ICC World Cup 2019: SWOT analysis of the English team
The hosts England have announced their final squad for World Cup 2019, ending all the speculation over the selection of Jofra Archer. One of the most promising fast bowlers at the moment, Archer finally made the cut after an impressive debut series for England. His non-selection in the preliminary squad was a much-debated topic, which has finally come to a rest.
Complete Squad: Eoin Morgan (C), Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Liam Dawson, Ben Stokes, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, James Vince
The final squad has three changes from the initial squad: Archer, Liam Dawson and James Vince get in while David Willey, Joe Denly and Alex Hales miss out.
The hosts are touted as the favorites for the tournament, and their form and style of play have only strengthened the claims. As we head into the World Cup, let's take a look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for England:
The England of the 2015 World Cup, which crashed out of the group stage, had a batting line-up which was conservative in its approach. But the shocking result led to a drastic turnaround, with England emerging as the most devastating batting line-up for the 2019 World Cup.
Yes, the flat pitches have helped, but this set of English batsmen has taken batting to another level. Even 350 is no more a par score against this side, which is filled with ferocious hitters.
Amongst the likes of Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan, Joe Root is proving to be the ice in the fire, providing stability and anchoring the innings with everyone else batting around him.
Not just frontline batsmen, but this English side also has all-rounders and bowlers who can win crunch games with the bat. Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes can all bat more than decently. This allows the top order to play with more freedom and authority.
While there is no major weakness on paper, the stats from the past four years suggest the vulnerability of the bowlers. The fact that England have been able to chase scores in excess of 300 so often also indicates that their bowlers have conceded those runs frequently.
While the addition of Archer might make the attack more penetrating, it cannot be denied that England are likely to find it difficult to defend totals. As evident form the West Indies series, the bowlers, especially the pacers, can be made easy targets.
This has to be England's best shot at the trophy which has eluded them all these years. They have the strongest squad on paper, the home advantage and most importantly, good form.
A batting line-up filled with ferocious hitters, a tail capable of winning games with the bat, a skilled wrist spinner, and a versatile pace attack - this England side definitely has what it takes to go the distance.
On the individual level, Archer could be the trump card for the team. The pace attack, which has been guilty of conceding too many runs, might be a bit more penetrating with Archer in the side.
Moreover, Adil Rashid has been hugely successful on English soil against quality batsman. The series against India in 2018 showed his importance in the middle overs. His role will be pivotal in deciding where England finish in the tournament, as his ability to get wickets in the middle can decide the fate of any game.
The boom or bust approach of the batsmen might prove to be the biggest threat for the home side. As evident from the West Indies series this year and the 2017 Champions Trophy, England can walk all over the opposition one day and get out for a below par score the next. That one bad day in a semifinal or final can cost England the trophy.
The home advantage comes with added pressure, where you are expected to win almost very game. Also, with the kind of form England are in, the expectations are sky high - and that pressure might come back and haunt them in crunch games.
Squad Rating - 9/10
Tournament prediction: A semifinal appearance is a must, and even the final seems well within reach. Whether the trend of the home team winning the World Cup since 2011 continues or England let go yet another opportunity, will all boil down to that one big game.
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