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The State of English Cricket

English Cricket is in a very very good place at the moment. The test side is fresh off of three series wins in a row and an all round mixed year. The talents of Sibley, Crawley and Pope are coming to the fore whilst the old folks home (Jimmy and Broad) are showing they can still mix with the best of them. Ben Stokes is reaching new heights with every series, Buttler is finding his groove and playing as a batsmen. The bowling line up has depth not seen for a long time now. A fit Olly Stone, a rejuvenated Mark Wood and Ollie top of off Robinson would make a formidable test attack on their own let alone as England's third choice seamers. Chris Woakes with his curtains and beard are showing that he’s not just a pretty face (though he very much is a pretty face first, wizard second). The spin debate is one that will go on and on but Bess has shown promise and Leach is a solid backup option who a few countries would kill for. Jofra is Jofra and so valuable to any success this side wishes to have and to be honest they need to let the man bowl because, and this may shock a few, Jofra Archer is a really f*****g good bowler. The main issue is off course the captain and England’s best player; this England side with a full flowing, free moving Joe Root start to look threatening and a true force overseas. The opening partnership of Burns and Sibley has shown signs of being the solid foundation the side needs, and good old Creepy is more than capable of opening the batting. The middle order is somewhat ridiculous. Imagine dismissing Ben Stokes or Joe Root only to see Ollie Pope walk out to the middle and play the perfect forward defensive. England's middle order will be its true strength in the next few years, mark my words. Dan Lawrence, and his iron wrists, are the next cab off the rank and to be honest it’s amazing to think he may not even be a mainstay in the side. So the test side is somewhat in safe hands and it has the seeds of a beautiful flower, now it needs the sunlight and whatnot (basically Joe Root needs to average 50 again).

The T20 side is looking better with every game. With the batting order that England has every team must think we have to score 250 to keep these guys out of the game. The last thing any death bowler wants to see right now is Eoin Morgan walking in to pair a well set Dawid Malan or Jos Buttler at the crease. Lets just focus on Malan (side note can we stop this narrative that people don’t rate him anymore it's just nonsense people only say that for clicks), Dawid is currently performing at record breaking, unparalleled levels of success in the shortest format i mean it is simply ridiculous how amazing he is like it’s absurd. This England batting lineup is surely the strongest in the world. When Joe Root and Tom Banton can’t even get a look in then yeah you’re fine. The bowling attack is an odd one. When all are fully fit Morgan has 12 overs covered. Archer, Rashid and Jordan will always bowl and they will always play; they are England’s spearheads. Who fits in around them though is another question. Tom Curran, from Adelaide 2017 is long gone with the eldest brother struggling in recent times. Morgan does like to stick with his players through these tricky periods but in all honesty is it now time to call it with Tom Curran especially when his death bowling is his main asset and he’s not delivering. Ben Stokes is showing enough with the ball to be a suitable 2 over bang it into the pitch. Of course the David Willey debate is one that will rage on till the day he retires. The youngest Curran offers the most with the bat especially at the death with his hitting from ball one, and his bowling is good enough and smart enough to justify overs every game. The only query from a personal perspective is the issue of Matt Parkinson and why on earth he isn’t in the squad or playing in the IPL and BBL. Finally the only chink in the armour is seemingly Jason Roy and you have to wonder will Morgan crack and bring back in Hales arguably Englands second best T20 opener just behind Buttler.

The One day side is a tough one. After the side built and built to ultimately provide the greatest day in English cricket history, Joe Denly's 80 odd vs South Africa, it’s now in a state of limbo. A mixture of the old and the new, the tried and tested with the unknown, is providing mixed results. Two crushing victories followed by a phenomenal run chase by the Irish and England's first series defeat at home in 5 years (a rather convincing defeat may i add) are clear evidence in the shift away from the format that has dominated the English psyche for the past half decade. The emergence of Sam Billings, with his two match winning knocks against Ireland and his maiden century against Australia, is exciting as Billings is fulfilling his potential to provide a player who can take over the middle order, when the trusted few have to rest, and still do a job; Billings could even see himself become a main stay in “the hardest sporting side in the world to break into” The bowling attack is taking shape nicely with Rashid becoming borderline unplayable, the aforementioned Chris Woakes showing why he is England's first choice bowler, Jofra is still Jofra the best white ball bowler in the world. The side is in a stalemate for at least the next two years and will probably suffer a similar treatment to that of the T20 side over the past 5 years (James Vince is licking his lips).

All in all English cricket is healthy. The talent coming through, in all formats of the game, has the potential to be some of the best we’ve seen for a while. With two T20 world cups looming and Morgan looking to go back to back to back (50, 20, 20) and the Skipper at the peak of his powers there’s plenty of reason to sit England at the top of the pile. The test team has the clear foundations of a successful one and has shown signs of promise here and there, though England do need to prepare for the departure of Jimmy (PLAY OLLIE ROBINSON). The ODI side is in limbo and to be honest is being pushed to the side and with good reason. It’s an exciting time to support England so let us embrace it and realise we could be about to see something special.

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