England primed for white-ball joy: Former skipper Mike Gatting on why a bright one-day future beckons

 
Ross McLean
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Eoin Morgan’s England have recovered from a dismal World Cup (Source: Getty)
If England can maintain the rate of one-day progress which they have showcased since their World Cup demise then there is nothing preventing a serious bid for white-ball honours in the coming years, according to former captain Mike Gatting.

That harrowing group-stage exit in March has dissipated with the adoption of an enterprising brand of limited-overs cricket, which has seen England land serious blows to one-day powerhouses Australia and New Zealand this summer.

The World T20 in India, which gets underway in March, is their next tournament, while the ICC Champions Trophy and World Cup, both on home soil, are on the horizon in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

England last topped the ODI world rankings in 2012, while their sole piece of tournament silverware in limited-overs cricket is the World T20 title won in the West Indies in 2010, although Gatting insists the foundations are in place to add to that haul.

“It is possible, yes [for England to reach the summit of the ODI rankings and compete for a World Cup],” Gatting told City A.M. “England have got destructive batsmen and have found a number of all-rounders who are capable of turning a game on its head. All in all, it is a nice mix of young, able and capable players.

“Eoin Morgan is a very fine one-day player and there is Joe Root to come back. Add those to someone like in-form James Taylor and that is something to be reckoned with.

“These guys are all the right side of 30 as well. The Champions Trophy is two years away and these players will be more experienced when that rolls around. That will be incredibly helpful in the cause of trying to win the Champions Trophy or the World Cup.

“It really does look like a group that can compete at the level of those competitions.”

England’s immediate assignment is a Test and limited-overs series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, which starts in October, followed by a winter tour of South Africa, who are currently the top-ranked team in the international red-ball arena.

Pakistan are unbeaten in seven Test series since adopting the UAE as their base following a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March 2009. England were hammered 3-0 the last time they competed there in 2012.

Despite their Ashes success this summer, Gatting believes there remains a number of key selection conundrums to solve if England are to have the arsenal to combat the trial by spin heading their way in the dust bowls of the UAE.

“England are facing a couple of challenging issues. The rest of it sorts itself out but the two question marks they have are at the front end of the order and who is going to be the second spinner alongside Moeen Ali,” he added.

“In South Africa, England will face fire from seamers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel and that opening partnership will need to be solid.”

Mike Gatting OBE will join a host of cricketing legends and showbiz stars for the Lord’s Taverners’ Pro-Celebrity Cricket Tour in Antigua & Barbuda from 12-16 October. To book visit www.internationalcrickettours.co.uk/taverners-tours or call 0203 824 8444. *Customers booking before 28 September will also get an exclusive Cricket Skills Masterclass with the pros.

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