England’s winners and losers from their T20I series whitewash in Bangladesh
Reigning world champions England fell to a 3-0 T20I series defeat in their final assignment of the winter – here are some individual winners and losers from within the England camp across the series.
Four months since England won the T20 World Cup in Australia, they capitulated to their first whitewash in a bilateral three-match T20I series in nine years. On slow, spinning pitches, they were out-bowled, out-batted and out-fielded by Bangladesh. Given what England have achieved this winter, the image of Rehan Ahmed and Ben Duckett dropping simple catches is a dissatisfying one on which to end.
While it must be said that England’s white-ball focus has shifted to the World Cup later this year, there still could be some significant individual outcomes from this series. As ever after a string of defeats, those who didn’t play make up a significant proportion of the winners.
Archer was the only England pacer who managed to extract anything from the tracks in Chattogram and Mirpur. That trademark bouncer which zones in on batter’s heads as they try to sway out of the way was on full display once more. He finishes as the joint leading wicket-taker in the series, a position he could have held outright if Rehan Ahmed and Ben Duckett had held their catches.
Just as he did on his ODI return, Archer looked like the same solution to all of England’s problems that he did when he first burst onto the scene.
Still out of T20I favour, blasting a 63-ball 145* while England’s batters scratched around for 20 can’t have harmed Roy’s allure. Sure, Rawalpindi is probably the flattest pitch known to man and his century arguably wasn’t the best in the PSL that week, but the contrast was still stark. Having regained some form in the ODI arena, England’s three batting capitulations could spell a T20I return too.
Bangladesh were every bit the superior side to England. Mehdi Hasan Miraz was outstanding with the ball, as was Taskin Ahmed, whose game-changing over in the final game effectively ended England’s chase. Najmul Hossain Shanto was the standout of the series. He was only dismissed once, in the first T20I, and even then after scoring a fifty, and finished 46* and 47* in the final two matches respectively. They continued their longstanding impressive record at home.
Just as in the ODIs, Salt emerges as one of the biggest losers from the T20I series. He was out for a first-ball duck in the final game in Mirpur – his fifth dismissal to left-arm spin out of six in the combined series. Roy is waiting in the wings to come back in, and Jonny Bairstow’s return to cricket is starting to loom ever larger in the background. That’s not to mention the host of batters who weren’t on this tour who could take Salt’s position. Will Jacks, Alex Hales, Harry Brook and Sam Billings are just a few of those in the wings.
Among the few unexpected names included in the original squads for this tour, Tom Abell’s was one of the most interesting. Sadly, after he was rewarded with his first senior international call-up, an injury had him sent home on the plane before a ball was bowled. No replacement was ever named for Abell, nor Jacks when he also pulled up injured after flying in from New Zealand. The resultant batter scarcity was evident in England’s XI for the second T20I. Sam Curran walked out to bat at six and Chris Woakes at seven. While England have a depth of all-rounders, they were definitely pushing it.
While the rest of who played in New Zealand weren’t required to stop off in Bangladesh on the way home and several players not on central contracts opting out of the tour to make the big bucks in franchise leagues, maybe England missed a slight opportunity to blood in new faces. Abell’s selection represented a win for those still climbing the traditional ranks. By not fielding a replacement, that win has slightly soured.
Lastly, the compulsory caveat that England have once again suffered from an absurd schedule. Their final Test match series of the winter ended the day before the ODI series started. That’s almost as ridiculous as the timing of the ODIs against Australia after the T20 World Cup final.
Olly Stone didn’t bowl a ball in New Zealand but had featured in the ODI tour in South Africa. Jacks again was not called upon in New Zealand after tearing up in the SA20, and Duckett – England’s busiest cricketer this winter – made the trip to Bangladesh while Brook, Root and Stokes did not. The latter will be back in action in the IPL later this month. There might have been some reasoning at the time these tours were planned, but please, make it make sense.