The Summer begins
T20 cricket in India on Indian conditions amidst the energetic and fervent crowd and England reaching the final was a distinct dream at the start of the year for us fans. In the matter of a year, their evolution as a side has been dramatic and has really brought the England fans back. After losing the 1st game in the World cup vs WI, their chase of 230 against South Africa -the 2nd highest run chase in HISTORY of T20s was a surprise for all of us. Even though they had a shaky start vs Afghanistan, the bowlers backed their careless batting. Their victories against SL and NZ in the semi-final was amazing; it was an absolute team performance with everyone contributing – Rooty, Jase and Buttler’s phenomenal knocks with the bat, Willey and Stokesy’s accurate death bowling and Morgan’s astute captaincy. Obviously losing the World cup was very disappointing, 19 runs from the last over could have been defended by someone with the experience Stokesy has but that’s what a World T20 final does to you; the pressure that everybody is depending on you is immense, it could have happened with anyone. That’s what makes cricket exciting, some moments are everything for one side while it’s heart breaking for the other. I’m sure Ben will come back stronger and we all back him.
As a Joe Root fan, I can never miss talking about him (sorry!). His consistent performances have taken England to another level, his knock of 83 in the WC was instrumental for the monumental chase. He has been outstanding for 3 years now and having him, has lifted the team’s performance and has brought about a paradigm shift to England’s approach. It was a fantastic tournament; I wouldn’t say I believed in them from the start but that’s England – when we lose, we just gift it away but performances like the WT20 is why sticking with them through hard times matter- you know they will come good!
With so much T20 cricket being played, it would be really refreshing to watch some 5-day attritional cricket now. Really excited for the summer, so much to look forward to, first being the series with Sri Lanka. A side without Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene – one of the most remarkable players Sri Lanka has ever produced and with lots of young players yet to prove on a big stage, beating them on home soil doesn’t look too challenging. Adding to that, the away series victory against the no.1 test side- SA, England look favourites to win in my opinion. Yet, we shouldn’t take the victory for granted as this side still has plenty of room for improvement; the opener’s slot being a major issue since the retirement of Andrew Strauss. Would be interesting to see who opens this summer with the likes of Nick Browne, Compo, Sam Robson, Lythy and Alex Hales all competing for that place. Personally I would love to see Alex at top, his performance in the SA series wasn’t up to his potential but his spontaneous approach and capacity of increasing the run rate would perfectly go well with Cooky’s style. And who knows? Maybe we can see a Sehwag or a Warner or even better! No.5 is also up for grabs following the unfortunate, unexpected retirement of James Taylor. Can never forget his brilliant catches at short leg and as a middle-order batsman he was just peaking to his best.
I hope this summer can be a chance for England to experiment with players having prospective international careers and gain some points to reach the coveted no.1 position! Gonna be a roller coaster of a year, COME ON ENGLAND!