England’s One Day and T20 Squad will arrive in India with key players completing stints in the Big Bash tournament, making big strides in the process.
Eoin Morgan ( ENG Captain), once again struggling for consistency, with only one half century in four innings, saved the Sydney Thunders BBL title defence with a six from the last ball in an impressive 71 not out. For Morgan to maintain the england captaincy and his place in the side, following the controversial Bangladesh series, he must let runs do the talking.
Sam Billings impressed when for the Sydney Sixers, further putting his case forward for a consistent spot in the England One Day lineup. Scores of 42,40,40 & 5 prove his powerful batting will be a vital asset for the upcoming series as well as looking further ahead to this year's Champions Trophy.
Jason Roy, having previously played for the Thunder, signed for the Sixers also this year. Roy’s runs have not followed him this time but his fielding has been of the highest quality that's required in T20 cricket. His lack of runs will not cause too much concern as the ECB have begun to accept the experience value of players participating in franchise cricket. Brad Haddin, Johan Botha & Moises Henriques all play alongside Roy and he will have taken much from being with those experienced cricketers.
David Willey has been outstanding as Perth Scorchers first choice bowler. In a format where it’s not uncommon for fast bowlers to go for ten runs over, his economy has been remarkable. Willey has also taken 7 wickets in 5 games and as such Mitchell Johnson has had to wait for his chance to bowl later in each innings. It is also easy to forget that Willey has hit a century batting in the top order in england domestic cricket.
Fans of the Adelaide Strikers have clearly grown fond of Chris Jordan. The Barbados born Englishmen has taken 10 wickets in 5 games. His 15* included him scoring the winning runs against Hobart Hurricanes. Jordan has made it known in previous interviews he wants to be an allrounder, but whether the england set up will agree is still left to be seen.
Let’s be clear, two disappointing test series in the sub continent have cast numerous questions over selection, tactics and leadership in the side. England's One Day campaign in 2016 was hugely successful however. India are clear favourites in the 50 Over and 20 Over format, but England will be confident they can replicate the success in the New Year.
The Big Bash, meanwhile, carries on with young and experienced englishmen continuing to entertain. Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright are the bedrock of the Melbourne Stars top order. Stuart Broad has thrown himself into the Hurricanes. James Vince’s first innings for the Thunder ensures he still is on England’s radar. Tim Bresnan joins ashes teammate Ian Bell at the Scorchers. Tymal Mills has been in great form for the Auckland Aces and will join the Brisbane Heat before linking up with England for the T20’s.
The Big Bash is the only franchise tournament that can compete with the Indian Premier League for its entertainment package. Importantly the timing of the australian competition works in favour of current english internationals, in total contrast to the IPL.
As Colin Graves and the ECB work frantically behind the scenes to shape new broadcasting rights deals, before a revamp at the end of 2017, they would do well to speak to their countrymen playing in the big bash to look at the best example of scheduling for and english T20 tournament.
By Matt Bramall