The World Cup 2019 seems the best opportunity for the England team to end their hunt for their first World Cup trophy.
Mumbai: 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup – the England and Wales-based showpiece -- will start on May 30, and will go on till July 14. However, this year the cricket governing body has decided to change the format of the tournament -– where ten teams will play versus other nine teams, and the four teams that comes out on top will advance to the semi-finals.
Nonetheless, today we look at the teams which have a good shot at the title. We will also look at some of the key players who may turn the tide in their team’s favour at any given moment.
In this year’s World Cup, the Eoin Morgan led-England team is looking dangerous, and it’s sending a chilling message to all of its rivals. The number one ranked unit in the ODIs is really trying hard to prove why it is the number one ranked side in ICC’s ODI rankings list.
For the first time the side really wants to prove that a master is always greater than his/her student. But, this drastic change within the England side took lots of turn to finally arrive at this point.
In 1846, the inventors of the gentleman’s game first created a playing eleven, known as ‘All-England Eleven’. The side was created by William Clarke.
Between 1847 and 1856, the team played annual matches against a side, called United All-England Eleven. And out of those two sides, an English side led by George Parr was formed.
The English side for the first time had an away series against an American side. The George Parr team included six players from United All-England Eleven, and six from United All-England side.
The George Parr side then toured Australia between 1861 and 1862, and there it had a decent outing, as the side toured the Aussies for the second-time between 1863 and 1864, and it ended its tour with a 45 runs defeat in its inaugural Test match versus the Kangaroos.
However, in 1877, the team avenged its loss against the Australians with a four-wicket. The English side hosted its first Test match
Between 1882 and 1883, the English side suffered its home defeat as the unit lost 1-0. Owing to the 1-0 loss, the English captain, Ivo Bligh became determined to reclaim the Ashes urn. The Ivo Bligh-led team fought hard to win the Ashes series against Australia by 2-1.
Since the Ashes win, the team became a hard nut to crack as it won the Ashes 10-times between 1884 and 1898. The English team continued to dominate the cricket world starting right from 1880 to 1890.
In the early 20th century England started to lose its charm and brilliance as the the team lost four out of the eight Ashes series between 1900 and 1914. The outfit also lost their first series against South Africa from 1905–06 by 4-1 as their batting crumbled.
Post World War I, the England side suffered consecutive humiliating defeats, and also witnessed its first whitewash at the hands of its nemesis, Australia by a margin of 5-0.
The 1930 Ashes series saw Don Bradman intimidate the Ashes series as he scored a record 974 runs, featuring one century, two double centuries and one triple century, helping Australia to thump England by 3-1.
Post World War II, the England side defeated a debuting Indian side, but, it failed to reclaim the Ashes as it went on to lose the Ashes by 3-0 under Wally Hammond's captaincy, and by 4-0 under Bradman’s leadership.
However, the fortunes changed in the 1953 Ashes when England won the Ashes 1-0.
The early 1960 and the middle of 1960 saw the Australian cricket team reclaim the Ashes, and the West Indies team intimidated the England team.
In the early 1970s the English side came back to its winning track when the Ray Illingworth-led team won the Ashes in the home ground of the Kangaroos.
The 1980s period improved a little bit in the 1990s after captain Graham Gooch arrived. With his arrival the team became more professional and it became more fit.
From 2000 to 2011, the England side witnessed many changes in its style of playing cricket. Between 2000 and 2011, the England side became one of the formidable sides in the Test format.
Although the Australian side thrashed the England side multiple times in the Ashes. But, in 2005-06, the Australians lost the Ashes by 2-1. In 2006-07, the Ricky Ponting-led side regained the Ashes mercilessly by winning the series 5-0. Till 2010, England were never considered a formidable side in the 50-overs format.
Since the 2015 World Cup exit, the England team adopted an aggressive and modern style of play as they began to show a glimpse of their destructive style of play.
Nevertheless, having said all these, let’s look at the performance of the Australian cricket team at the biggest event.
