March 20, 2014

Why England will win the World T20

Is there any cause for optimism for Broady and Co? Six irrefutable reasons say yes

He'll get you and you won't know you've been got © Getty Images

With one big hitter out due to broken relationships, another big hitter out due to a broken wrist, thanks to launching one especially big hit at a Barbados locker, a captain who has had a fourth or fifth injection to manage a knee condition (does no one keep count?) and after a seemingly endless string of defeats, is there any cause for optimism for the England World Twenty20 squad? Of course there is, because what is cricket all about if not taking the positives?

England players seem incapable of discussing the T20 World Cup without stating that it's all about who has momentum. Cricketers are also pretty generous to themselves in how they feel momentum is generated. England may have lost a series against West Indies and then a warm-up match against the same opponents, but as far as they're concerned, they took momentum from the last match in the series, and warm-ups don't count, so they still have momentum. Conversely, West Indies think the dead rubber doesn't count, so they have taken enormous momentum from a series win and then a subsequent warm-up victory. The upshot is that pretty much every team at this World Cup is going to be arriving at it carrying extraordinary momentum. The resultant collision doesn't bear thinking about.

T20 cricket is famously unpredictable. No sane person is predicting an England win, but pretty much every other team has been tipped by someone or other. If the format truly is unpredictable, that leaves only one possible winner.

The optimum number of good players
Stuart Broad says that "in Test cricket, you need eight or nine guys to have a really good game, in T20 you need two or three max". That last word is vital. Three is the maximum you need. If four or five players perform really well, you will lose. Unlike most of the other teams in the tournament, England have the luxury of only having maybe three or four players who are even capable of a good game. Uniquely, they are in no real danger of exceeding Broad's threshold.

Bowling options
As everyone knows, it's vital to have bowling options in the shortest format. With no first-choice bowlers to speak of, England have plenty of options. Pretty much anybody could be brought on to bowl. It really doesn't matter who they choose. They could easily surprise the opposition by giving Jos Buttler an over because he almost certainly wouldn't do any worse than Jade Dernbach.

The Bopara deception
If there is one bowler who does stand out, it's Ravi Bopara, who appears to have devised an incredibly economical way of bowling, based around misleading the batsman into thinking he's about to pull out of his run-up. Watch him. From first step to delivery stride, he looks like he's about to abort. The batsman is invariably surprised each time the ball is actually delivered.

You can't write any team off in T20
If this is true - and a great many people maintain that it is - then what would happen if someone wrote several hundred words for ESPNcricinfo basically writing a particular team off? Wouldn't the team in question by definition be obliged to prove that person wrong?

Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy on March 23, 2014, 19:57 GMT

    If England wins this world T20 then the most surprised will be they themselves!!

  • Shoeb on March 23, 2014, 8:44 GMT

    If England has to win,need luck when they play. It's a rarity. Reason for failure- inconsistent selection,inconsistent bowling and batting. . Need players like Kohli,De velliers,Finch,McCallum,Malinga,Ajmal. This is lacking in England.

  • Jonathan on March 21, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    Far too many people taking this article far too seriously. As an Englander (albeit one who has very little interest in T20), I'm enjoying the jokes at my country's team's expense. Unwind a little and take it for what it is: a comic piece.

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    Well there are two types of good players. One is domestic and other is international. Bopara is no way near international player. He is just pathetic when it comes to international cricket. He has been given so many chances but he does not belong here. And had it been other part of word I would have given England may be 10-15% chances but here in Bangladesh they are going out in first round miserably. They have no chance at all.

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2014, 8:41 GMT

    Ravi Bopara's current ICC T20 Bowling ranking might be around 65-70 which is really a bad number and how do you expect him to surprise the batsman. It will be a hard time for him ....

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    It's not as far fetched as it seems, funnily enough. England have by far the easiest group - you could see them sneaking wins against NZ, SA and the qualifier, then it could come down to just a couple of T20 matches.

    They probably won't, of course.

  • Rakshit on March 21, 2014, 5:59 GMT

    Absolutely hilarious article...The piece on Ravi Bopara and Stuart Broad are real gems.. But yes, T20 is unpredictable so you never know England might actually end up winning it.

  • Joe on March 21, 2014, 4:26 GMT

    That's hilarious. Especially the Bopara's run up, I couldn't control my laughter. True, England has the most vital ingredient of the T20 - 'unpredictability'. No team can plan against England as there is nothing to be planned, and how disaster it would be to face a team without a plan.

  • Wahab on March 21, 2014, 2:20 GMT

    LOL! .. the momentum part was extremely funny, Very well written by Bowden. and as far as English Cricket is concern, i don't see any vision, the broad eye, helicopter view or you can say Future of English Cricket.

  • Android on March 20, 2014, 21:16 GMT

    hahahahahahahabaha lolz i like your confidence hahahahaha lmao

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