Talking points ahead of England’s first Twenty20 clash against Australia
England’s tri-series campaign kicks off in Hobart on Wednesday.
England play their first match of the Trans-Tasman tri-series against Australia in Hobart on Wednesday, fresh from beating their hosts 4-1 in the 50-over campaign.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the key issues:
Changing of the guard
England dominated Australia in the one-day games but are without some of their key performers due to the necessities of workload management. Joe Root, man of the series and middle-order banker, has been rested alongside Chris Woakes – who proved vital with ball and bat – and dependable spinner Moeen Ali. With those three taking a well-deserved break the onus falls to the likes of James Vince, Dawid Malan, Chris Jordan and Liam Dawson to fill the gaps. How well Eoin Morgan manages those alterations is key to his side’s prospects.
The Big Bash brigade
England are not alone in ringing the changes for this leg of the trip, with co-hosts Australia allowing the likes of Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood to focus on the forthcoming Test series in South Africa. But with the Big Bash having dominated the domestic cricket scene in recent weeks they have been able to call on a rich collection of T20 specialists. Chris Lynn, D’Arcy Short, Alex Carey and Billy Stanlake are relative newcomers on the international circuit but are standard-bearers in the BBL and come in with their 20-over skills fully sharpened.
Brothers in arms
When Sam Curran was called up to the squad as a replacement for Root, joining elder brother Tom, it raised the prospect of England’s first fraternal alliance since 1999. Back then it was the Hollioakes, Adam and Ben, who took the field together. The Hollioake brothers, like the Currans, were a pair of exciting all-rounders from Surrey but only played seven ODIs and one Test together. Tom, 22, and Sam, 19, look primed to play a significant part in England’s white-ball future, while Somerset siblings Jamie and Craig Overton may yet link up in the Test arena.
Context or complication?
The precise place of the sprint format in the international schedule is still uncertain. The World T20 was a roaring success in 2016 but will not take place again until 2020, leaving organisers in a bind. The most frequent solution has been to tack standalone fixtures onto the end of bilateral tours, but here the three boards have agreed a lengthier competition with a showpiece final at the end. Whether this is a long-term solution to provide relevance to the matches in the long gaps between tournaments could be determined by crowd reaction.
Hundreds and five-fors
England’s status as fearless purveyors of crash-bang white-ball cricket has been fairly earned but they still lag behind their opponents on a couple of the prestige indicators. They have registered just one T20 century – Alex Hales in 2014 – and no five wicket-hauls. By comparison New Zealand boast six tons and one five-for with Australia laying claim to three of the four biggest centuries and one five-wicket haul. In an England side which has made a point of setting new benchmarks in the 50-over game, there will be a hunger to put that right.