England: Can Morgan emulate Collingwood?

Overall, England does not look as promising as most other sides, but with the Sri Lankan batting legend Mahela Jayawardene and England’s 2010 World T20-winning skipper, Collingwood, coaching the squad, the team can’t be taken lightly.

Eoin Morgan in full flow against South African in a T20 international at Bidvest Wanderers Stadium recently. England's fortunes in the World T20 largely rest on the skipper.   -  Getty Images

When England won the World T20 Championship in 2010, the team had players of the calibre of Paul Collingwood, Kevin Pietersen, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright and Eoin Morgan. The team has undergone considerable change since then and only Morgan remains from that squad. The swashbuckling limited-overs performer will lead England in the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 tournament (March 8-April 3).

England’s top-order comprises some of the most dominant limited-overs batsmen in the country — Alex Hales, Joe Root, Morgan and Jos Buttler. On their day, these men are capable of changing the course of a match single-handedly. However, barring Morgan (in limited-overs cricket) and Root (in Tests and ODIs), none has performed consistently at the highest level.

In the Twenty20 International series against South Africa recently, England’s batting line-up was brutally exposed. In both matches, its batting failed to click as a whole.

However, England’s performance in the T20 format should not be based on these two matches only. Seven of its 15-member squad have been match-winners in different formats of the game and they can be expected to play similar role in the World T20 Championship too.

Considering that the tournament is played in India, spin will play a major role, and England have rightly bolstered their bowling line-up by including two spinners and one spinning all-rounder. Moeen Ali, England’s premier spinner, is yet to play a match in India. Assisting him will most likely be Adil Rashid. In case England decides to opt for another spinner, it will look to the Hampshire lad, Liam Dawson, who is also a handy batsman.

As far as the pace attack is concerned, England will sorely miss Steven Finn, who is injured. His replacement, Liam Plunkett, has not played many international matches recently. Chris Jordan will be England’s main bowler, with Reece Topley, David Willey and Ben Stokes backing him.

Overall, England does not look as promising as most other sides, but with the Sri Lankan batting legend Mahela Jayawardene and England’s 2010 World T20-winning skipper, Collingwood, coaching the squad, the team can’t be taken lightly.

The team:

Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, James Vince and David Willey.

Players with punch:

Eoin Morgan: He is probably the most reliable limited-overs batsman in the side. His recent form, though, has been a cause for concern. While his innovative stroke-play will be one of the main attractions for fans, his resourceful game is what England will need through the tournament. He will have to lead from the front.

Alex Hales: He has already stamped his authority in the shortest format of the game, because of which he is currently ranked World No. 3 in T20 batting. He displayed his full range of shots against eventual champion Sri Lanka in the 2014 World T20, scoring an unbeaten 116 off 64 balls. It will be unwise on the part of Sri Lanka, West Indies and South Africa not to consider him a threat when the teams meet in the Super 10 group stage of the tournament.

Moeen Ali: His transition from a batsman to a full-time spinner has been one of England’s success stories. Entrusted with the task of taking charge of England’s spin department after the sudden retirement of Graeme Swann, Moeen justified the faith reposed on him by the selectors. He also benefited from the tips he received from Kumar Dharmasena on bowling quick off-spin. The slow and spin-friendly pitches in India will suit Moeen.