Preview: England at the ICC T20 World Cup 2024

Holders England must guard against complacency as they seek to win a record third T20 World Cup title.

Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler will lead England's title defence at the T20 World Cup [Matthew Childs/Reuters]

Captain: Jos Buttler
Fixtures: Scotland (June 4), Australia (June 8), Oman (June 13), Namibia (June 15)
Best finish at T20 World Cup: Champions (2010 and 2022)

England must learn their lessons from their humbling exit at the 2023 Cricket World Cup as they seek to defend the T20 World Cup at the 2024 edition in the United States and West Indies, according to former England batter Roland Butcher.

Jos Buttler’s team defeated Pakistan by five wickets in the final in Australia two years ago to lift the T20 World Cup for the second time, following their 2010 victory, but England’s defence of their 50-over crown never got out of first gear as they were eliminated at the group stage in India.

However, Butcher believes England “have learned their lessons” since their disappointing seventh-placed finish last year.

“You can’t be complacent at any time during this World Cup,” Butcher told Al Jazeera.

“Sometimes, when you win a competition, it can have the effect of overconfidence, which can look like complacency.”

Archer holds the key for England

Butcher, who was born in Barbados but moved to England as a child, was the first Black player to represent England.

The 70-year-old made his Test debut on the island of his birth against the feared pace quartet of Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Colin Croft and Joel Garner in 1981.

Having been at the receiving end of legendary fast bowlers’ wrath, Butcher knows that pace holds the key in his country of birth. He underlined the importance of Jofra Archer’s return from injury and back into wicket-taking form for England.

Butcher, who was a West Indies team selector until this year, believes the Caribbean-born Archer will give Buttler’s team an edge.

“England will be glad to have Archer back and will have greater belief that they can win the World Cup,” he said.

“Bowlers who can do something special at certain times, especially when you need it, are very important.”

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(Al Jazeera)

However, experts believe that spin bowling will be the key to success in the Caribbean.

The drop-in pitches in the US will suit fast bowlers but the West Indies, where England play all four of their group matches and the tournament will shift in the latter stages, has become renowned for producing turning tracks.

According to Butcher, England are well-suited to cope with the conditions especially with spin all-rounder Liam Livingstone in their side.

“The pitches in the Caribbean will still favour the spin bowlers, even though there has been a lot of work put in,” Butcher said.

“England have a very strong batting unit, if they all play well, someone like Livingstone could have a big impact.

“Teams will come with a heavy diet of spin and someone like him, who can bat and bowl, could be quite a key player for England.”

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(Al Jazeera)

Three players to watch

Jos Buttler: England’s captain and one of cricket’s superstars, the 33-year-old has been integral to his country’s white-ball success in the last five years.

The right-hander won the Indian Premier League with Mumbai Indians in 2017 and, in 2022, joined Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as the only players to have recorded five centuries in a single IPL season.

Jofra Archer: The right-arm seamer bowled the Super Over for England in the 2019 Cricket World Cup final victory at Lord’s, London, against New Zealand but has been plagued by injuries ever since.

The Barbados-born 29-year-old’s pace and knowledge of local conditions could pave England’s path to success.

Liam Livingstone: The all-rounder, who grew up bowling on the turning tracks of Old Trafford in Manchester, is a white-ball specialist for his country and was part of the title-winning side in 2022.

The right-handed batter, who can bowl both off and leg spin, has played for Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals at the IPL and is a seasoned veteran at T20 competitions in South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.

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(Al Jazeera)
Source: Al Jazeera