England Cricket Team: From Tenderness to Truculence

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England, a nation which laid the foundation of this beautiful game. A place from where most of the shibboleths related to the game emanated from. The English cricket has always been a bastion, which has a strong penchant for its orthodox styles of playing the game and confers highest form of reverence for the players which play the longest format. Quite naturally the players who pass muster in this form, are considered entitled for the limited format.

But then World Cup 2015 happened and suddenly the entire English cricket was rebuffed by the modern changing era of unorthodox cricket. If you see practically, there was nothing wrong with how England used to approach its cricket, but then it became too vapid for the current style. They had to realise that they fettered their game far too much to adjust in the modern era.

It took copious amount of hard work, proper applications of the basics to build a team that serves the purpose of their limited over edition. They had a captain that was adept to become the face of this makeover and now they needed to find and build players who could attain parity to the same disposition. Ones who were ready to take the aerial root even if it alluded to losing their wicket, ones who could run hard and backed themselves to chase down 70 odd runs from the last 30 balls.

Ones who could bowl darting Yorkers in the death and those beautifully disguised slower ones, even if it didn’t pay off every time. They went on to build a team that that was designed to compete in the coloured clothing, which enjoyed the anarchy of the packed stadiums and loved to play as an underdogs.

And that’s how they approached the Word T20, hiding behind the veneers of the name of the country they carried on their chest, there was really a plethora of questions that needed to be sorted out in order to be worthy champions, and that too in conditions that none of them enjoyed much. But it was an amazing display of confidence that waded them through the choppy waters.

In the very first match, they were blown away by a mesmerizing display of brute power as Gayle and company marched past their total of 182 in just 18 overs. Their campaign looked jeopardized and bleak as they were set to lock horns with the mighty South Africans, a team that really specializes in the shortest formats. And they were again punched by the brutal format as they were hammered for 230 in 20 overs. And even in this format of unpredictability this was a task too much for any team. But this new-look English Team came out and did what wasn’t expected of them. They came out completely indomitable, treating each ball according to its merit and bashed anything and everything they believed could be bashed.

The outstanding confidence finally yielded and they managed to get the better of their opponents, making it one of the best chases recorded in the history of cricket. The next game was tricky. They were set to play against the lowly Afghans and when you play against sides that have nothing to lose and they come hard at you, no matter what the repercussions are, a loss can always batter your confidence. And this time a rank turner played against them. The Englishmen were left grappling at 85-7 in 14.3 overs. Now in moments like these, you want that your team could stretch to play at least a full quota of 20 overs. But these men were different, they didn’t know how to push and hide and play the waiting game. And thus one man (Moeen Ali) decided to do what he does best and started going after the bowlers.

They finally ended up with 141 in their quota of 20 overs and won the match. They carried that momentum forward and got better of the Sri Lankans. This time their bowlers carried that baton by a disciplined display of death bowling and restricted the island nation 10 runs away from their target of 172. The Stage was set. They were into the Semis and not many apart from their sect of supporters anticipated them to end up where they had. But hubris of any form couldn’t be afforded as they were up against the side that was unbeaten in the tournament- New Zealand. They weren’t brought down by the opponent as the English bowlers restricted the kiwis to 153, which wasn’t a mammoth one but still was worthy to be competitive. But the young Jason Roy had plans of his own as he came out and tonked the New Zealand bowlers all over the park winning the game for his team.

jason-roy

Now they haven’t done anything that would catch the eye or could irk your grey cells. Neither have they possessed a name that is too big in the cricketing world nor have they played a style that’s completely unique. They just have one element that paper overs all their loopholes and that’s the confidence they have in themselves as a unit.

They have got a set of openers (Jason roy and Alex Hales) who strike the ball beautifully in the initial part of the innings, without worrying too much about getting out. They have a middle order comprising of Root, Morgan, Stokes and Buttler. They entrust Joe Root as the only one who has the responsibility of playing the majority part of the innings and the rest could come and hammer and perish for the team’s cause.

They have a spinning and a fast bowling all-rounder in Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali who yoke in perfectly into the team dynamics. And then they entrust 3 medium quicks and regular spinners to restrict the opponent.

So, overall they tick the boxes perfectly and make the side multi-dimensional. They don’t lionize individuals and keep the job simple for each player. Their openers are adept enough to take the attacks and provide that crucial initial edge. Everyone in their middle order barring Joe Root who plays according to the situation, are happy enough to come in and hammer and tong the bowler all over the park and their bowlers have quite a number of tricks to prise out the opposition. Overall they look like a cohort of young English blood who feed on self-confidence and look hungry for their second ICC Trophy.

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