Ah, the Mankad. Has any single sporting action ever caused so much furious debate?
If it wasn’t for Rubel Hossain’s spell in Adelaide 2015, England would’ve scraped their way to the quarter-finals and papered over the cracks in their poor one-day system.
Since their unsurprising group exit in 2015 (at least in my opinion), England have rejuvenated their one-day cricket, smashing their way to 350+ totals and never have they ever had a better chance to get the trophy that has eluded them for so long. Here’s the squad that I would choose if I were an England selector.
Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan
Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Joe Denly
Tom Curran, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood, Olly Stone
Jonny Bairstow has been in outstanding form since he got recalled in the England ODI squad in 2017. He’s been scoring hundreds at a very fast pace and has been instrumental to England’s white ball success.
The other opening slot is a battle between Jason Roy and Alex Hales. Both have been in good form in franchise and ODI cricket and England are blessed to have a solid backup opener regardless of who plays alongside Bairstow.
Root and Morgan are the players who nudge around the middle overs, which allows the rest of their batting line-up to play their natural game.
Stokes has had a dip in form in the IPL and England need him to regain form ASAP. He needs one good game and he’ll be back to himself come World Cup time.
Moeen Ali probably has nightmares from the last World Cup and will want to redeem himself. He will be a dangerous bat at 7 and his off-spin in white ball cricket is way more than handy.
Chris Woakes will be looking for some swing with the new ball and a few lusty blows at 8 with the bat. His fitness is a bit iffy but he’ll be used sparingly before the semis (unless England channel their true Englishness and choke in the group stages).
Joe Denly has suddenly burst into the English scene. He hasn’t played an ODI since 2009, but his form for Kent and his franchise sides have been good enough as a backup all-rounder.
Jos Buttler is good enough to play as a batsman as shown in his 77 ball 150. His keeping is just as good and promoting him up to 5 has done him and England good. Should he be rested or injured, Bairstow will take the gloves.
Liam Plunkett is someone who excites me. He can bowl with the new ball, middle overs and the death. He always keeps his pace consistently between 137-142 kph and will be crucial for England defending totals.
Mark Wood excites me even more. I just hope his knees don’t get as dodgy as Jack Wilshere to see a Pom bowl 145+.
Same could be said for Olly Stone. However, if his form or fitness is in decline, I would pick Sam Curran over Stone.
Tom Curran will be a handy backup seamer and his slower balls and yorkers keep him in the England squad. Not to mention he can bat pretty well.
Adil Rashid is a world-class leg spinner but he needs to have a little bit more control to stop the long hops. Should there be pitches not suited to turn, will be likely that Eoin Morgan’s men will choose just Moeen as the lone spinner during the World Cup.