The Cricket World Cup is an itch England have been trying to scratch since the first ever tournament all the way back in 1975. 11 different squads have stepped up to the crease, but so far all have failed.
There’s a sense of optimism around the 2019 tournament, though. England, on home soil for the first time since 1999, are the favourites. They have a destructive batting line-up and a top selection of bowlers.
India, South Africa and New Zealand will all provide ample competition, while Australia are looking for a fifth World Cup win in six attempts. Victory at the home of the old enemy ahead of the 2019 Ashes would be extra special.
We can’t wait for it all to get underway with England v South Africa at The Oval on 30th May. And from Edgbaston to Headingley and everywhere in between, we’ll be following it all the way until the final at Lord’s on 14th July.
England Cricket Squad
We’re not kidding about England’s chances. They look pretty good. Eoin Morgan’s men are the number one side in the ICC ODI Rankings and boast a destructive batting line-up that is the envy of world cricket.
Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes and the aforementioned Morgan make for a formidable presence for any opposition bowler. Adil Rashid, Tom Curran and Moeen Ali are England’s biggest dangers with the ball.
Add in secret weapon Jofra Archer and the hosts have a squad packed with talent, complete with balance and filled with potential match-winners. They showed that with their recent 4-0 series whitewash of Pakistan.
England shouldn’t have any problem negotiating the group stage. But it’s when the competition reaches the knockout round that they need to be wary. Any mistakes will be ruthlessly punished in one-off matches.
That’s all well and good. But who are the men leading the charge for the hosts? We’ve picked out England’s big five dangermen ahead of the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Strike rate: 87.15
It’s not always about slogging the ball over the ropes at every opportunity. It’s also useful to have a steady hand on the tiller to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Yorkshireman Root offers the calm amongst the batting chaos.
England’s test captain will come in at number three and heads into the World Cup in decent nick. He produced knocks of 40, 43, 36 and 84 in the recent series against Pakistan to take his tally up to 5,300 ODI runs in total.
By his own admission, Root tried some uncharacteristically risky shots in that series. That’s not his game. There’s a reason he has the third-fewest sixes of the 24 players to score over 2,000 runs since the last World Cup.
But to dismiss his lack of big hitting is to ignore his importance to the team. He’s intelligent, picks out the gaps and it a consistent run scorer. If England are to do well, then Joe really will need to take root during the World Cup.
Strike rate: 94.10
Wickets taken: 63
It’s not been the easiest couple of years for Stokes. But the England all-rounder has come through it to retain his place in the middle order. He’ll need to up his game if the recent series against Pakistan is anything to go by, though.
The Durham man has produced knocks of 50 or above in just seven of his last 26 ODIs. An unbeaten 79 against Pakistan at Trent Bridge hinted at a return to his old form but more is required of him on a consistent basis.
His bowling is also under scrutiny. So there’s plenty riding on the next weeks or so for Stokes, who has been equally disappointing over the shorter form of the game in the IPL.
There’s no question that the man has talent. He just needs to show it. One impressive innings early on in the tournament could be the key to discovering his good form as a potent weapon for England.
Strike rate: 119.57
If you live in the surrounding area of a cricket ground when Buttler is at the crease you better have extra tiles for the roof. Because the explosive right-hander will be slogging balls out of the ground left, right and centre.
The 28-year-old is one of the hottest properties in the game right now – and it’s not hard to see why. He’s hit four centuries in the last 18 months, including a magnificent 150 against the West Indies in February.
He’s not been in bad nick of late either. Just ask the poor Pakistan bowlers who were smashed for six fours and nine sixes in his innings of 110 in the latest series. It’s not just his ability to hit the ball over the ropes either.
It’s the speed in which he does it. Buttler has five of the fast 10 ODI hundreds ever scored by an Englishman. There’s no limit to what he can do with the bat and where he can put the ball. No bowler is safe with Buttler at the crease.
As luck would have it he’s also good with the gloves. Alongside his role as the most dangerous batsman, he’s England main wicketkeeper too. We go 25/1 about him ending up as the top run scorer during the World Cup.
Economy rate: 4.90
It was touch-and-go whether Archer would even make it into the squad. But the Bridgetown-born bowler made it almost impossible for Morgan and co. not to select him. Nowadays he’s England’s not-so-secret weapon.
With skills honed predominantly through the Big Bash and the IPL, he’s a truly modern cricketer who can bowl the ball at seemingly effortless pace. Want to test the batsman with a 95mph delivery? Archer is your man.
Having said that, speed of delivery isn’t just crucial in taking wickets, although Archer has three of those and an economy rate of 4.90 in his fledgling ODI career. It’s also an important tool to unsettle a batsman and disturb his rhythm.
What the 24-year-old lacks in experience he makes up for in determination. Don’t be surprised if he emerges from the background to become a key player for England as the tournament rumbles on.
Our traders go 20/1 about Archer taking the most wickets in the tournament.
Strike rate: 90.38
One Captain Morgan is associated with rum. This captain Morgan is all about runs. Not only is the Irish-born star England’s all-time leading run scorer in ODIs, he also recently became the country’s most-capped player too.
His recent form has been tremendous as well. Rather than reel off an endless succession of statistics, it’s easier just to say he’s clubbed over 900 runs in his last 23 ODI matches. That’s averaging almost 50 a game.
He has an armoury full of swashbuckling shots including his iconic reverse sweep. But a career spanning over a decade at the top level has added a level of experience to his game which makes his presence vital.
Like Root, Morgan keeps the scoreboard ticking over. Morgan can perform a range of different shots to keep the bowler guessing. Although he picked up an injury prior to the World Cup, it’s not thought to be serious.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication