JOS BUTTLER reaching for a slightly wayward throw as New Zealand's Martin Guptill is reaching for the crease became one of the great moments of cricket.
Even if you didn't know about the tortured history of England limited overs cricket, this was a moment where England won the World Cup by a super over, random overthrows incorrectly given, and a boundary countback rule everyone hated the minute they realised it existed.
🏏 Legends of teams past
Eoin Morgan was at the centre of the England white-ball revolution after the debacle in 2015. Along with Andrew Strauss and Trevor Bayliss, his team adopted a more aggressive brand of cricket. It was not just about slogging every ball out of the park. They had clearly defined roles that allowed each player to use their natural game and perform at optimal levels in each match phase. No one did that better than Jason Roy, who was simply told to smack the ball at the top and not worry too much. They even invented new archetypes like the Liam Plunkett role, whose job was more or less to slam the ball into the middle of the pitch until someone mishits it.
But the thing that took the fastest batting team in ODI history and made it special was the inclusion of Jofra Archer. The last ball of New Zealand's innings in that final was Mitch Santner ducking a bouncer and forgetting to run. The moral of that story is that Jofra Archer messes with your head.
🏏 Best cricket betting sites 🏏
🏏 Ready to bet? Find the top cricket betting sites in the UK:
🏏 England's CWC 2023 lineup
Not a single player mentioned there will be playing. Morgan will likely be commentating, Plunkett is coaching kids in America, and Roy is contemplating his retirement. Only Archer is a chance.
His never-ending elbow injury has him fit enough to bowl in the nets. So from elevating their ceiling in 2019, in 2023 he might be the world's most expensive net bowler. England selector Luke Wright said, "The best thing for Jofra is to travel with the team and keep working with his rehab and being around the physios and the team. We are doing all we can to get him ready to be as good as he can be."
Of course, they very nearly didn't have Ben Stokes. His plan was always to retire and then come back. Until his knee got even worse. Then, at the last minute, he changed his mind. But he is back only as a batter, so he is two-thirds of the old Stokes.
This is England's most likely starting XI:
- Buttler (c/wk)
On the bench, they'll have Brook, Atkinson + two of Willey/Topley/Curran.
🏏 England team player by player
So who is new? Yorkshire sensation Harry Brook has forced his way into the squad despite an ordinary series against the team England beat in the last World Cup final. And really no experience in the format at all. Dawid Malan's consistent performances in this World Cup cycle – 1022 runs in 20 innings, averaging 63.87 & striking at 96.59 – means he might be opening the batting. After England have toyed with him as Test and T20 player, this appears to be his best fit. Sam Curran comes in after getting a surprise player of the tournament award in the T20 World Cup.
Joe Root's form has been a bit of a concern – 390 runs in 16 innings at 27.85/77.68 since CWC '19. However, it is probably just down to a smaller sample size. He didn't retire like Stokes, but he certainly had a few sabbaticals. He remains their most crucial batter in the middle overs (11-40) of the innings because of his ability to rotate strike and maintain the scoring rate against spinners in that phase. He will be supported by Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler in the guts of the innings.
Their death-overs hitting is also pretty good, with Buttler and Livingstone facing the bulk of the deliveries in that phase. And we all know what a well-set Ben Stokes can do in the back end of the innings. They also bat deep, so none of their top order will be too worried about getting dismissed. If Sam Curran starts, they basically have proper batting till number eight. Perhaps nine with Chris Woakes.
England's new ball bowling has been a crucial part of their success. Chris Woakes will likely bowl in this phase along with a left-arm seamer. It would be interesting to see if they prefer Sam Curran because of his batting to Willey and Topley. However, across all phases, Willey has taken 37 wickets at 22.35/5.20 econ, while Topley has taken 22 wickets at 27.68/5.15 econ in this World Cup cycle. Curran has 26 wickets at 36.15/5.77 econ in the same time period. However, Sam Curran has been a better option than Topley with the new ball.
They have to take more wickets in the middle overs – a role performed by the duo of Rashid-Plunkett in the previous World Cup. Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone have experience of playing in Indian conditions, so they would have to chip in with the ball here. Mark Wood is expected to be used as a middle-overs enforcer. If Reece Topley starts, he can also be useful.
🏏 England cricket team performance predictions
Their death bowling is a bit of a problem without Jofra Archer. Sam Curran has been on and off – he was brilliant in the T20 World Cup but had a poor IPL. Mark Wood will probably bowl the bulk of the overs at the death, too, along with Woakes and one of the left-arm seamers.
Their batting is still different gravy. They can out-runs any team in the world, in terms of speed, and depth. If Butter and Livingstone bat together, they might have more power than the last World Cup.
But their bowling is not as strong. Adil Rashid has struggled since the last edition, no one has nailed Plunkett's role and there is no backup for Archer.
Nothing should stop them from the semi-finals outside of catastrophic injury luck (which they had in the UAE T20 World Cup – and they still made the semis). England have done well in knockout games of major tournaments, and they are definitely title contenders. They are not as good as they were five years ago, plus Australia, India and South Africa have improved.
But the good news for England fans is they didn't play their best last tournament, and they still won. And other teams may have got better, but have they gone past?
What odds are England to win the Cricket World Cup?
England are generally 3/1 (Sky Bet, bet365) to win the World Cup in India this year, behind only the hosts.
India are best-priced at 9/4 (Sky Bet, BetVictor).
Sky Bet are currently offering a boosted 7/2 on England, plus 10/3 on England, India, Australia & Pakistan all to reach the semi-finals.
Australia and Pakistan are third and fourth favourites at 9/2 and 7/1 respectively.
Cricket World Cup odds (Sky Bet)
- India 9/4
- England 3/1 (boosted to 7/2)
- Australia 9/2
- Pakistan 6/1
- New Zealand 9/1
- South Africa 9/1
- Sri Lanka 25/1
Bet on the Cricket World Cup with Sky Bet
About the author
With over 10 years of experience in the sports media industry, I am a passionate and versatile media entrepreneur and sports analyst. I also founded Good Areas, a network of podcasts, YouTube channels, and emailers that focus on how fans like sport, and that tell stories beyond the mainstream.
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chase their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry, or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
For help with a gambling problem, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or go to www.gamstop.co.uk to be excluded from all UK-regulated gambling websites.
Most read in Betting
Best Online Casinos UK – Casino sites top-rated by experts September 2023
Chelsea vs Aston Villa betting preview: odds and predictions
Check out all the best no deposit bonus sites and exactly how they work
All the best UK casino welcome bonuses for new players revealed
Source: Read Full Article