One change, a simple decision that any cricket fan outside the ECB would have made months ago, is all it took for England’s chances to win the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next month to shorten.
Having been 10/1 to win their first 50-over tournament while Alastair Cook was plodding along as skipper, the appointment of Eoin Morgan to replace the Essex left-hander has seen those odds shrink, ever so slightly, to 8s in the ante-post betting.
It’s amazing to fathom how one man held back a side so much, but Cook for all his mental strength and superb run-scoring ability, was just not cut out to be a modern-day limited overs player, let alone captain.
While the change may have boosted English hopes for World Cup victory, the ECB’s delay of the decision until two months prior to the tournament can’t have helped matters much.
Now instead of a long, extensive period of fact-finding for Morgan and his troops, England must get used to their new leader quickly over the space of a triangular series with Australia and India Down Under after Christmas, before being thrown into the deep end at the World Cup in February.
Morgan’s own form is both well documented and a worry, but the thinking is that captaincy can spark his batting in the polar opposite way it stymied Cook in coloured kit.
Without Cook, England look to have a one-day side that can finally match the cut-and-thrust mentality the rest of the world takes to the game, with Alex Hales and Moeen Ali sure to tee-off as opening partners and Ravi Bopara, Morgan and Jos Buttler available to provide more fireworks in the latter order.
In between, James Taylor and Joe Root are expected to provide the oil that keeps England’s batting machine purring, while with the ball the additions of James Anderson and Stuart Broad to two of Steven Finn, Chris Woakes, James Tredwell and Chris Jordan makes for a skilled, hostile and intelligent attack.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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