England Cricketers 2010 – Present
Those 59 England cricketers who have represented their country since 2010 will have experienced the full range of emotions in that time. In 2012 England were the most capable all-round cricketing side. They were the World T20 champions and ranked first in the one-day and test match rankings. However the side slipped down the rankings, dogged by injury, retirements and well publicised internal disputes. Recent low points for England include a 5-0 whitewash by Australia in 2013-14 and an exit at the group stages of the 2015 World Cup tournament. We now analyse the current batch of emerging England cricketers to see if they can once again top the rankings.
England Cricket Management
A key appointment for England was that of Andrew Strauss as Director of Cricket in 2015. For those who suspected that Strauss would favour a conservative approach were mistaken. His first act in charge was to dismiss Head Coach Peter Moores and replace him with Australian supremo Trevor Bayliss. This set up a return to the coaching partnership of Bayliss and Paul Farbrace who had achieved great success with the Sri Lankan national side.
Crucially Strauss also removed any doubt that Kevin Pietersen would ever play for England again. There was no sign in conservatism in England’s cricket either as they played high tempo attacking cricket that regained The Ashes. The one-day side also played with a new freedom that saw them register series wins against New Zealand and Pakistan.
With the support of Strauss and Bayliss and freed from the shackles of one-day captaincy Alastair Cook has prospered as England’s Test Captain. He survived the whitewash in Australia to regain The Ashes and defeat South Africa on their own turf. This shows a strength of purpose and determination. Whilst Cook may not be a supreme tactician or firebrand he commands the respect of his team mates. This alone can be a key driver in achieving sporting success. If England’s success continues then Cook’s confidence will also grow.
Since Eoin Morgan‘s appointment as one-day captain, England’s fortunes have dramatically improved. The defeats of New Zealand and Pakistan will have helped Morgan’s confidence. His vast experience in the one-day and T20 games and the selection of more specialist sides can only aid England’s cause. Pundits already see England as one of the favourites for this years World T20 competion.
Alastair Cook’s 263 against Pakistan in the autumn was the longest innings for England in test history. This showed his appetite for batting and his huge powers of concentration have not diminished. However since the retirement of Andrew Strauss in 2012 none of the current England cricketers have been able to serve as his long term opening partner.Eight have tried and been discarded. England’s recent Test history boasts Boycott, Gooch, Atherton, Trescothick, Strauss and Cook, all accomplished and long serving Test openers. Are the current selectors judging our current crop by their standards? Do the demands of the modern game mitigate against the skills required for Test Cricket? Perhaps the candidates require a longer apprenticeship in the role of opener. Clearly this is one area where England will look to improve.
Elsewhere England possess a delightful array of batting riches across all forms of the game. Joe Root at the tender age of 25, has already scored 3,500 test runs at an average of 55. He scores his runs quickly and exudes confidence every time he bats. Ben Stokes broke all sorts of records when he scored 258 against South Africa. He has the ability to change a game inside a single session of play. Elsewhere England have Hales, Roy, Taylor, Compton, Bairstow, and Ali, all capable of scoring quickly and heavily against the world’s best bowlers. In addition, in Jos Buttler, England have an exceptional one day finisher and versatile stroke player to rival even South Africa’s AB de Villiers.
Many of the current crop of England cricketers are all rounders. Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan and David Willey are among their number. The existence of talented all rounders gives depth to the batting order. It must be scary for the opposition to see a free-scoring David Willey, striding to the wicket at number ten in the order!
England’s strength in depth in seam bowling is clear to see. In Stuart Broad they have the world’s current number one bowler. He has shown regularly how he can change the course of a match in the space of a few overs. His record breaking 8-15 against Australia at Trent Bridge was a delight to behold. His strike partner Jimmy Anderson has over 400 Test wickets and there is strength in depth with the likes of Steven Finn, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, Reece Topley and Liam Plunkett.
Of more concern following the retirement of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar‘s loss of form is the absence of a world class spinner. None of the current England cricketers would claim to possess the control or penetration to rank alongside Swann and Panesar. For Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, England’s premier spin bowlers it is hoped that they still have time to mature into world class spin bowlers.This would give England the diversity of options required to compete on playing surfaces in the sub-continent and add a vital component to their one day game.
Strength in Depth
With so many exceptional English cricketers playing the game there is enough competition for places to ensure continued high standards. England’s cause is strengthened by a strong management structure and a proven quality coaching staff. It is clear that there is an array of England cricketers with the scope and talent to establish their country as one of the leading lights in all formats of the game. Add a consistent opening partner for Cook and a world class spinner to the mix and it becomes a near certainty.