5 reasons why England have been the most exciting LOI team since 2015 WC
It will be no understatement and no exaggerated claims that for long England's approach to white ball cricket was behind so much of the rest of the world, that it had almost become a laughing stock. A series loss to India at home, followed by an away loss to Sri Lanka, and then came the sacking of Alastair Cook as the captain just before the 2015 Cricket World Cup. However, even as Eoin Morgan assumed charge, the nadir was reached when the three lions were knocked out of the World Cup by an inspired Bangladesh.
This prompted wild reactions back home and justifiably so. Andrew Strauss the new director of cricket stepped in and decided to shake up the entire system. He clearly stated that England will now be ready to match stroke for stroke and in every format. And ever since the 2015 World Cup, the limited overs side has only gone from strength to strength.
An ODI series win against New Zealand, followed by a close 3-2 loss to South Africa and then reaching the finals of the 2016 World T20. The resurgence was for all to see.
And they have continued in the vein, as they have absolutely annihilated Sri Lanka in the ongoing series, by winning the 5-match ODI series 3-0 and then the one off T20 with 8 wickets.
There has been a visible change, and we look at 5 reasons behind these dominating performances.
#1 Roping in specialists
Not long before, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell opened the batting for England in One-dayer, and were followed by Jonathan Trott. Now, Cook, Bell and Trott are fine batsmen, but then even their most ardent fans would concede that they are not quite suited to the fast-paced action of 50-overs. Hence, their approach at the top of the order was stoic and it almost sucked all momentum out of the innings just as it started.
This was recognised by Strauss, and he decided to bring in players from the County circuit who were cut for white ball cricket. Hence, the arrival of Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Sam Billings and the rest. And the results are for all to see. Their approach at the top of the order puts the opposition under pressure right at the outset and this sets a precedent which can be then built on.
Even in the bowling department, they have moved beyond James Anderson and Stuart Broad and have given the opportunity to bowlers who are specialist limited-overs prospect. People who can bowl yorkers at the death, and bowlers who can vary the pace with tenacity. Bowlers like Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Tymal Mills etc., re bowlers who can serve this purpose with aplomb.