TWENTY20 cricket is as much an individual game than it is a team effort. It takes just one dominant performance with either bat or ball to turn a game in an instant and that is why the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies, starting Friday, is so up for grabs.
India will start as many people’s favourites with their passion for the shorter format, while the Australians are consistently strong in whatever competition they play.
But with genuine match-winners in the side, I believe England have as good a chance as any.
For one reason or another, England haven’t exactly reaped the full benefits of Kevin Pietersen over the last 12 months. But with his Achilles injury now cleared and the focus of attention not quite so in his face, the stage could well be set for KP to shine.
I’ve always advocated a different squad of players for each format of the game and in the likes of Pietersen, plus Eoin Morgan and Craig Kiewswetter to name but two, England suddenly have genuine short-game specialists capable of playing that crucial match-winning role.
Morgan, in particular, has worked very hard on his game and is seen as one of the most talented young limited-over batsmen in international cricket. He was fantastic in the 50-over Champions Trophy in South Africa last year and I expect him to shine again in the Caribbean.
England have also been encouraged by the form of their bowling attack ahead of today’s first warm-up game with the Bangladeshis.
James Anderson’s fine performance for Lancashire last week must have given everyone in the England camp a lift, while Stuart Broad’s eight wickets for Nottinghamshire against Somerset shows he has clearly benefited from his month off and is ready to play a starring role.