Predicting England Cricket Team for World T20 Opener in Bangladesh
England take on Brendon McCullum’s New Zealand in their 2014 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 (T20) Group 1 opener at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong a week on Saturday.
And this is the lineup we believe that captain Stuart Broad, fitness permitting that is, and head coach Ashley Giles will go with for this crucial first encounter in Bangladesh.
The tall Nottinghamshire opener is currently ranked the No. 2 batsman in the world according to the ICC in this form of the game.
If England are to stand any chance whatsoever of finishing in the top two of their group, then the big-hitting right-hander needs to justify that lofty status in Bangladesh.
The opening batsman has appeared in good touch on England’s recent limited-overs tour of West Indies, with the 34-year-old taking advantage of Hales’ hamstring injury to force his way into the one-day international side.
However, the left-hander, who was actually part of the England team that won the tournament four years ago, is sure to have his glaring weakness against spin bowling tested right from the very off in these subcontinental conditions.
The 31-year-old middle-order batsman was only selected in the squad for the competition following the late withdrawal of Joe Root with a broken thumb.
But while the in-form Yorkshire tyro’s presence in Bangladesh will be sorely missed, England will surely benefit from having such an experienced and ice-cool individual in their lineup this month.
England’s most dynamic and inventive T20 batsman, now that Kevin Pietersen is no longer available for selection, is also their main match winner too. Therefore a lot rests on the adopted Irishman’s shoulders if the team are to cause a major surprise by making it through to the semi-finals next month.
As a result, Giles and Broad will just be praying that the ginger-haired left-hander’s recent knee injury does not flare up again.
The stumper’s extraordinary batting either comes off in spectacular fashion, or it fails miserably, that is just the price one has to pay with this eye-catching 23-year-old.
However, from a purely wicket-keeping viewpoint, the Lancashire star’s glove work has come on leaps and bounds since he started working with England coach Bruce French.
Ravi Bopara is one of the few England players who actually goes into this Word T20 carrying a bit of form.
While there is also no doubting that the Essex all-rounder will enjoy playing on these slow, low surfaces in Bangladesh.
The 29-year-old should now get the nod for the second all-rounder's berth following the hand injury sustained by Ben Stokes after the final T20 international with West Indies in Barbados on Friday.
The burly Yorkshireman will be asked to use all his nous with the ball in this competition, including the usual mix of slower balls, off-cutters and yorkers.
He will be charged with attempting to try and slow down opposition scoring rates, while his muscular late-order batting should not be underestimated either.
As long as the skipper’s knee injury responds successfully to treatment over the course of the next week, the Nottinghamshire paceman will lead his country for the second consecutive World T20, although he will hope for a better outcome than in Sri Lanka two years ago.
England’s Mr. Reliable is sure to have a huge role to play with ball in hand in Bangladesh, with the Kent off-spinner likely to be handed the responsibility of leading England's spinners throughout the tournament.
Expect England to replace the pace of Jade Dernbach with the Lancastrian slow left-armer in order to take advantage of the spin-friendly conditions in Bangladesh in what will be a huge test for the inexperienced 28-year-old.