Double world champions, anyone? England embarks on its quest to win the Twenty20 world title to add to the 50-over World Cup while competing against South Africa in the first of 12 warm-up games
- England has 12 warm-up matches for the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia
- The team starts against South Africa and starts an exciting search
- Chris Silverwood will demand the team’s attack in all areas of their game
- Pacemen Jofra Archer and Mark Wood will be the key on fast fields Down Under
England’s build-up to the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in October effectively begins on Wednesday in East London, South Africa.
The competition against the hosts is the first of 12 warm-up T20s for the serious things Down Under.
Here, Sportsmail looks at six talk points around the men of Eoin Morgan as they begin their quest to become the first double world champion.
ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK
There may be a new coach at the helm in Chris Silverwood, but the mantra will be the same as under Trevor Bayliss on the way to 50-over glory last summer.
The core of the team is established and, unlike in the recent one-day series here, no experiments will take place from now on, with England intending to produce their strongest possible XI at all times. As Silverwood himself said: “We remain aggressive. That is how we are going to break records and this team can break records. We have seen it time and time again.
‘They play exciting cricket, I like to watch it, they like to play it and it has been a successful formula for them. It would be foolish to change it. ‘Expect big hits with the bat and go hunting for wickets with the ball.
Chris Silverwood will understand that England must adhere to its attack formula
PUZZLE WITH ORDER
There is such an abundance of talent at the top of the order that the two men who scored Twenty20 tons for England have no guaranteed place in the first choice XI. Alex Hales remains on the outside and Dawid Malan, who hit an undefeated 103 in England’s most recent T20 series in New Zealand, faces the prospect of being locked out at Buffalo Park on Wednesday.
Malan’s problem is that despite an extraordinary record of six 50-plus scores in nine appearances – and a success rate of 156.31 – world cup openers Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, plus Jos Buttler, are competing for a place in the top three.
While Bairstow and Roy are devilish-caring from the first ball, Malan tends to start slowly and explode to life later in his innings. And England loved the idea of giving Buttler, their fiercest striker, as many deliveries as possible by sending him early. Four out of three is not possible …
England liked the idea of giving Jos Buttler a run at the top of the order to cut loose
Eoin Morgan has committed to lead the team in the next two T20 World Cups – whoever wins this year must defend his crown 12 months later. He will be 35 for the second of those who will be on the subcontinent.
But age has not destroyed its powers with the bat. On the contrary even if the last few years have something to offer. It has been a period in which he destroyed at death, as witnessed by a score of 13.5 runs per over.
Eoin Morgan (center) would love to lead England to another global trophy in October
THE BACK OF THE BUS
As Morgan’s statistics emphasize, Twenty20 is more of a power game than ever and one area that England may want to develop further is their finish. Tom Banton’s positioning in six in the one-day international series against South Africa did not seem clear.
But it was perhaps with an eye eight months later when the rope was released from a standing start, something that the 21-year-old showed himself as an opener could be the difference in a tight game. Don’t rule out seeing him at six o’clock this fall.
Tom Banton is one of the more powerful players, a trait that England needs in Australia
PACE IS THE ACE
The search for a second global T20 title in Australian circumstances offers the prospect that Jofra Archer and Mark Wood will be combined together in the same bowling attack. Australia is home to the fastest places in the world and maintaining the condition of the duo in the meantime will be the key to English prospects. So, with the game’s shortest format now the priority, Archer expects rest periods to be prescribed when he returns from an injury.
Dale Steyn, a tempo bowler with a lot of experience with juggling in three sizes, said Tuesday: ‘You have to keep him in the park and they have to work out how to do that.
‘Everyone is different and they have to come up with something for him. He is new and new to the system and a strange injury is needed to work it out, but they will get there. “
The pace of Jofra Archer will be crucial in the shortest format, but it must be managed well
A different format, certainly, but the July victory in Lord’s should not be underestimated. Morgan’s team now knows what it takes to win.