They say in cricket, there are no permanent friends and there are no permanent enemies. From what England has shown us in the past 1 and a half year, it seems that their enmity with ODI cricket is over, at least for the time being.
The England Cricket team probably had their worst slump in recent memory when they failed to qualify for the quarter finals of the 2015 World Cup. Their skipper was sacked and Eoin Morgan, who himself was going through a rough patch, was handed the reigns of the team. They even brought in an Australian to coach their side, which in itself was a huge change for English Cricket. In entirety, it was a gamble, but that’s the ODI cricket, sometimes gambles pay off and it did this time, in grand fashion. In the series versus New Zealand that followed, the team won 3-2, but more than the result, it was the manner in which this England side was playing that got people talking. For the first time in decades, England was playing an entertaining brand of cricket, not their usual sluggish, snobbish tire-thy-opponent type of cricket. The English audience, most of which had given up on their team after the World Cup debacle was being won back. Stadiums started to flood up again with spectators.
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Now, with Morgan at the helm, it brought an interesting era in English cricket. The traditionally and technically scrutinizing English pundits were looking at a squad that was filled with players who were anything but conventional. Jos Butler is an English retelling of AB deVilliers, Alex Hales as unsure as he can be about his footwork is as sure when he wants to go over the top of the field, and Jason Roy is another 360 degree player just arriving on the horizon. And, with an ever dependable Joe Root in their ranks, it makes for a solid batting line-up. The bowling is bolstered by the addition of players such as Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, who are also capable batsmen, and of the aggressive nature.
In the year that followed England completed victories over New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies and also made it to the final of the World T20 in England where they were a Carlos Brathwaite effort short of the trophy. The run up to the final included chasing down a total of 226 against New Zealand, an effort which in itself defined the age of New England.
With tours to India and Bangladesh coming up this year, the real challenge for this team will be to adapt to the conditions in the subcontinent that will be well and truly alien to them. Against the guile of Ashwin and the accuracy of Jadeja, it will be an altogether different ball game for the Englishmen. A good statement of purpose here will go a long way in establishing their case as serious contenders for the Champions Trophy next year and the World Cup in 2019 which they will also be hosting. Considering the fact that the last two World Cups were won by the host nations one never knows, maybe this might just be a fairy tale in the making for England Cricket, one which will echo in its echelons for a long time.