The ICC Cricket World Cup is just 2 days away with England playing in the second match against Australia on Day 1 of the World Cup. The dark horses England can strike gold with unexpected thrillers and have the ability to shock the world by winning the title for the first time. Isn’t it odd that a country who introduced the cricket to the world is without a World Cup trophy? The closest they have come to in a World Cup is the finals, that too for three times. The 1987 WC final against Australia was the best for them in the WC where they almost won the title but thanks to Mike Gatting’s reverse sweep which was the turning point in Australia’s WC victory.

England’s WC history:

Year

Position

1975

Semi-Finalists

1979

Runners Up

1983

Semi-Finalists

1987

Runners Up

1992

Runners Up

1996

Quarter-Finalists

1999

First Round

2003

First Round

2007

Super 8’s

2011

Quarter-Finalists

England Squad for the 2015 World Cup:

Captain: Eoin Morgan

Coach: Peter Moores

Batsmen

· Moeen Ali

· Ian Bell

· Alex Hales

· James Taylor

· Gary Ballance

· Joe Root

· Eoin Morgan

Bowlers

· James Tredwell

· Stuart Broad

· James Anderson

· Steven Finn

· Chris Woakes

All-Rounders

· Ravi Bopara

· Chris Jordan

Wicket-Keeper

· Jos Buttler

Strengths:

· A perfect mix and match of batsmen, pace bowlers, medium pace bowlers and spinners

· Dark horses of the World Cup. No real pressure on them, just go out there and perform

· Batting form of Ian Bell and opening between Ian Bell and Moeen Ali is looking confident.

· James Taylor, a perfect no.3 batsman for England

· Having Eoin Morgan as captain and one of the finest finishers in the game in their side.

· Bowling, especially from James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Weakness:

· Middle-order batting

· Eoin Morgan’s inconsistency with the bat

· Too much dependence on James Anderson for early wickets.

· Lack of quality spin bowlers in the side

X- Factor for England in the World Cup:

He has been with the team for not a long time but he was picked for the World Cup. Yes, it is James Taylor, a batsmen who bats with a cricketing sense can be England’s man for the World Cup. If it was not for the tri-series, Gary Ballance would have got his place back in the ODI side. However, James Taylor excellent run with the bat in the tri series and fluency in batting and his technique is the player to watch out for in the tournament. He is watchful at the start but doesn’t miss out on loose deliveries. He mixes caution with aggression perfectly. In a short span, he has cemented a place for him in the World Cup and he will be looking to lick his lips and go out to bat when he steps up against Australia on his World Cup debut.

Impact Players:

1. Ian Bell:

England’s highest run scorer in the ODI’s, Ian Bell, has the ability to bat the entire 50 overs and stay unbeaten. His class and variety of shots is what he is admired for. Englishmen don’t play spin well but Ian Bell is an exception. A gritty batsman and the knack of scoring big runs is what make him an excellent player. He has taken up the opening slot in the World Cup and in the recently concluded tri-series; he has been the man with the bat for England.

2. Jos Butler:

A wicket-keeper batsman, Jos Butler is making into the World Cup for his abilities to finish a game. His unorthodox cricketing style and his cameos in the end makes him an important asset to this English side. Add to that is his excellent keeping skills, be it diving to take a catch or stumping. With early wickets falling, Jos Butler can also play a role of building up an innings. He can even be used as a pinch hitter; which has actually got extinct in ODI cricket nowadays.

3. Eoin Morgan:

The captain himself can step out any day and send those reverse sweeps and paddle scoops for sixes and fours. In the recent tri-series, where the wickets fell early, Morgan stepped up and scored a hundred against India which means he can bat both ways. His captaincy is still yet to be tested, but he is an intelligent cricketer with a big cricketing brain.

4. James Anderson:

We all know about him what he can do with the new ball, with the old ball, with the swing, with the bounce. Now imagine what he will do on Australian pitches where he will get bounce plus swing. An excellent bowler combined with a brain which can read the batsman’s mind, James Anderson is going to be England’s go to man. 

Possible Playing XI: 

Moeen Ali, Ian Bell, James Taylor, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Ravi Bopara, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Steven Finn

England’s Schedule in the ICC World Cup 2015:

Match No.

Date

Against

Venue

Time

1

14-2-2015

Australia

Melbourne

0900 IST

2

20-2-2015

New Zealand

Wellington

0630 IST

3

23-2-2015

Scotland

Christchurch

0330 IST

4

1-3-2015

Sri Lanka

Wellington

0330 IST

5

9-3-2015

Bangladesh

Adelaide

0900 IST

6

13–3-2015

Afghanistan

Sydney

0900 IST

Quarter Finals begin from March 18

Semi-Finals Takes place on March 24 and March 26

Final on March 29 in Melbourne