The international summer for the England cricket team is already underway but there’s still plenty of top class action to look forward to in 2018. England have some tough challenges ahead of them in both limited overs and test match cricket, and will be hoping to bounce back from an indifferent winter. What better time, then, to take a closer look at the England cricket squad and its prospects for success in the coming months?
Limited Overs Cricket
For many years, limited overs cricket was the poor relation for England when compared with the test match game. Where the team excelled in the longer format, they tended to only deliver disappointment when they donned their coloured clothing. The whole situation has flipped, however, in the last three years.
After a disappointing World Cup in 2015, England cricket made root and branch changes to their limited overs setup and succeeded in building a truly formidable side. Led by skipper Eoin Morgan, England’s limited overs team is now feared by all sides around the world and has risen to the number one ranking in ODI cricket.
A semi-final berth in last summer’s Champions Trophy was England’s strongest performance in a global 50 over competition for a number of years, and the team’s form has only improved since. They despatched Australia fairly comfortably in a five match ODI series over the winter, before edging out an excellent New Zealand side 3-2.
In limited overs cricket, then, the England cricket team will likely be licking their lips at the prospect of hitting the field once again. On their agenda between now and the 2019 World Cup are games against Scotland, Australia and India this summer, and then a series against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka over the winter. If England are to keep up their excellent form in limited overs cricket, they will need their star players from the past couple of years to stay fit and keep firing.
Captain Eoin Morgan’s leadership is key to the side, whilst the consistent run scoring of Joe Root toward the top of the order is also invaluable. It is perhaps the mercurial Adil Rashid, however, whose performances could make all the difference. The leg spinner has recently devoted himself solely to white ball cricket and has that all-important knack of taking wickets when England need them most.
Test Match Cricket
Turning our attention to test match cricket, the performances of the England cricket team of late have been far less impressive. Ranked just fifth in the world, England endured a woeful winter in New Zealand and Australia, where they were soundly beaten in both of their test series. Surely keen to bounce back from those touring disappointments, England faced Pakistan in their first test match outings of this summer.
Things did not go to plan, however, against what was a very inexperienced Pakistan team in the first test at Lords. The tourists played significantly better than their hosts and cantered home to an easy victory, leading many pundits to question whether the current crop of England cricket players deserved their places in the side. Perhaps spurred by the criticism, England bounced back strongly at Headingley in the second and final test, winning by an innings and levelling the series 1-1.
Whilst England’s performance in Leeds was unquestionably one of their best in recent months, it is likely the team will have to improve still further if they are to be successful over the rest of the test match summer. The Pakistan series, after all, was essentially an aperitif, with the summer’s main action coming in the shape of a five match test series against an extremely strong India side.
If England are to overcome the Indians, they will need their star men to step up and their less experienced players to begin to really establish themselves in the team. Test match captain, Joe Root, has shown flashes of his best form of late but really needs to start turning 40s and 50s into centuries. Jimmy Anderson, meanwhile, continues to be England’s most potent bowling weapon and will hope that the India series can help him get even closer to 600 test wickets.
Away from those established performers, meanwhile, England will hope that recently recalled opener Keaton Jennings and newly capped spinner Dom Bess can make those spots their own. If they and other players do not take their chance against India, though, there are some potential new faces looking for their opportunity at international level.
Waiting in the Wings?
Over the course of their recent travails in test match cricket, the England cricket team has repeatedly looked short of a quality opening partner for Alastair Cook, a first choice spinner and a reliable middle-order batsman. If the current members of the England cricket squad don’t manage to satisfactorily fill those gaps, there are a number of players knocking on the door to take their places.
When it comes to opening the batting, both Middlesex left-hander Nick Gubbins and Surrey’s Ollie Pope have been making a strong case for an England call-up. The former has shown good form for a number of seasons, whilst Pope has racked up over 400 runs at an average of 85 in the 2018 County Championship so far.
Other batsmen who look certain to be considered for an England place in the years to come, include the likes of Tom Kohler Cadmore and Sam Hain. When it comes to spinners, however, England’s cupboard looks decidedly barer. After making the trip to Australia and doing little wrong whilst there, though, leggy Mason Crane must be hopeful of getting another chance in the national team before too long.
Whilst success for the England cricket team in the coming months isn’t guaranteed, what is certain is that watching them will definitely not be dull. A Keith Prowse cricket hospitality package can help to get you closer to the action and to ensure that any day at the cricket will be one you and your guests remember forever.