England bowling faces Test in T20 World Cup defence

Drawn in Group B with Australia, Namibia, Oman, and Scotland, England should easily reach the Super Eight stage of the tournament.

England bowling faces Test in T20 World Cup defence

Since beating Pakistan in the 2022 final, England have lost series in Bangladesh and West Indies and drew 2-2 at home with New Zealand, dropping to third in the world ranking. (Photo: X/@englandcricket)

By:
Vivek Mishra

No team has successfully defended the Twenty20 World Cup title. England understand the challenge as they prepare for the tournament in the West Indies and the United States.

Seven months ago, Jos Buttler’s team aimed to retain the 50-over world title they won on home soil. However, they had a disappointing tournament in India, winning three out of nine group games and finishing seventh in the standings.

“That pride was obviously dented and it was a really disappointing competition,” Buttler said. “But life moves on, it’s a chapter in the book and there’s lessons you learn but we’re presented with a new opportunity, a different format.”

Buttler, 33, scored two centuries for Rajasthan Royals in this year’s Indian Premier League, but England’s recent T20 record is poor.

Since beating Pakistan in the 2022 final, they have lost series in Bangladesh and West Indies and drew 2-2 at home with New Zealand, dropping to third in the world rankings behind India and Australia.

Drawn in Group B with Australia, Namibia, Oman, and Scotland, England should easily reach the Super Eight stage of the tournament. They then need to rediscover the form that brought them the 2022 trophy.

Ben Stokes, who led them to victory in the final two years ago, is not in the squad. Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Phil Salt, Ben Duckett, and Harry Brook will need to provide top-order consistency.

The return of Jofra Archer after major injury problems is a boost for England, but Mark Wood and Reece Topley, the other genuine fast bowlers, also have fitness issues.

This could place a heavy burden on seamers Sam Curran and Chris Jordan.

England will rely on experienced spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali to contain the scoring rate during the middle overs.

Curran has struggled over the past year, taking only seven wickets in his last eight T20 internationals. Buttler will need him to show the form that earned him the player of the tournament award in 2022.

Curran recently produced a match-winning performance for Punjab Kings in the IPL, with bowling figures of 2-24 and making 63 not out.

The 25-year-old will be a key player if England are to lift the T20 World Cup trophy for the third time.

(Reuters)