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T20 World Cup: Explosive England can out-bat anyone but bowlers look key

England’s limited overs teams underwent their own reset long before the Test side had even dreamed of ‘Bazball’ but they go into the T20 World Cup in Australia on the heels of another revamp following the retirement of captain Eoin Morgan.

Morgan turned a struggling team into one where aggression and risk was rewarded, and crucially where failure did not automatically mean punishment.

A shrewd captain and master accumulator, Morgan has been replaced as skipper by wicketkeeper/opener Jos Buttler, while also gone from the side is prolific opener Jason Roy.

The next generation have stepped up and brought even more batting aggression, ensuring England, who like to bowl first, will back themselves to chase any target.

They do not appear to have settled on a first-choice line-up but that is mainly because they have an embarrassment of batting riches, with some of the big names rested for the recent series in Pakistan.

The explosive Alex Hales is back from three years in the wilderness as a seamless replacement for Roy and has already given a succession of reminders of his prodigious hitting.

Buttler should open with him, with new man Phil Salt offering a top-quality alternative. Harry Brook, prolific in Pakistan, slots in perfectly at five for Morgan.

Ben Stokes brings his own special magic on his return to the shortest format, while Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Buttler and Moeen Ali ensure that England bat deep and powerfully.

England’s hopes of adding to their solitary T20 World Cup title in 2010, however, probably depend more on the consistency of their bowlers, who lack the all-out firepower of their main rivals.

What they do have though is vast experience, and in wrist spinner Adil Rashid they also have someone who brings the ‘X-factor’.

Rashid’s extraordinary control and consistency ensures he is not only parsimonious but forces batsmen to take risks against him and elsewhere once he has tied them down.

Seamer Sam Curran, pace man Mark Wood and death-overs specialist Chris Jordan offer Buttler good variety, backed up by the wicket-taking explosiveness of Stokes and options from Moeen and possibly Chris Woakes.

Surprisingly, Malan (6th) and Rashid (9th) are the only two England players in the top 10 of the ICC’s T20 batting and bowling rankings but England will argue that proves they do not have to rely on one or two stars.

That was evident when they continued their preparations with an impressive 2-0 series win in Australia, where a good spread of players made telling contributions.

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