England in good shape ahead of Caribbean adventure
With the Icelandic volcano subsiding, the build-up to next week’s World T20 can focus on the cricket.
England have spent most of the last week frantically cooking up alternative routes for their players to reach the Caribbean in time to face the hosts in Guyana in week Monday.
And alongside the positive news of resuming air-travel, it comes as something of a pleasant surprise to look at England’s squad and be positive about their prospects.
True, England are yet to win a major ICC tournament and have the worst T20 record of any major international side.
But since embarrassingly losing to Holland at Lord’s in last year’s World Cup, England have recorded a succession of impressive victories over India, South Africa and Pakistan.
Perhaps more crucially they have unearthed some genuinely destructive batsmen to support Kevin Pietersen and captain Paul Collingwood.
Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter are likely to form a destructive opening-partnership, despite their apparent inexperience.
Lumb is yet to represent England in any format but the 30-year-old has impressed with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and Kieswetter looked the part in Bangladesh.
And then there is the trump card, Eoin Morgan.
Ireland will no doubt feel aggrieved at Morgan’s switch of allegiance when the two side’s meet in the group stages, particularly if he decides to unfurl his freakishly strong forearms.
Morgan is a remarkable cricketer with the rare gift of striking effortless maximum’s while wearing the blue of England.
Leaving aside the issue of the oversees influence in Collingwood’s squad, there are five members of a prospective top six, which could also include Ashes reject Ravi Bopara, with proven match winning capabilities.
Bowling strength was the crucial factor for the last instalment of the tournament but West Indian pitches are likely to heavily favour batsmen.
And England’s injury ravaged bowling department looks to be well on the mend as their linchpin, Jimmy Anderson, marked his return to action with a devastating 6-wicket haul against Essex on Wednesday.
If Anderson and Broad are on form and the batsmen live up to their hefty reputation then England just might have a chance.