Jos Buttler
England's Jos Buttler plays a shot as Australia's wicketkeeper Matthew Wade watches during the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on October 30, 2021. Image Credit: AFP

England are a fearsome side. The performances in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup have been chilling. They have simply blown away the opposition, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they add the T20 trophy to the 50-over World Cup.

For a long time, England struggled to crack the One-Day International puzzle despite being the home of limited-over cricket tournaments. They were World Cup finalists three times, but a win eluded them until the England and Wales Cricket Board decided to build a separate team under Eoin Morgan. In between, Paul Collingwood’s team won the T20 World Cup, with Kevin Pietersen weighing in well. But a major change occurred when Morgan took charge.

Change in mindset

The major change was in the mindset. Until then, English batsmen generally tended to be technically perfect and were not too keen on striking sixes. Let’s not discuss Ian Botham; he was a different breed of cricketer. But the rest were more straight-jacketed.

When the mindset changed, a new type of English cricketer emerged. It resembled a West Indian in approach. So cavalier was their batting that it struck fear into their opponents. With their traditional strengths of pace and spin bowling, they became a formidable side.

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The rise of England coincided with the fall of Australia. Under Steve Waugh, they were The Invincibles at the turn of the century, and Ricky Ponting steered them to more success. Tests or ODIs, it didn’t matter; the Australians steamrolled the opposition. For a side that have had such success, Australia never won the T20 World Cup. And if the loss to England in Dubai on Saturday is any indication, they won’t win this year too.

Any clash between Australia and England is a mouthwatering prospect. This one came ahead of the Ashes series that starts in December. But the Tests are a different cup of tea. Right now, England are without doubt the top limited-overs side in the world. Will they win the T20 World Cup? Difficult to say. T20 games are a lottery. The best side need not win.