Wednesday, 16 October 2013

England Set For Competitive Tri-Series, But Who Will Play?

England begin their T20 Tri-Series campaign tonight in the West Indies, with a match against New Zealand. It starts at midnight, and is being broadcast via the ECB's web site - so get the coffee on and charge-up the laptop!

Although New Zealand have traditionally been regarded as one of the "Top 4" (along with Australia, England and India) they are definitely the tournament's underdogs, with World Cup runners-up the West Indies probably narrow favorites.

The T20 cliche is "anything can happen"; and it is a cliche for a reason: anything can happen, especially with England missing several key players - Knight, Brunt, Shrubsole and Marsh; all of whom would be in their ideal XI.

When the squads were announced, I predicted a starting XI of:
  1. Edwards
  2. Beaumont
  3. Taylor
  4. Greenway
  5. Winfield
  6. Sciver
  7. Wyatt
  8. Gunn
  9. Farrant
  10. Hazell
  11. Colvin
I still think this is the likely team - it's perhaps a bit batting-light; but there is a long middle-order from Sciver through Gunn.

A possibility is that one of the spinners drops-out to make room for another seamer (probably Katie Cross, who is a bit more experienced than Langston) but this presents another dilemma - England would dearly love to bowl Holly Colvin back into form for The Ashes; but they also desperately need Wyatt's batting to bolster that middle-order. It's a tough one!

The other question is who opens with Edwards? I think everyone agrees now that opening with Wyatt at the World Cup was a mistake, so I've gone for Tammy B, but Loz Winfield is another candidate; and it is also possible that Amy Jones will be brought in to fulfill that role; though at whose expense, I'm not sure? (Colvin, again? That would still leave five "proper" bowlers; and the longer batting line-up might be worth it; but at the expense of some flexibility?)

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