England's World Cup history
The inaugural Cricket World Cup was hosted in 1975 by England, the only nation able to put forward the resources to stage an event of such magnitude at the time.
Hosts England fought so hard to reach the semis only to falter at the semis at the hands of Australia.
The 1975 semi-finalists produced scintillating performances to reach the finals this time, but, the team again fell short as dominant West Indies clinched the coveted trophy.
The finalists of the 1979 World Cup edition fell short once again in the 1983 edition as the team’s journey was restricted till the semi-finals.
England produced their pest performance once again as they reached the finals twice only to lose out to an intimidating Australian side which lifted its maiden World Cup title.
Inconsistent and unpredictable Pakistan produced their best performance in the final as England lost once again despite reaching the final stage thrice
In the 1996 World Cup quarter-final, the English side bowed down to Sri Lanka, the eventual winners of the 1996 World Cup edition.
1999 – 2003
Hosts England squandered its bid to progress to the finals as they suffered defeats to South Africa and India, hence failing to reach the quarters for the first time in the tournament history.
While, in the 2003 edition, England won just three out of the six matches, and lost the remaining three, failing to progress beyond the group stage for the second-time in a row.
England progress to the super eight stage after winning two of their three group matches. Eventually, they crashed out in the super eight stage after losing four and winning just three matches out their seven matches.
In the 2011 edition, England suffered shock defeats to Ireland and Bangladesh. Although, a win against South Africa and a draw against eventual winners India helped England progress to the quarter-finals, where Sri Lanka defeated them.
In 2015, England caused a massive stir after they replaced long-term captain Alastair Cook with Eoin Morgan. Despite that change, England failed to qualify for the knock-out stage after winning just two, witnessing four defeats in their six group matches.
The World Cup 2019 seems the best opportunity for the England team to end their hunt for their first World Cup trophy. The Eoin Morgan-led side has got every bases covered to lift the trophy. Since its exit from the 2015 World Cup, England have played cricket at an impressive level which have made unbeatable.
Many cricket experts and legends have termed England as ‘favourites’ to win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, and they did kick-started their World Cup preparations by thrashing Pakistan 4-0 in a five-match ODI series, where one match got abandoned due to rain.
Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy have been in sublime form. Especially, the trio of Jos Buttler, Bairstow and Roy are in tremendous form.
Also, the immensely talented Archer, born in Barbados to a British father, only became eligible to play for England in March.
Morgan, Buttler, Ali, Hales, Root and Woakes are the only players from England's 2015 Cricket World Cup squad.
The squad is filled with experienced and is consistent, as most of the players played the ODIs since 2015. England will be aiming to locate a second reserve batsman and are also seeking to include Jofra Archer in their playing XI.
Currently, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow are world’s most destructive opening pair, as both of them are scoring centuries easily in 2018. Roy broke Alex Hales’ record of highest top scorer for England with a destructive innings of 180. Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow broke Pakistan’s bowlers by striking balls all around the park.
Bairstow scored fastest ODI centuries for England in 54 and 58 balls respectively and was in good form in the recently IPL.
Hales seems the likely backup batting option and can play as an opening batsman or can play at number 3 while Root will play at 4 if needed.
Root and Morgan will play at 3 and 4 respectively, batting to either set up anchor the innings or play aggressively. Root has scored runs consistently; Morgan has been switching good and poor form. However, he should not be concerned about his place in the playing XI whether his 2018 form (seven 50s in 22 innings) continues.
Stokes, Buttler and Ali are lower-order pinch-hitters after Root and Morgan. Stokes witnessed good as well as bad form after his suspension and is likely to have taken his batting more seriously since, but, he is still an aggressive batsman, bowler and one of England's best fielders.
Buttler is England’s deputy vice-captain and maybe future ODI / T20I captain, as Morgan is said to consider his future as captain after the World Cup. Even after a team gets Bairstow and Roy out, Buttler is there to destroy the opposition.
