Wednesday, 12 January 2011

England's T20 Formula for Success

When winning the World T20, England went into it with a solid, structured formula that payed dividends. Two explosive openers. Three big-hitters who can also manouvre it in the middle. All-rounders 6 and 7. Two spinners 8 and 9. Two pacers at the end. And it worked. England have won their last 7 games with that now tried and tested formula, and can rightly claim to be the best T20 side in the world.

But of the original World T20 winning side, there will be some differences for this upcoming T20 series v Australia. Kiesy and Broady are crocked. Siddy's retired. And Lumby's seemingly out of favour.

Yes, England found success with the formula used in the Caribbean, but is it now time to move on? I've spoken before about the lack of point in playing Luke Wright, and if England are playing Bresnan, Yardy, Swann and two others (today Woakes and Shahzad; normally Broad and Anderson) Wright won't need to bowl. And today he picked up his fifth T20I duck - the most ever. So he doesn't bowl and he clearly doesn't justify selection with the bat. So why is he being picked?!

I don't want this blog to be solely a succession of either podcasts and posts about Luke Wright. But he's now played 69 times for England. 69! If he is batting at number six, England's selectors are basically saying that he's one of England's six best twenty20 players. I can think of at least 20 better than him. But I digress...

Ian Bell, as well as he batted today, probably isn't a T20 opener. His classy and elegant stroke play would be better served lower down the order. Paul Collingwood is similiar, while he can play the big shots, he's often better served manouvreing it and allowing big hitting Pietersen or Morgan to rack 'em up down the other end. Number 4 is arguably the most important T20 position - get off to a bad start and you can need to rebuild by pushing singles and keeping your wicket. Get off to a good start and you may come in and start going at 10 an over plus in the last few overs (when batting first) or chasing down a target batting second. I'd rather see Bell in at 4 as a safety net for the potentially brilliant (but also with the ability to misfire) KP at 3 (after a similiar tale with the openers); Morgan, who has the ability to knuckle down or set loose at 5, with cool-hand Collingwood at 6. Don't forget, Colly has the ability to lob down a couple of overs if the main five aren't doing it (another reason to drop Luke Wright...)

While England won the World T20 by being the best T20 team, there are still ways of improving. A slight rejig in the middle order can only be beneficial, and there would be less deadwood in there aswell. At the time of writing I don't know whether England managed to get the world record for the most consecutive T20 wins (am following the Aus/Eng game via Twitter as don't have access to a TV), but my foolproof plan should surely see England onto greater T20 success in the future!

My team:

Davies (wk)
Broad / Woakes
Anderson / Shahzad

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