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Cricket World Cup 2023

Brook edged out, and where’s Archer? Five takeaways from England’s provisional 2023 World Cup squad

Gus Atkinson, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook
Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner
@Ben_Wisden 4 minute read

England have named a 15-strong provisional squad for the 2023 Cricket World Cup, which also doubles up as their playing group for the upcoming four-match ODI series against New Zealand.

Ben Stokes has reversed his retirement from the format for the competition, a move heavily rumoured in the lead-up to the announcement. That means there is no room for Harry Brook, despite his stellar start to life as a Test cricketer. The uncapped Gus Atkinson has won a call-up, while Jofra Archer is not in the squad as he continues his recovery from injury. England are among the favourites for the Cricket World Cup, with Betway pricing them at odds of 3/1 to win the competition.

Provisional World Cup squad (also squad for New Zealand ODIs): Jos Buttler (C), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, David Willey, Gus Atkinson, Reece Topley.


Stokes’ return edges out Brook

It’s the comeback everyone saw coming. Stokes called it quits last year, citing an “unsustainable” workload, and avoiding one format for a year seems to have eased his workload enough. For normal cricketers, this might seem like an undue liberty, as arrogance even. But Stokes is not a normal cricketer, and England owe him much more than he owes them. He can do what he likes, especially with his troublesome knee limiting him, and that’s fine.

Brook is the player he’s edged out, and it’s hard not to feel for him. England have opted for Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone, who each offer a versatility, either in terms of batting position or role, that Brook can’t match. The Yorkshire youngster has been sensational for England in Tests, and has sparkled in T20I cricket too, but has been limited to just three ODIs thus far, with only one innings of substance in those. Malan, on the other hand, has made the most of his opportunities in the ‘forgotten’ series last winter, with three hundreds against three different oppositions. He’s earned his spot, and while Brook will be disappointed, his time will come.

Atkinson over Archer, but watch this space

If backing Malan over Brook is a ‘safe’ option, choosing the tried and tested over the talented tyro, Gus Atkinson’s selection is as bold as they come. His name has been spoken with increasing excitement over the past year, and he has starred across formats this season, with some hair-raising, televised spells in The Hundred helping his case. There are echoes of Jofra Archer in 2019, who became eligible for England not far out from the World Cup and was fast-tracked in. That’s what pace can do.

The sadness is that, for the moment, Archer won’t be in the fifteen in India, with his role set to be limited to that of travelling reserve as he continues his injury rehab. It’s not out of the question that he plays a part in the backend of the competition, depending on how he tracks over the next month. David Willey would have been the most likely name to make way for him, just as he did in 2019, as a third left-arm seamer. But for now, he’s in, and Archer is out.

England back the Class of 2019, but what will 2027 look like?

When Wisden’s writers picked their England 2023 World Cup squads back in 2020, they anticipated much more change than has taken place in actuality. Nine of that squad are back to defend their title, with Willey just missing the cut last time, and Malan another experienced head they have put faith in. It’s a sensible strategy – these are hard-nosed match-winners who know what it takes to win big tournaments. But the turnover after the event could be significant.

Liam Livingstone needs to make his mark

Livingstone doesn’t quite fit into either camp, of experienced head or young upstart, and at 30 years old, he should be smack in his prime, and yet his ODI career hasn’t really been one thing or the other thus far. He has played 12 ODIs for one half-century, and though an average of 31 and a strike rate of 123 is perfectly respectable for a No.6/7, he will hope for a statement knock soon to ease any doubts over his credentials. Livingstone has also bowled just a little over two overs a game in his career this far, on average, which England will be keen to up if he does play, so there is a point to prove in that department too.

John Turner, the bolt from the blue

England have also named a T20I squad to face New Zealand, with John Turner the undoubted standout. The South African-born 22-year-old has played just 12 T20 games, all since the start of June this year, but had a stunning campaign in the T20 Blast and is able to reach speeds matched by very few in England. Pure pace can have an instantaneous, transformative effect on a career, and Turner, just as much as Atkinson, is an example of that.

T20I squad to face New Zealand: Jos Buttler (c), Rehan Ahmed, Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Will Jacks, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Josh Tongue, John Turner, Luke Wood.

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