Neil Fairbrother: What a turnaround for England
Article posted: 01 April 2016
I give England every chance of becoming world champions.
Twelve months ago when England exited the 50-over World Cup in Australia in such a meek and mild manner I don’t think anyone would have predicted that we would be the T20 World Cup final in Kolkata.
What a turnaround.
Over the last two weeks, England have played some simply sensational T20 cricket, still mixed with a few overs of mediocrity here and there, but I’m sure we can all excuse that when the performances have propelled us into Sunday’s final against West Indies.
England have suddenly found a batting unit, not just with great skill, but also immense power and it is no coincidence that the two teams with the most sixes in the competition will contest the final.
Clearly in one-day terms it doesn’t get any bigger than playing in a World Cup final and, for this young team, it will be an amazing experience to walk out in front of 90,000 at Eden Gardens on Sunday.
England maybe have had a little luck on their side as the two venues they have played at the wickets have been excellent cricket wickets. We now have a final in Kolkata where the wickets have looked tired.
There has been no pace or bounce, seamers’ slower balls have really stuck in the wicket and there has been prodigious spin in the games we have seen through the competition there.
Hopefully Sunday’s wicket might be a fresh one but even then it won’t have the pace that our lads have been used to in Delhi and Mumbai. It may well be the team that adapts to the conditions will come out on top. It doesn’t look like it will be a run-fest where players can just line the ball up and hit it to all parts.
New battle plans will be laid and strategies will be being talked about. I believe our top six have more nous and batting skills than the West Indies’ top six and if it does come down to adapting to the conditions I’m sure our middle order will be able to cope.
Both teams have two very good spinners who I’m sure will be right at the fore. The question is, will England bring in a third spinner or maybe Joe Root will be relied upon to bowl a couple of extra overs of spin if required?
The performance and the skill levels of this young English team in the semi-final victory over New Zealand left me thrilled.
Let’s hope they can produce that same full team performance on Sunday and if they do I give them every chance of becoming world champions.