The World Twenty20 in India is underway and I see no reason why England can’t surprise a few people and win the tournament.
A year ago I never thought I would be saying that but in the last 12 months, with the attacking brand of cricket which they’ve adopted, England have caught up with other nations around the world.
In the past England always seemed so far behind and always tended to fall so short in big competitions. In the last World T20 they were beaten by Holland but I just don’t see something like that happening again.
England had an up and down limited-overs campaign, including two T20 defeats, against South Africa last month where the batting was questioned and a few players lost form but I wouldn’t read too much into that. It looks to be a very confident team.
If anything, they lack a bit in the spin department and I have written previously about concerns over the death bowling in the final few overs but it’s still a very good side. When it fires, the destructive nature of the batting unit can compensate for any such weaknesses.
When you get momentum in T20 cricket, you can do anything, so it’s important that England get off to a good start in the group stages – they have been drawn with Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies and an, as yet, undetermined qualifier.
It’s not the easiest of groups. Defending champions Sri Lanka will be playing in subcontinental conditions, West Indies are ranked No2 in the world, although have had their problems in the build-up, and South Africa have plenty of players with Indian Premier League experience.
There can also be a tendency for guys to be scratching around for form early on in competitions but if England can get off to a good start against the West Indies in Mumbai on Wednesday next week, confidence will soar.
When England were crowned World T20 champions in 2010 they weren’t really expected to be among the frontrunners but they found some momentum and just rode that wave throughout the tournament.
While teams will be wary of England because of the improvement they’ve shown in the last year, if Eoin Morgan’s side play with a no expectation, no fear attitude, I am convinced they will be there or thereabouts.
Anybody can beat anybody in T20 cricket, that’s the nature of the game, but I have a lot of confidence in this group, under head coach Trevor Bayliss, and I believe a repeat of 2010 could be on the cards.