ENGLAND produced another eye-catching limited-overs performance when beating New Zealand in their T20 international at Old Trafford on Tuesday and Yorkshire’s Joe Root once again delivered with the bat.
He has been on fire during the last 18 months or so since being dropped for the final Ashes Test at Sydney during the 2013-14 tour, and has taken his game to another level in the one-day format, averaging more than 68 in the last series.
I didn’t really see him as a Twenty20 player but he has turned his game around and he possesses all the shots. His 68 in Manchester was evidence of that and he is now not only one of England’s best Test players but one of their best players in all formats.
The T20 international was only England’s third since the 2014 World T20, while only another three are scheduled before next year’s tournament in India. I would like England to have greater T20 exposure.
I appreciate the international calendar is tight but it would be hugely beneficial to have more games leading up to the World Cup. That format of the game is all about momentum and it’s so important that players know their roles.
That is so hard to achieve when there is the odd game here and there. I like the fact we tend to have five one-day matches after a Test series, but it would also be nice to see a run of three T20s.
While he may have failed with the bat on Tuesday, one-day captain Eoin Morgan was in scintillating form throughout the 50-over tussles with New Zealand, scoring a hundred and three half-centuries in five innings.
Such imperious form has prompted speculation about an Ashes call-up. It would be left-field and, while I could see the tactic of having him in the side working, I’m not sure the selectors will go down that route. I believe they will maintain their policy of consistent selection.
England are missing that dynamic player though, the Kevin Pietersen-type, who can take the game away from the opposition. Australia will come hard at England and I think the best antidote would be to play them at their own game.
Morgan and Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales, who has scored a lot of runs in county cricket this year, both fit the bill. Those two are players the Australians would fear bowling at.
Former head coach Peter Moores, meanwhile, this week broke his silence following his sacking last month. I have always been consistent with my views on Peter.
He had a tough job in starting the rebuilding process after England had done so badly during the 2013-14 Ashes, while in terms of the World Cup he did only have six months or so before the build-up to the tournament started.
But look at England’s transformation since he has gone. They play with so much freedom now whereas they looked robotic before. I do feel a little bit sorry for Peter but it was time to move on and the right decision to sack him.
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