Over the last five years, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali’s spin partnership has been a key feature of England’s white-ball success.
Whether both will be around for the next 50-over World Cup in 2023 remains a key question; Rashid will turn 35 at the tournament and has struggled with a shoulder problem, while Moeen– who took just the one international wicket this summer – will be 36.
With two T20 World Cups prior to the ODI comp too, we take stock of the other options England have in their locker.
The Lancashire leggie has already had a taste for it, making his T20I debut in New Zealand in 2019 and his ODI debut on the tour of South Africa this year. He thrives upon giving the ball some flight, and that was showcased when he took a four-for in his second game against the Black Caps. He very much remains an understudy to the masterful Rashid at this moment in time, but has plenty of cricket ahead of him at the tender age of 23.
An unused squad member at the 2019 World Cup, Dawson has played only nine limited-overs internationals but carries the reputation of a tidy, no-frills left-arm spinner with all-rounder status in county cricket. In last year’s One-Day Cup, his 18 wickets came at 20, but perhaps more impressive was the economy rate of 4.11. He was included in the squad for the Ireland ODIs earlier this summer but wasn’t afforded any game time. Aged 30, he isn’t exactly a vote on youth should England ever return to him, though.
Crane has fallen down the pecking order since his Test debut on England’s last tour Down Under. A back stress fracture in 2018 followed by a disappointing red-ball season last year when he was still making his way back to full fitness has hampered his progress. The white-ball numbers have always been relatively consistent, though, and with a productive Bob Willis Trophy campaign (14 wickets @ 13.57) behind him, Crane’s star is on the rise once more. He was also part of England Lions’ 50-over squad for their tour of Australia last winter, taking five wickets in three games.
The current Test incumbent, Bess has played little limited-overs cricket and not made much of an impression either, with just 11 List A wickets at 56 and five T20 wickets at 43.20. But he was named in England Lions’ 50-over squad for the winter tour of Australia and perhaps he can fashion himself into a one-day player who is parsimonious with the ball and able to offer useful lower-order runs. Bess is also one of the few finger-spinning options out there who will turn it away from the leftie.
The Middlesex leg-spinner, born in Australia, is qualified to play for England and was the standout spinner in domestic 50-over cricket last summer, his 25 One-Day Cup wickets coming in nine matches at an average of 20.84. His record in the shortest format is less impressive but still steady.
Despite being the leading wicket-taker in English domestic T20 history, the Sussex left-arm spinner’s last England T20I cap came in January 2014, while his only ODI appearance came alongside fellow debutant Jos Buttler. After a poor 2019 campaign, he has returned to form in this year’s Blast with 12 wickets at 16.91.