By Brian Halford
Congratulations to England on their scintillating ICC World T20 semi-final win over New Zealand in Delhi.
Eoin Morgan’s resurgent team will face West Indies or hosts India in the final at Eden Gardens on Sunday where they aim to cap a dazzling campaign by lifting the trophy.
So it is an appropriate time, perhaps, to reflect on the amazing progress made by England in the limited-overs format in the last 12 months – a transformation nearly as dramatic as Leicester City’s!
It is only just over a year since England made a sheepish exit from the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand after the embarrassment of a 15-run defeat to Bangladesh in Adelaide.
The critics piled in. Some criticism was justified, some not so much. But the England camp kept a level head.
“There will be an inquest as to what went wrong,” reflected Morgan. “Then we will go from there.”
There was an inquest. And look how far they have come.
Playing an aggressive and adventurous brand of cricket, England have brilliantly reinvented themselves. They can look forward not only to Sunday’s final but to future tournaments as real contenders. And their supporters can expect high entertainment along the way.
The team that a year ago looked bewildered and left behind by the changing, accelerating nature of limited-overs cricket has spectacularly cottoned on and caught up. That’s great credit to Morgan and to the players, of course, and also to Andrew Strauss, England’s director of cricket, who has overseen the transformation. A side which seemed unsure of itself, almost reluctant to give rein to its own natural talents, now plays without restraint. Without fear
With power hitters throughout the order, seamers who bowl with an intelligence and maturity which belies their relative youth and a captain receptive to fresh ideas, suddenly England have so much to look forward to. Their team is talented and driven but still early in its collective powers. These guys have plenty more tournaments together and will also be eyeing the next ICC World T20, in Australia in 2020, with serious intent.
Fresh from a Test series victory in South Africa this winter, these are exciting times for England in all formats and there’s sure to be a cracking atmosphere when they visit Edgbaston twice this summer, to face Sri Lanka in a Royal London One-Day International on Friday June 24, and Pakistan for an Investec Test match starting on Wednesday August 3.
Something very good is happening with England. And we all know how much they love playing at Edgbaston. Be there if you can and click the link for tickets!