What next for England’s limited-overs teams after Bangladesh series ends?
England’s winter ended with a whimper as they crashed to defeat in their first T20 series as world champions, with an under-strength side mauled 3-0 in Bangladesh.
Here, the PA news agency looks at what lies ahead.
What went wrong at the end?
England were down to the bare bones, with only 13 individuals to call upon following the withdrawals of Tom Abell and Will Jacks. They decided against bolstering their batting and threw the players they had in at the deep end, reasoning any short-term pain will be worth it in the long term. It is also worth remembering Bangladesh may be ranked ninth in T20s, seven places below England, but are masters in their own conditions. However, England achieved their primary objective with a 2-1 ODI series win.
Why was the main goal to win the ODI series?
With the defence of their 50-over World Cup title coming up in neighbouring India later this year, this was a good chance for England to experience the slow and low wickets of the subcontinent. India will have plenty of those but also some flatter, more batter-friendly surfaces. This was still a useful experiment as Jofra Archer and Mark Wood showed they can unsettle batters on even the most lifeless of tracks, Adil Rashid remains one of the world’s best spinners while Jason Roy and Dawid Malan made centuries under pressure to strengthen their chances of a spot in England’s 15-strong squad for India.
For England’s limited-overs sides: nothing until September. In the last six months, England have played nine ODIs and 20 T20s – winning the World Cup in November – but the Indian Premier League will take up April and May before attention switches to a hotly-anticipated Ashes series. It is not until late summer that England will be back in action. Indeed, they likely only have one ODI – against New Zealand on September 8 – before announcing their squad for the World Cup, which should start in mid-October.
Will that leave them a bit unprepared?
Possibly. England white-ball head coach Matthew Mott said last week he has sympathy for administrators trying to cram everything into the prime windows of the season. But while there is no international white-ball cricket on the horizon, those hoping to stake a claim for the World Cup can do so in the various domestic T20 franchise leagues. There will be a close eye on the IPL in particular to see whether anyone on the fringes can put in consistent, match-winning displays in Indian conditions.
For now, who are the likely lads?
Mott has been at pains in the last week to stress that there is still so much time between now and judgement day, as injuries could alter the balance of the group. If everyone is fit then captain Jos Buttler is likely to be joined by those who won a historic title in 2019 in Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Archer, Wood and Rashid. Malan, Sam Curran and Harry Brook will be difficult to leave out and Mott recently gushed about Liam Livingstone’s all-round qualities. That leaves only a couple of places, with the seam and spin probably being bolstered. Any best-laid plans might go out the window if Ben Stokes comes out of ODI retirement, though. England have not set a time limit on the all-rounder, meaning any decision can probably wait until after the Ashes.
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