This is England’s time. There might never be a better chance for the country’s one-day side to get the monkey off their back and finally win an international 50-over tournament.
Not only is the Champions Trophy being held in home conditions but looking at the England squad everything appears to be in place. I can really see England, who play Bangladesh in the tournament’s opening fixture at the Kia Oval on Thursday, going all the way.
The best route to victory for Eoin Morgan’s side, who are rated as favourites for the competition, is weight of runs. If England bat first then they are capable of amassing totals of 350-400 and blowing teams away with their batting line-up.
Conversely, if they field and their opponents fail to pass 300 then I can see them winning games pretty easily. There are some explosive batsmen in that team and the likes of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Alex Hales, for instance, can take games away from opponents in a flash.
For me, England’s collapse to 20-6 in the final one-day clash against South Africa at Lord’s on Monday was a blip. It’s not the first time that something like that has happened in a dead rubber when concentration levels and motivation are not at their optimum.
No other nation can better the 21 occasions on which England have surpassed 300 since the 2015 World Cup, a feat they only achieved seven times in the four years prior to that competition. That shows England’s progression but also the quality of their batting.
The only question mark at the minute is Jason Roy at the top of the order after a stint of just 33 runs in five one-day innings, although I’m backing my former Surrey team-mate to come through that sticky spell.
Roy is a class player who is just having a bad time, which happens to everyone at one stage or another. He does, however, have the in-form Jonny Bairstow, who top scored against South Africa at Lord’s, breathing down his neck.
Given the Yorkshireman’s imperious form, there is much debate about how to get Bairstow into that side and the only way at the moment would be to drop Roy.
I am pleased, therefore, that Morgan has come out and said that England are going to be consistent in their selection. Previous regimes have changed things at the last minute before a tournament and it hasn't worked.
Hopefully Roy is just one score away from re-finding his blistering touch, which saw him score five half-centuries in eight innings between September 2016 and March of this year.
As well as the batting, the bowling looks good and the spinners are in form. I’ve always had slight doubts over England at the end of a match and their death bowling but it’s certainly an area in which they are showing improvement.
It was good to see Durham’s injury-plagued seamer Mark Wood bowl so economically in the final over of the second one-day against the Proteas at Southampton on Saturday. He will be vital if England are to go the distance.
All in all, England are an outfit to be reckoned with and over the coming weeks can prove, on the world stage, what an exceptionally talented side they are.