England will look to become champions of the world for the first time in their history when the Cricket World Cup kicks off on May 30 in London.
Currently sitting first in the ODI world rankings, England’s one-day form has been outstanding, winning five of their seven matches this year.
The hosts will go into the tournament as one of the favourites, and with the competition being played on home soil, there has never been a better time for the Eoin Morgan’s men to do their nation proud.
England can make changes to the squad up until May 22 but this is how they currently stand: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wicket-keeper), Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.
Alex Hales was dumped from the squad last month and is yet to be replaced.
The squad consists of six batsmen including Buttler, four bowlers and four genuine all-rounders.
Everywhere you look, this squad has depth and superstars for every facet of the game.
They have the most lethal opening partnership in Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy.
We know the class that Eoin Morgan and Joe Root possess in the middle order, along with the ever-impressive Jos Buttler.
Quality all-rounders are present in Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali along with his spin twin Adil Rashid.
They have raw pace in the unconventional Mark Wood and reliability on the shoulders of Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes.
Despite England’s rich cricketing history, they have never won a World Cup.
They have been runners-up three times (1979, 1987 and 1992) and semi-finalists twice (1975 and 1983).
In the last World Cup, their performances on the grand stage fell short of the expectations most people heaped upon them.
In the 2015 World Cup, they were sensationally knocked out in the group stage after losing four of their six group matches.
They were beaten by Australia and New Zealand before being surprisingly demolished by Sri Lanka by nine wickets then being toppled by minnows Bangladesh.
The first match of the World Cup against South Africa will go a long way to setting them up for the rest of the tournament. It would be very handy to get off to a decent start against a good side.
England’s strength is their batting – power hitting in particular.
Bairstow and Roy at the top of the order have combined for two hundred-run partnerships in the second and third ODIs against Pakistan this month.
Eoin Morgan and Joe Root provide a necessary balance and foundation between the fire and enterprise of the openers.
Buttler and Stokes supply more fire-power in the middle, ably assisted by the in-form Moeen Ali.
Joe Denly may get a sniff throughout the tournament, and he will also help prop up the England batting order.
England also have Tom Curran and David Willey as bowling all-rounders. Curran and Willey can certainly become a nuisance for a bowling attack and can strike them over the ropes if need be.
England’s batting order looks pretty intimidating on paper, and Trevor Bayliss will hope they can perform when it matters.
One possible weakness for England may be in the spin department. Most of the other nations have two genuine spinners in their squad, possibly with another batsman/spinner.
England have Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali. Rashid is a genuine leg-spinner and is a threat to any batting line-up. Ali is certainly a handy batsman and off-spinner, but will he be lethal enough to take wickets?
He serves a purpose in the middle overs to try and buy wickets and limit the runs but is he potent enough to threaten the batsman regularly throughout his spell?
Jos Buttler. Buttler’s ability to take the game away from a side is unbelievable.
His century off 50 balls against Pakistan was a perfect example of that. His keeping is pretty safe and he will play a pivotal part in England’s campaign.
England are serious contenders this year. A relatively settled squad with quality everywhere you look.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see them score some blow-out wins along the way and knock off some big teams.
I’m backing them to make the final.