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Seven possible England T20 World Cup bolters

England T20 World Cup
Yas Rana by Yas Rana
@Yas_Wisden 3 minute read

England’s comprehensive defeat in the second T20I at Ahmedabad reminded viewers that despite being the number one ranked side in the world, the 50 over world champions are not infallible.

With weaknesses, however slight, in the spotlight, here’s a look at a few players outside the current squad who could feasibly force their way into England’s plans ahead of this year’s T20 World Cup:

Chris Woakes

Woakes’ recent T20 career has been rather curious. A key member of the 2019 World Cup winning side, Woakes hasn’t played a T20I since 2015 or a T20 of any form since 2018. He does, though, have a contract for this year’s IPL with Delhi Capitals where he’ll have an opportunity to serve a reminder of his all-round ability in T20 cricket.

England’s seam bowling depth is one of their few areas of weakness. Tom Curran, one of the most expensive bowlers in IPL history, was targeted on his return to the side in the second T20I, conceding 26 runs from his two overs.

Saqib Mahmood

One of the star performers in this year’s PSL before its postponement, Mahmood’s style isn’t wholly dissimilar to that of Mark Wood’s; he’s skiddy, quick and gets the bowl to tail in to the right-handers, though he has some way to go to reach the speeds Wood has recently touched. Mahmood would arguably be a more versatile back-up option in the squad than the oldest Curran brother.

Tymal Mills

It’s now been four years since Mills last played for England. The fastest of any bowler on this list – and arguably the most skilful – Mills can count himself unlucky not to have played for England in so long. At the death, there are few bowlers better in the world. With England’s immense batting depth, his specialism as an out-and-out bowler shouldn’t be an issue either.

Matt Parkinson

Technically in England’s touring party to India but not in their 15-man squad, Parkinson has a reasonable shot of making the final squad for the T20 World Cup. A confident leggie who gives it more air and turns it more than most of his contemporaries, Parkinson would offer both more than just being a back-up to Adil Rashid.

In late 2020, Australia fielded both Adam Zampa and Mitchell Swepson against India with reasonable success, a model that England may be tempted to replicate. Day/night games at Motera – which make up all five of England’s T20Is in India – with its relatively short straight boundaries and dew factor might not be the ideal venue for two leg-spinners in an attack, but there’ll be Indian grounds where that strategy may be viable.

Liam Dawson

Another option for the squad’s third spinner, should they want one. Dawson’s England career has been peculiar to say the least. To date, he’s played just nine white-ball games for his country but has been part of a World Cup winning squad and another that reached the final of the 2016 World T20, not playing a game in either run.
He hasn’t played for England in two and a half years, but you get the sense that he’s a player who England trust.

Joe Root

Joe Root hasn’t played a T20I since 2019. There’s an argument to be made that Root – one of the standout players at the 2016 World T20 – offers something that England’s current top-order options don’t. On the kind of surface England encountered in the second T20I, there are few better at rotating the strike, grinding their way through testing passages of play while maintaining a healthy, if not spectacular, scoring rate.

The versatility of the current top six means that Root could, at the very least, be a handy reserve option to have on the bench. His improving off-spin would give England more flexibility elsewhere in the side, too.

Alex Hales

Since he last played for England over two years ago, Hales’ game has gone to another level. Only non-performance related reasons are keeping Hales away from the current squad. If he’s deemed available, there is no doubt that he enhances England’s chances of winning the T20 World Cup.

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