Opinion: The post-KP era has begun

Blog Opinion

England have announced their squad to compete for the World T20 next month and in doing so have made a clear statement that they are beginning the process of looking to the future after this winter's tour from hell.

England have announced their squad to compete for the World T20 next month and in doing so have made a clear statement that they are beginning the process of looking to the future after this winter's tour from hell.

It's a squad with some very exciting talent in it. It's also a squad with some real inexperience and some worrying holes in it. Whichever way you look at it, it's a squad that would look more likely to win the World T20 if it had a more consistent and experienced bowling attack.

And, of course, if it had Kevin Pietersen in it.

For all the talk of planning for World Cups, this squad looks one born of necessity rather than planning. The batting department looks OK. There is, at least, some experience in there although it's hard to avoid the fact that the top three of Hales, Lumb and Wright scored just 88 runs between them in eight innings in Australia.

Hales is currently ranked the number two T20 international batsman and his 94 against Australia last August showed why that was the case. Hales is the only England batsman ranked in the top 10 T20 batsman.

The next batsman to feature in the rankings is Morgan down at 19. Morgan and Jos Buttler provide some much needed firepower to the order. Although you have to go back to September 2012 to find when Morgan scored more than 50 in an International T20 match.

You then have to go right down to number 37 to find another Englishman featuring in the rankings: Luke Wright. Ravi Bopara continues to both excite and frustrate but he will be an integral part of the team as they head to Chittagong for their group matches.

For those of us who follow and love county cricket, it's pleasing to see players we enthuse about getting call ups. Worcestershire's Mooen Ali is an enormously exciting batsman who bowls OK off-spin (and it probably is no more than OK at the moment).

In 2013, Ali scored more than 2000 runs and took 55 wickets across all formats and was voted player of the year by his peers at the Professional Cricketers Association end of season awards. England have to use him properly though.

He has the benefit of having been coached by Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal, meaning he does have a doosra in his armoury but he's not yet tried to bowl it in a match and a World Cup perhaps isn't the place to experiment.

Ali is an elegant, quite classic batsman. He needs to bat near the top of the order to allow him to play his natural strokes. Not be brought in at 7 or 8 or try and blast some late runs – that isn't his style and he won't be able to do it.

The bowling, however, is of real concern. There's no Steven Finn. Even though he's still currently ranked 15 in the world in T20, he's gone so far backwards he can't even be trusted to get through four overs in a T20 match.

Stuart Broad is the spearhead of the attack and the highest ranked England bowler (currently ranked 13). He has to work out better than he did in Australia when best to bowl himself.

Understandably, England supporters were surprised and disappointed by the inclusion of Jade Dernbach. One upon a time, his ability to bowl variations particularly at the death was an exciting prospect. Now he seems nothing more than a liability.

In Australia, he bowled 11 overs for 1 wicket at a cost of 141 runs (12.81 an over). The slower pitches in Bangladesh might suit him better but his selection continues to baffle most of us.

Tim Bresnan's inclusion has also raised questions. He's nowhere near where he was before his injury and was less than convincing in Australia taking just 2 wickets for 93 runs in the three matches.

But he's experienced and will provide some support to Stuart Broad who is going to have a difficult job working out how best to use the bowling resources he has available to him.

It is in the spin department that things are most concerning. The pitches in Bangladesh will be spin conducive and England are very much lacking in that area. We will very quickly come to realise just how much England miss someone of Graeme Swann's calibre.

James Tredwell is OK but no more than OK. He's taken just 4 international T20 wickets at an average of 50. The 28 year old Stephen Parry's call up was a surprise but deserved.

He has impressed in domestic T20 cricket taking 63 wickets with an impressive economy rate of 6.86. But he's untested in the International arena. Like with Ali, a World Cup is not the ideal pressure environment to be thrown in at the deep end.

Pitted against the Australian, New Zealand and Indian squads in particular, this England squad looks lightweight. It's going to be hard for England supporters to be wildly optimistic about their chances of winning their second International trophy but this squad is a realistic statement of where England are at the moment (in all formats).

The post-horror-tour rebuilding is going to take a while and we're likely to see a fair amount of chopping and changing across all the formats in the forthcoming months.

It's hardly an ideal place to be heading into an International tournament but expectations are very low and this being England cricket that probably means they'll go and win the blooming thing. I definitely won't be putting any pennies on it at the bookies though.

<b>Lizzy Ammon (@legsidelizzy)</b>

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