Mumbai: England must work out a cuter tactical approach if they are to take full advantage of their raw talent and launch a concerted challenge for the World Twenty20 title in India. (T20 World Cup: Eoin Morgan Rates India as favourites to Lift the Title)
A dreadful one-day World Cup campaign last year marked a watershed for the team and performances in both forms of limited overs cricket have blossomed since, inspired by the flashing blades of Jos Buttler, Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan.
England have a number of gifted players but doubts remain about their ability to compete with the top sides due to a lack of tactical acumen.
“Their style of cricket has been so much better than what we saw at the World Cup and I love the positive way they bat,” former England captain Michael Vaughan said. (Ben Stokes Urges Indian Premier League-Style League For England)
“But you do not win a World Cup playing one way. You have to be smart sometimes and use your brain.”
England led South Africa 2-0 in a recent one-day series before losing it 3-2 and were defeated in both Twenty20 games after establishing a winning position in the first match.
They only scored 134 for eight but the bowlers defended the total superbly before conceding 15 runs off the last over to lose the game.
With Hales, Jason Roy, Morgan, Ben Stokes and Buttler in the batting line-up, plus the masterful Joe Root, England should not be short of runs. (ICC World Twenty20: Stump-Hoarding Mahendra Singh Dhoni Eyes More Memorabilia)
“With players like that, you’ll always have a chance to win major tournaments,” said Paul Collingwood, who led England to a surprise victory in the 2010 World Twenty20 in West Indies.
The loss of Steven Finn damaged the fast bowling options and England do lack a strike bowler to take early wickets but Adil Rashid is an improving leg-spinner and Reece Topley, David Willey and Stokes form the basis of a decent seam attack.
They may, however, lack the depth of quality spin bowling usually needed to earn success on the slow turning pitches of the sub-continent.
England are a good fielding team, led by the dynamic Stokes and Chris Jordan, who has superb hands in any position, and Morgan has proved to be an imaginative and positive captain, not afraid to use unorthodox fields and bowling changes.
“The fielding is world class, the batting line-up is powerful right down to nine or 10. There are good things happening in this team,” Collingwood said.
If coach Trevor Bayliss can find a balance between the explosive batting his players seem committed to and a more sensible approach to scoring runs, then England may have a chance of repeating their shock triumph six years ago.