Saturday, 8 May 2010

Team England Flying On

Way back during the long hard months of the IPL, I wrote a blog about how England were going to win the World T20. At the time, I had some stick, with naysayers supporting India, Australia, South Africa and even Sri Lanka well ahead of an England team who have never won an international tournament. Especially when you look at England's past T20 fortunes, which have been mixed (to be kind).

But I looked beyond hard stats and conventional opinion. I looked at Kevin Pietersen's brutal run-scoring. I looked at Eoin Morgan's inventive hitting. I looked at the spin of Swann and Yardy, and the handy all-rounders Collingwood, Bresnan and Wright. While I thought England would utilise Broad and Anderson, Sidebottom has performed well and offers a very tight option at the death. Kieswetter and Lumb were an unknown quantity at the top, but I tipped them to fire. I looked at the England team, and I saw a team that could win.

And if they continue as they have against Pakistan and South Africa, there's no reason why they can't.

The great thing about this England team is that they are one - a team. In the South Africa game, every single player (except Luke Wright... sorry Luke) contributed; either making good runs or taking wickets, and it was a fantastic team performance. In recent England one-day history, too much pressure would be put on a Pietersen or a Trescothick to perform, but now the pressure is spread amongst a team which bats 1-11. Collingwood was happy to continue playing attacking strokes, knowing there was Wright, Bresnan and Yardy to follow him, all of whom can hit quick runs. As a captain, Collingwood has so many options; as well as the five front-line bowlers, he also has Wright, Pietersen, Lumb and himself to be called on to have a twirl. And in the field, even Ryan Sidebottom (hardly the most mobile) made two world-class catches - even being likened to a ballerina for his diving effort to dismiss de Villiers.

James Anderson is one of the finest bowlers in the world - and he can't even get into this England team. In Twenty20, form and momentum is everything, and England have both. As the team fly to St Lucia (and I fly up the Sport Guru prediction table), there's no reason why they can't fly back home with the World T20 trophy safely in tow.

No comments:

Post a Comment