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England’s white-ball depth check: which team really whitewashed Pakistan?


E

ngland flexed their white-ball muscles in their series sweep of Pakistan.

The side they fielded, captained by Ben Stokes, has variously been called a second-string or third team. Not only were 16 players who had been in England’s ODI squad to face Sri Lanka unavailable, but a number of players – chiefly Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer – were injured.

The performances were an illustration of English white-ball cricket’s depth, but also the total commitment to the brand of cricket espoused by Eoin Morgan since the World Cup failure in 2015. Little has changed since Trevor Bayliss, coach when they won the 2019 tournament, left the job.

So, at the end of a remarkable week, what do England’s 1st to 4th teams looks like?

These teams were picked on the basis that England like to have six bowling options in a side, including a wrist-spinner and a left-armer. They are also picked on the basis that England are not considering Alex Hales (which they are not). Clearly, on batting ability alone, he would be in the Second Team. But his absence has little to do with his batting ability.

Roy, Bairstow, Root, Morgan (c), Stokes, Buttler (wk), Woakes, S.Curran, Rashid, Archer, Wood

A formidable side. Only one place is realistically up for grabs – the one vacated by Liam Plunkett when he was unceremoniously dumped after the 2019 World Cup.

Sam Curran gets the nod ahead of Moeen Ali, although he would have to bowl outside the powerplay with Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer reunited. In both white-ball formats, Curran has been the flavour of the last few months.

Salt, Banton, Malan, Vince, Billings (wk), Livingstone, Moeen (c), Willey, T.Curran, Mahmood, Parkinson

This team would have more than enough to beat a number of first-choice ODI teams. The batting looks strong, although the bowling is a bit spin-heavy, and Livingstone is not the strongest sixth-bowling option.

Phil Salt and Saqib Mahmood confirmed their status as England’s next-in-lines in the Pakistan series.

David Willey’s stock has risen back up this summer, while Tom Curran is under pressure for his place from the likes of Brydon Carse and Reece Topley. Parkinson has pushed ahead of Liam Dawson, but the fact he is a wrist-spinner gave him an advantage already.


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