of the art of batsmanship and the heights he’s destined to reach aren’t even measurable. Root’s numbers in the 50 over format over the last two years are mind boggling.
MATCHES 24, RUNS 1321, AVERAGE 66.05, STRIKE RATE 89.62, BEST 125, HUNDREDS 3.
When you manage numbers of such magnitude, you’re a world class operator and Joe Root is without a shadow of doubt one of the finest. With him at the crease, the scoreboard is bound to be ticking and at some pace. His ability to pick gaps and time the ball the maximum perfection are massive qualities England will be benefiting from.
THE FINISHERS: England have managed 9 scores of over 300 in their last 11 games in One-day Internationals. The highest being 444/3 at Nottingham against Pakistan. Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali play this role to perfection and when you have some of the most cleanest hitters in your ranks, 7 runs per over also wouldn’t be a tough ask. The numbers these guys have put up in the last year and a half are staggering.
Finishers and their numbers in the year 2016/17
EOIN MORGAN JOS BUTTLER BEN STOKES MOEEN ALI
AVERAGE 41.14 42.23 48.58 24.93
STRIKE RATE 94.01 121.28 111.47 109.67
HUNDREDS 3 1 2 0
The strike rates of the middle order of the English side can let the morale of any opposition down. With such hitting prowess, Eoin Morgan has a head start against the other 7 teams in the competition. All four have additional responsibilities. They’ve done it successfully and with appreciable aplomb.
Ben Stokes has been in outrageous form this year. The second most costliest player in the Indian Premier League lived upto his potential, taking home the most valuable player award with him. His most impressive quality being the ability to hit the ball straight down the ground. The balance, the bat speed, the power, all come in cohesion when this magnificent all-rounder starts his onslaught.
You have the correctness of Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes paired with the audacious Jos Buttler and the classy Moeen Ali. The best of attacks have succumbed to the batting prowess of these fine batsmen. It’ll be interesting to see what plans the opposition figure for this stupendous batting star cast.
ICC Champions Trophy 2017 England Matches Time Table
|June 1||England vs Bangladesh||Oval||9:30 (GMT) | 10:30 (Loacl) | 3:00 Pm (IST)|
|June 6||England vs New Zealand||CARDIFF||9:30 (GMT) | 10:30 (Loacl) | 3:00 Pm (IST)|
|June 10||England vs Australia||EDGBASTON||9:30 (GMT) | 10:30 (Loacl) | 3:00 Pm (IST)|
BOWLING; CONUNDRUM OR STRENGTH: The only area of concern, not a major one though, for the Eoin Morgan led team is their bowling attack. They’ve got some pacy operators in their squad. Liam Plunkett, who’s been in and out of the national team has been able to find a spot in the legion. Jake Ball and Mark Wood are relatively new to International cricket playing 9 and 15 Odis respectively. David Willey has been a positive addition to the squad. His ability to deceive the batsmen with the slower ones might prove handy. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali are the two spinners.
In conditions that favour the pacers, will the English fast bowlers ably support their strong batting unit. More importantly, if England do reach the finals, will they be able to deliver the knock-out punch?