Has England’s Time Come?
For so long this England team has been there or thereabouts, but often falling at the last hurdle. Has England’s time come?
There is no shortage of talent across all disciplines – perhaps depth has been an issue in the past, but no more. England are becoming a little like Australia when it comes to the selection table: the quality can be measured by those missing out.
What’s exciting about England’s squad is that they’ve not only got a stable core, led by one of the best captains in the game in Heather Knight, but there’s been a steady influx of new blood creeping into the setup. Players like Alice Capsey, Lauren Bell and Charlie Dean have fitted into the team and look right at home.
The Sciver-Brunts – will this be their last hurrah for England? The skipper might be thinking along the same lines. Does this give added incentive for a team already wearing a favourites tag?
England are in Pool B with West Indies, Pakistan, India and Ireland. With India they are favourites to take one of the two top spots. But which one? Nobody wants to meet Australia in the semi finals.
England should have no trouble defeating West Indies in their first game – however they will want to be sharply focused, for this same team handed them a defeat in their opener of the ODI World Cup a year ago. On paper they should do it easily, given that they handed West Indies a 5-0 hiding in December.
England have played Ireland only once, surprisingly, for a victory and they’ll likely win their second game. India presents a bigger challenge for England’s third game and it is this clash that will likely decide the final positions, for it is doubtless England will lose their final game against Pakistan.
Heather Knight does enjoy the big occasion and the skipper and her leadership will be a key factor for England. Sometimes the value of a good general on the field can be overlooked, but it can be like having an extra player.
One important cog in the wheel is wicket keeper Amy Jones. Her talent with the gloves is right up there with the best – if she isn’t indeed the best – but her ability with the bat can really add something to the innings. Lack of consistency over the last 18 months has belied her talent with the bat. If she comes good then England are in an excellent position to triumph.
The injection of youth is exciting – one thing they have is no fear… none befitting that tag more so than teen sensation, Alice Capsey. She brings a great energy to the team and it’s contagious.
Will Charlie Dean play every game? One hopes so. She has a real spunk, a real fighting character. It’s what you need on a campaign such as this.
Can England lift that 5% they need to go all they way? They have been so close before but “nearly” isn’t good enough. They have an excellent blend of your and experience. Can they use that great combination to further their ambitions? Has England’s time come?