England have a very poor one day international record when it comes to major tournaments.
They have never won a 50 over competition against the worlds best and this summer represents a big chance to put that right.
The ICC Champions Trophy is held in England this year and thus gives Alistair Cook and Ashley Giles the opportunity to claim their place in history. If England are to win a 50 over competition, this is the one.
At home, England are a very good one day side. Last year they dominated the home one day series against Australia and West Indies. The bowling attack is the major strength of England in home conditions, where the ball moves about for Anderson, Broad and Finn. This will make them serious contenders for the ICC Champions Trophy crown.
The squad announcement held few surprises, with the fresher faces named in the 30 man squad inevitably discarded from the final 15. The stand out inclusion must be Ravi Bopara who is still desperately clinging to his international career, waiting to really stamp his authority on the International stage. Bopara can consider himself fortunate to have beaten Luke Wright to the call up but can provide England with the all important all-rounder option.
The batting department is a cause for some concern. Certainly nobody could describe England as destructive. A top three of Bell, Cook and Trott are about as pedestrian as it gets. The advantage to that top order is the two new balls rule. Especially in England, a top three who play test cricket against the swinging ball can be very effective against the two new swinging balls. They will need to do more than just survive however and need to be able to get England off to the kind of start that will compete with the start that Gayle can give the West Indies and Dilshan can give to Sri Lanka.
The middle order without Kevin Pietersen looks inexperienced and frail. Joe Root will probably fill in at four with Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler at five and six.
Root does not have the destructive capacity of Pietersen and so there will be enormous pressure on Morgan and Buttler to boost the England run rate. If they can, and can consistently get England pushing 300, the bowling attack will make England favourites against most.
If England are to taste glory in 50 over competition, there will be few better chances than this. The batting department is a weakness without Pietersen but the bowling attack in English conditions is a serious weapon. Certainly England should have enough to compete and make this competition something memorable for home support, unlike so many ICC tournaments that have gone before.
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