England are a few days away from beginning their T20 World Cup campaign which starts against Afghanistan. They have faced several difficulties with their squad after Jonny Bairstow suffered a freak injury earlier this autumn ruling it out of the upcoming tournament.
Fast bowler Jofra Archer had already been ruled out of the World Cup with ongoing shoulder issues but England have now endured their latest heartbreak when it was announced on Wednesday 19 October that Reece Topley would be forced to miss out on the competition after he reputed ligaments in his left ankle.
The Surrey cricketer has been a star player in England’s white-ball format, taking 22 wickets in his 22 T20I matches at an average of 29.50 and his absence will be a huge blow in England’s chances of success in Australia.
However, Jos Buttler still has an 18-man squad from which he will endeavour to find triumph down under. Here is all you need to know about England’s squad…
Openers: Jos Buttler, Phil Salt, Alex Hales
This will be Buttler’s first World Cup in charge and after his heroics at last year’s T20 World Cup, including his century against Australia, fans will be hopeful he can replicate his efforts once more.
An unlikely first choice but a very strong second option for an opener is Phil Salt. He wonderfully set-up England’s innings during the recent series against Pakistan and calmly kept wicket. Just a shame his place is in competition with the captain of the squad. The addition of Alex Hales shook some heads at the start but his recent form has been exquisite and his previous experience of Australian pitches from the Big Bash League will be invaluable.
Middle-orders: Harry Brook, Dawid Malan
Harry Brook may well suffer the consequences of the return of Ben Stokes but it could easily be the other way round after the 23-year-old’s roaring success in Pakistan. Finishing the tour as Player of the Series with 238 runs, a high score of 83* and an average of 79.33 England would do well to place their bets on the young Yorkshireman.
Currently number seven in the ICC T20 batting rankings, Malan returned to form just in time for the World Cup after his 78* against Pakistan secured England the final match and series. While he has endured relative inconsistency in recent months, the South African born batter can still be relied upon when it counts.
All-rounders: Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Ben Stokes Chris Woakes
Unlike England’s test line-up, the white-ball squad has phenomenal batting depth right down the order with their plethora of all-rounders. Moeen Ali superbly led from the front when he captained England against Pakistan and has won matches both with bat and ball over his years in the white-ball team.
Ben Stokes has struggled with white-ball form recently but you can’t not have him in the team. He thrives on those big, nail-biting stages and similarly to Ali, can win a match with the bat, ball or in the field as was seen in the recent warm-up match against Australia.
2021 was almost a second awakening for Liam Livingstone and he has since gone on to prove he should never have been dropped before. He offers something no other can in the England squad - the hardest six known to man as well as spinning both leg and off spin. If England ever hit a stalemate in a match, just bring on Livingstone and he’s sure to do something with one of his many talents.
Bowlers: David Willey, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan Tymal Mills
David WIlley could well fit in the all-rounder category and was previously squeezed out of the England squad on the arrival of Archer. However, since Archer’s absence through injury, Willey has gone above and beyond to show his worth. He’s previously claimed a career best figures of 4/7 and has an average of 23.13. The Yorkshire bowler also enjoys a quick smash around the ground to quickly amp up England’s batting total.
Sam Curran could also join Willey in the category of bowling all-rounder and he has been a surprisingly deadly addition to the England squad. He claimed seven wickets in the recent series against Pakistan and added vital runs to the board when needed.
Adil Rashid - arguably one of the best leg-spinners in the world. He has bamboozled the world’s best batters over the years and has 89 wickets in T20 to prove it. His variation is deadly and Rashid is best known for his outrageous googly ball.
The Durham bowler Mark Wood is finally back from another injury and will be England’s answer to the question of pace. He consistently wracks up speeds of 90mph+ and his return to the squad will quell significant fears since news of Topley’s ankle broke.
One of the world’s best dead-ball bowlers, Chris Jordan is another who has returned from injury and will play a pivotal role at the back-end of an innings as Buttler hopes to keep the opposition’s runs as low as possible.
Tymal Mills has been the latest addition to the main squad due to Topley’s absence. Previously on the reserves list he has since been promoted and will hope to make his mark more successfully than he was able at the 2021 tournament due to injury. Mills starred with the ball in The Hundred tournament for Southern Brave and his absence was heavily felt this year as his side crashed to the bottom of the table.
Reserves: Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson, Luke Wood
Liam Dawson has been on the fringe of the England squad for years but has yet to break in for a substantial period of time. He nearly brought England victory in their fifth T20 against Pakistan when he smashed 34 off 17 balls and reminded selectors he was still very much in the fight.
At 34, it seemed surprising Richard Gleeson would have had as much of an impact as he has had, but in his six matches, the Manchester Originals bowler has taken nine wickets at an average of 20.8. It would have been a hard call to choose Mills over Gleeson but with England bowlers’ penchant for injury, we may well see Gleeson back in action before too long.
Luke Wood had a breakout summer bowling for Trent Rockets in The Hundred and went on to take three wickets in his first T20I against Pakistan earlier this autumn. He was only recently called up to the reserves list following Topley’s injury.