How far has the modern English cricket gone?

When it comes to World Cups or Champions Trophy records, England surprisingly is not good enough in it. Cricket was made by English men centuries ago. It was titled as the “gentlemen” game ever since. But where are the gentlemen in the terms of complete domination, not just in tests but also in the limited over cricket. Where are the ICC titles? Now many of you readers might stop for a second and say “England did win an ICC title, they won T20 World Cup 2010”. Well winning a T20 World Cup is a big thing and not a big thing at the same time. West Indies won it in 2016 despite of poor form since 2015. T20 cricket makes the game even more unpredictable and it was a matter of few minutes until West Indies snatched the World T20 title for the England. Yes, Snatched. So T20 cricket really is an unpredictable game at the end of the day, no team can feel their dominance till the end of the game. Any team can win, doesn’t matter if it’s Ireland or Afghanistan, it’s just the nature of T20. Even if you compare the status of T20 World Cup with One-day International Cups, T20 is really far from the merits of a World Cup or Champions Trophy.

Cricket was played in the format of test cricket for over 200 years. England, Australia and South Africa were the first three full members. They played each other for quite long which they call world dominance, by playing 2 teams again and again. The problem with English modern cricket is that they did not have a proper base for limited-overs cricket back in 1980s-1990s. They always gave test cricket more importance and labelled it as their “dignity” without even thinking about the future of their cricket. Focusing on the test did not let them be on top either. They had a rough drought of 16 years without winning an Ashes series. Mentality also matters. They don’t stay much positive for in the ground and at one point they end up losing without giving any effort and start complaining about winds and pitches in post match interviews. Last time England played a World Cup final, it was 1992 when they failed to chase 246 against Imran Khan’s Pakistan. English players always gave up too early in knockout games or the finals. And it’s like God decided to have mercy on them and sent Kevin Pietersen to play for England. Pietersen was labelled as the best modern England cricketer and really was an exciting prospect from day one. Pieterson really changed the pattern of limited-overs English cricket. Without him, it would been the same old English team which would struggle at times. Aggressive batting, Unorthodox shots, you name it and Kevin Pietersen had it. And then slowly slowly the English men started to adapt the modern day cricket. Paul Collingwood and Andrew Flintoff also became an essential part of the English team and both are the finest all-rounders England ever had in their limited over cricket.

Let’s bounce to 2011, when England yet again embarrassed when they lost against India and were defeated by Bangladesh and got knocked out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. There’s no point of thinking if their was any chance for England. Completely old school, unbalanced team with defensive mentality. Being defensive won’t get you a World Cup. Many of the readers might not agree, But giving James Anderson relentless chances did put out better young bowlers out of the picture. Going with one option for years will never give you a better option in future. Okay, yes he is the leading wicket taker in the history of England in Tests and One-day Internationals but he just wasn’t a fit product for One-day cricket. Putting that aside, Ravi Bopara was the new headline back then, excellent all-rounder with consistent contribution in the game. He was a fine all-rounder until he lost his consistency which couldn’t let him stay in the squad for long. But again, Ravi Bopara’s presence in the squad for 3-4 years was a positive sign for modern English cricket. They needed an “all-rounder” type team.

 In 2014, Moeen Ali became the new headline. He usually started his career as an opener and right arm off-spinner. Ali became an important member of the English team. He has been consistent and fit enough for all three formats for the English team and has scored many handy runs and bagged some important wickets. Moeen Ali is a fine all-rounder for the modern day English cricket and will be more helpful in the upcoming years.

In 2015, England was set to play Cricket Worls Cup in Australia. Eoin Morgan was leading the English Squad. England had a decent squad but that didn’t let them escape from being knocked out from the group stage. This time, agains Bangladesh embarrassed England.

But this early exit for the World Cup also had a positive side for England. It was a much better side than the negative side. The English Captain, Eoin Morgan, who once used to play for the Ireland and is actually Irish, was entirely shocked. But his passion towards the game of cricket really something to idolize. Morgan didn’t put his head down after that and “Transformed” the English cricket team to something completely different. Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes were more like a dou. Yes, two perfect all-rounders, England were quite lucky to have them. While Woakes is not much consistent with the bat but Stokes has probably become the best fast bowling all-rounder in the world with in two years. They can perform in any format. Mark Wood then made his comeback after suffering a back injury. Mark Wood in a general view, is the best bowler in England currently. He has a unique action which enables him to bowl with different variations. He’s one of his own kind and he has been quite handy for England.

Plunkett has been impressive as well. He has good line and length which makes him a decent bowler and over the last 2 years he has been very decent as a bowler. He can also bat, so England has 4 pacers, out of which 3 are all-rounders and that is what increases England’s batting depth.

Adil Rashid, all-rounder, a leggie. Probably one of the best leg spinner in limited overs cricket nowadays. Has a decent body language as well.

Enough talk about the current bowlers! The main unit of the English team now is obviously their top order. Alex Hales had a very sloppy form in the start of his career. Ex-selector considered him useless. And the truth is, he was useless back then due to lack of consistency. Well no one can know what Alex Hales takes now, but he really is a better player now, with his consistency pod growing up day by day. He has a unique style of batting. Very exploitable. With in few years, if he carries this form on, he’ll be considered as one of the best batsmen in English modern cricket.

Every team has a batting dou. Pakistan had Misbah and Younis. In IPL, Royal Challenger Bangalore has AB De Villiers and Virat Kohli. This “dou” has a strong chemistry between them which helps them stay for long at the crease and score a big partnership. In England, in limited overs cricket, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan are that “duo”. Both have filled the gap perfectly and it becomes harder and harder for the opposition to remove both of them. Joe Root without any doubt is one of the best batsman in the cricket, in any format. He can play defensively, he can play aggressively. He has perfect strokes to play. Root has been important since day one for England. His consistency never goes down even for a bit and is one of the most consistent batsman in the world. While right on the other side, we have the Irish English Captain, Eoin Morgan. The man behind revolutionary transformation of limited overs cricket for England. His padsuon towards the game of cricket makes him look like the perfect decision to let him lead the T20 and ODI side. One of the best left-hander in the world who change the phase of the game at any moment.

So the question that keeps on rising again and again is that, Has English limited overs cricket changed? Have they adapted the pattern yet? The answer is yes. They’re now the most consistent team in the world since the World Cup 2015. They’ve put in a hard fight since then and have made it to an ICC final and a semi final of an ICC tournament since then and who knows they might lift the next World Cup. England are more like a team with perfect combination of players. They have a deep batting and bowling depth.

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