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HomeCricketCricket Opinion: Should England be considered World Cup favourites?

Cricket Opinion: Should England be considered World Cup favourites?

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

England World Cup Cricket Opinion Cricket Blog

When you see and before you answer this question, please don’t assume it’s the Football World Cup. England shouldn’t ever be considered one of the favourites in global football tournaments!

Now, with that little bit of banter out of the way, it’s a good opportunity to discuss where England are at in ODI cricket and whether they should be considered favourites for the 2019 World Cup.

I know what you might be thinking. Here is an Australian who is a little salty about the Aussies being 2-0 down in the current ODI series in England. However, I’m as impartial as they come, and call things as I see them. This is a good opportunity to have a little discussion about England cricket.

So, as always, you are encouraged to put your views across! Here goes…

Where are England current at?

England are ranked no.1 in ODI cricket. Even though there is some debate about that, no one can doubt the excellent transformation of their ODI side, which all stemmed from a change in mindset.
Since their embarrassing (but not unexpected) group stage exit at the 2015 World Cup, England have won 43 of 63 completed ODIs, and are arguably the most exciting limited overs side at their best. Their upturn in the ODI format came from the realisation that playing a 1990s style of ODI cricket doesn’t work.
However, their “boom only or bust” approach could be a cause for concern. In big games in big tournaments, it remains to be seen whether England can translate their ODI transformation into tangible success. I strongly believe when England begin their 2019 World Cup campaign in a year’s time, there will be plenty of crossed fingers and toes with all associated with England that this could be their time. It’s not a given that they’ll go all the way.
Currently, England are leading 2-0 against an Australia side whom they should be a lot more dominant against. In this cricket opinion piece, I will explore a few of England’s biggest strengths and concerns, and then highlight who I think should be favourites for the tournament.

Strengths

Strength #1: Long, powerful batting line up
England’s batting line up is superb on paper. The fact that David Willey was batting at number eight for England in the recent 2nd ODI against Australia highlights just how much firepower they have right throughout their batting line up. Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes are still to come back!
Jos Buttler is in rare form, following a magnificent run of scores for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2018, and then against Pakistan in the Tests. Jonny Bairstow recently hit three straight ODI hundreds, and on his day, Jason Roy can be very damaging at the top. Joe Root will hold things together and give plenty of strike to the bigger hitters, and Eoin Morgan is close to becoming England’s greatest ever ODI run scorer, at a strike rate of over 90.
When the batting is on song, England are very difficult to beat.

Eoin Morgan England Cricket Opinion Cricket Blog
Eoin Morgan has helped lead an England transformation since 2015

Strength #2: Irresistible home form

Since the 2015 World Cup, England have won 25 of 35 completed ODIs at home. With the World Cup in 2019 to be played in conditions they are very familiar with, there is no doubt this is a key strength.

Strength #3: Strong team cohesion

England’s current squad against Australia boasts a relatively modest 1,053 games of experience (65.8 matches per player). However, they have had a pretty consistent ODI side since the 2015 World Cup, which is a big strength, as this assists in putting together cohesive and complete performances. Even better, Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes are still to come back into this side, which will strengthen England further, especially at home.

Concerns

Concern #1: “All boom or bust” approach

One concern I have with England is an inability to play the situation. 
In the 1st ODI of the current series against Australia, England made hard work of a chase that should have been a piece of cake. In Adelaide earlier this year, whilst a dead rubber, England collapsed to 8/5 against the moving ball. 
Playing your shots is crucial in this format, of course, but there are times where accumulation is required. Can England do this effectively when the pressure is being applied? 

Concern #2: Bowling attack can leak plenty of runs

Does this England bowling attack send shivers down the spine of other ODI teams? Don’t think so.
Mark Wood averages over 45. Liam Plunkett’s economy rate is nearly six. Moeen Ali, while a solid ODI performer, doesn’t possess enough quality with the ball to trouble the big teams when England need it. Ben Stokes has his injury concerns.
If England’s batting has an off day, can England’s bowlers win the game for them?

England World Cup Cricket Opinion Cricket Blog
Can England’s bowling deliver on the big stage?

Concern #3: Holding their nerve in the big, big games
Every once in a while, England can put in a performance that sends a few concerns over to their fans about whether they could avoid such performances in big games. 
The Champions Trophy semi-final against Pakistan in 2017, while only one game, showed that England need to prove they can get it right on the big occasions. They have improvement left in them looking at their showings vs. a weakened Australia, as well as a Scotland side that took their bowlers to the cleaners.

England have it in them to win the tournament. Whether they can deliver when it counts remains to be seen.

Verdict

So, should England be favourites?
Home ground advantage suggests possibly, but there are other nations that can certainly enjoy these conditions. India will certainly be a factor, and even though Australia have their worst ODI ranking in 34 years, they’ll have their players back and will be doing everything they can to challenge. South Africa, New Zealand and Pakistan also can’t be discounted.
My opinion? I think England at best should be considered equal favourites with India, who have a lot going for them. They have a seam attack that can deliver at the death, as well as a spin attack that can take wickets as well as contain. This is in addition to their strong batting line up, where players such as Rishabh Pant are emerging as wonderful power hitters, and could be in with a chance of being in the World Cup squad.
The upcoming ODI series should be a beauty between the sides (despite being so short).
In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment and let’s have a discussion. Thanks for reading!

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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