LONDON: Eoin Morgan’s England will become two-time world champions if he wins the T20 World Cup – but he’ll have to do so without the Ben Stokes talisman.
The all-rounder played a central role in England’s first 50 World Cup triumph in 2019, scoring an unbeaten 84 and then scoring vital points in the Super Over in the final against New Zealand.
He cemented his place in English folklore the following month by almost single-handedly beating Australia by crushing an unbeaten 135 at Headingley in the third Ashes Test.
But the 30-year-old hasn’t donned an England shirt since July, taking time to focus on his sanity and an annoying finger injury.
This means he will miss his chance for redemption in the UAE and Oman.
The Durham player had a point to prove after being humiliated by Carlos Brathwaite in the 2016 final – the West Indian smashed four consecutive sixes of his bowling to clinch the title.
England will also be without another 2019 World Cup hero Jofra Archer after the fast pitcher underwent surgery for an elbow injury earlier this year.
But Morgan’s team remain a tournament favorite as they aim for their first T20 world title since 2010 and aim to become the first team to hold both limited edition trophies at the same time.
England lead the Twenty20 table and have a number of world white ball stars including captain Morgan, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Dawid Malan, who is the top batsman in T20 cricket.
Liam Livingstone adds some X factor to England’s formidable batting team, with a strike rate in the T20 internationals of 167 points per 100 balls.
The 28-year-old all-rounder dazzled Birmingham Phoenix in the Cent this year and smashed the fastest international century in England history – a 42-ball blitz against Pakistan – in a T20 match in July .
All-rounder Chris Woakes is part of the squad, having returned to T20 international cricket earlier this year after a gap of more than five years.
And left-arm couturier Tymal Mills is back in the English fold for the first time in nearly five years after impressing in the Hundred, helping to make up for Archer’s loss.
Buttler admits the absence of Stokes and Archer is a big drawback, but believes England have the firepower to compete.
“We’re going to focus a lot on ourselves, playing to the best of our ability and if we do that I think we’ll go a long way,” he said.
“To become a two-time world champion would be a huge achievement and it won’t be easy, I think we all understand that.”
Buttler says some of the new players will be valuable additions to the England squad.
“Liam has had a fantastic summer,” said the wicket-beater. “The century against Pakistan and the Hundred – he was the standard bearer – then he will enter the tournament full of confidence.
“We have a number of match winners and Liam is another. I enjoyed watching the Hundred and it was great to see Tymal operate. “
England will begin their campaign against the West Indies on October 23 in Dubai with games against Australia and South Africa to follow, as well as two games against the first round qualifiers. – AFP