And, the recent ODI series against Pakistan proved that. So, the opposition has no choice but to attack him from the start. Recently, Buttler scored a quick-fire 54 against the Australians in World Cup warm up match, hence nearly pulling his team over the line.
Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid are England's leading bowlers as Woakes will be the prime bowler with the new ball and during the death overs, and Rashid bowling in partnership with Ali between the middle overs. Rashid has been the best ODI for England since the 2015 Cricket World Cup, as he scalped 125 wickets in this period.
Liam Plunkett can also pose a threat in the middle overs and possess one of the better records since the last World Cup with a scalp of 77 wickets. However, a slump in pace and form has left has left his position vulnerable.
Mark Wood and Tom Curran are competing against each other to open the bowling besides Woakes, as each has their unique advantages. Wood provides genuine pace, and Curran possess excellent slog-over bowling, pace and batting ability.
Joe Denly has been picked as backup spinner but has not played a game since his selection in last year, indicating his place is very vulnerable.
Chris Jordan and Jofra Archer have been selected in the final World Cup squad.
Plunkett, Wood, Curran and Denly’s places are mostly under threat, as Archer is ingood run of form.
Sam Billings and James Vince are the leading challengers as second reserve batsman.
England's aggressive batting style and a multiple bowling options in the playing XI are their biggest advantages especially on flat pitches. Enhanced batting against spinners has also worked out, however their batsman are still susceptible to swing bowler.
Nevertheless, it will be intriguing to watch if the England's team can fix its issues and problems in this year’s World Cup.
Here, in this article, we will analyse six players – six game changing players – out of the 15-member England squad.
England declared their 15-member World Cup squad, which is as follows:-
Eoin Morgan (Captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Playing his first IPL, Jonny Bairstow made sure to leave a mark on everyone before departing to England. Partnering with David Warner, he destroyed Royal Challengers Bangalore's bowling attack by smashing 113 off 56 balls.
Bairstow has established his place in the England national side by scoring crucial knocks against Pakistan in the recently concluded ODI series.
Bairstow hammered 128 runs off 93 balls against Pakistan in the third ODI while successfully chasing a mammoth score of 358. Bairstow was the fifth highest run scorer in IPL 2019 with 365 runs and is expected to carry his IPL form into the World Cup.
Roy has been in phenomenal form against Pakistan, having scored three half-centuries in his last three ODIs. Roy also managed to score a ton against Pakistan in the fourth ODI against Pakistan. He smashed 114 runs off 89 balls, which included 11 fours and 4 sixes.
After making a conscious decision of not to getting into IPL 2019 auction, Roy will be definitely looking to impress the audience in the World Cup 2019. His prime objective will be to steer England to their maiden World Cup trophy.
Roy has amassed 2938 runs in 76 ODIs for England with an average of 40.80. Roy also holds the record of being the highest individual scorer for England, by smashing 180 runs in 151 balls against Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
England are clear favourites ahead of the ICC World Cup 2019, and one of the prime reasons behind that is the current form of Jos Buttler. Buttler gathered 311 runs in eight games for Rajasthan Royals. After a successful outing in IPL 2019, Buttler returned to England and carried his astonishing form in the series against Pakistan.
Buttler was named player of the match in second ODI of the series. His blistering knock of 110 runs in just 55 balls led England to the victory. Buttler amazed the crowd by smashing 9 sixes and 6 fours in his innings. Apart from strengthening England's middle-order, he will also play a prominent role by keeping the wickets for England.
Jofra Archer was instrumental in England’s series win vs Pakistan and also took crucial wickets in IPL.
England bowlers are expected to have an upper hand at the mega-event and one of the key bowlers would be Chris Woakes. The 30-year-old was in sensational form against Pakistan in the recently concluded series.
He managed to grab nine wickets in his last two games against Pakistan. Ending the series with a five-wicket haul, he would be looking to carry his on-going form into the World Cup 2019.
England will be looking to achieve consistency throughout the tournament. England will also be looking to avoid any more injuries as Woakes has knee issues and Wood has ankle problems. England can and should win the World Cup provided if they give their best.