ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: England World Cup squad complete analysis. Strengths & weakness of England side in World Cup 2023
Ahead of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, all eyes are on defending champions England - a team known for its dynamic cricketing prowess and rich history in the sport.
England had made an early exit from the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2015 – not even managing to cross the league stage – but they emerged as strong contenders since and won the 2019 edition which was hosted by them.
Captain Eoin Morgan, who took the charge as captain after the 2015 World Cup, had asked his players to play freely. Since then, they have put up five 400+ targets, the most by any team. England was the first team to play with multiple all-rounders, with great success, and other teams are trying to replicate the feat.
In 2019, England won the World Cup beating New Zealand by boundary counts in the final. However, since then many critics have said that it was unfair to give the title to England after the match and the Super Over ended in a tie. Hence, Jos Buttler and Co. must be looking forward to defend the title and prove that they deserved it.
Let's delve into the strengths and weakness of the English side that is vying to win World Cup 2023.
England Squad Strengths
England boasts an array of power-hitters, with the likes of youngster Harry Brook, experienced Jonny Bairstow, along with Dawid Malan, who can anchor the innings and go big.
Bairstow is an aggressive batter, who likes to attack from the first ball. His experience of playing in Indian Premier League (IPL) will definitely come in handy. Since his debut, he has played nine ODIs on Indian soil - scoring 324 runs at an average of 40.50 striking at 98.78 with a century and two half-centuries. In his career he has scored 3653 runs in 89 innings with 11 centuries and 15 fifties - with an impressive strike rate of 103.92.
Malan isn’t someone who hits boundaries from the word go; he takes his time and builds his innings. He is the highest ODI run-getter for England in 2023, scoring 591 runs in nine ODIs with 3 centuries and 3 half-centuries, at an impressive average of 73.87 striking at 96.56.
The young batter, Brook has not played much ODI cricket for England, but his IPL 2023 experience will help him to go full Monty in the World Cup.
The presence of Ben Stokes, who came out of retirement, Joe Root, and Jos Buttler provides stability in the middle order. They are capable of sending the ball out of the ground, as well as dropping anchor to build the innings if the side loses wickets upfront.
Stokes retired from ODIs in July 2022, but he came back on Captain Jos Buttler’s request. He scored 182 runs against New Zealand in his comeback series against New Zealand, which is the highest individual score by any English batter. He is a proven match winner for England, and has helped them clinch the 2019 ODI World Cup and 2022 T20I World Cup. On Indian soil he has scored 255 runs in six ODIs, with three half-centuries at an average of 51.00, striking at 138.58 with the bat and has also taken nine wickets at a strike rate of 32.6.
Root also has a healthy average of 59 while playing in India. So far, he has scored 295 runs with three half centuries in India, and has a strike rate of 84.04.
Although Buttler’s record on Indian soil in ODIs is not good, but he would look to change it this time – especially with the form he is currently in. So far, he has played seven innings in India in which he managed to score only 83 runs at an average of 11.85.
England have the best bowling line-up among all the participating teams in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. They have all the bases covered, with a variety of fast bowlers and spinners.
Firstly, they have left-arm pacer Reece Topley who swings the ball upfront, alongside him is right arm pacer Chris Woakes who can swing the ball either-ways. Mark Wood, is perfect as one change bowler, who fires at an average speed of 145+ kph.
Woakes and Wood both have a lot of experience of playing in IPL. Woakes, in his five matches on Indian soil, has taken 8 wickets at an average of 35.50 with best figures of 4/60. Wood, while playing in India, has picked five wickets in just two matches at an impressive average of 21.80.
Right-arm leg spinner Adil Rashid and right-arm off spinner Moeen Ali take the charge in the middle overs. All-rounder Liam Livingstone can bowl both off and leg spin.
Rashid has picked 184 wickets in 120 innings at an average of 32.41 with an economy of 5.67 in his career, whereas Moeen has picked 106 wickets at an economy of 5.29 in 122 innings. Notably, both of them can bat as well, and especially Moeen Ali has the ability to take the game away from the opposition with the bat as well.
The presence of Sam Curran, Moeen Ali, and Chris Woakes adds depth to both the batting and bowling departments, offering Captain Jos Buttler various tactical options.
England Squad Weaknesses
Lack of game time
Players like Bairstow, Stokes, Root, Woakes, Wood and Topley were picked by the teams in IPL auction but for some reason they didn’t get to play much. Some of them had also withdrawn from the tournament. Hence they don’t have much game time, as there was no ODI cricket happening till August.
One look at the ODI matches all these players have played in 2023 will help in understanding the gravity of the situation.
Jonny Bairstow – 3 matches, Ben Stokes – 3 matches, Joe Root – 4 matches, Chris Woakes – 6 matches, Mark Wood – 2 matches, Reece Topley – 6 matches.
Injuries to key players like Stokes or Wood could also severely dent England's prospects. Depth in the squad will be vital to mitigate this threat. They have added Jofra Archer in the squad as travelling reserve, but he also hasn’t played any international cricket in a while.
In conclusion, the blend of experience and emerging talent, combined with meticulous planning, makes England a force to reckon with. England will play their first game, which is also the opening game for World Cup 2023, against New Zealand on October 5.