Can England become the best in the world in both 50-over and 20-over cricket? Mark Robinson, the coach of the team, doesn’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility.
In fact, Robinson thinks that being underdogs at the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 next month will work well for the team, exactly as it did at the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017.
‘World-class’, he called his bunch of players, who have beaten Australia, New Zealand India and South Africa in T20 Internationals in the past few months and are third in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s T20I Team Rankings.
“We will take quite a lot of the players to the Caribbean who have made a move in their game in T20. Nat Sciver, Heather Knight, Tammy Beaumont are proven world-class international 50-over players – they probably haven't quite done it in the shorter format on a regular basis but I think they are very good players,” Robinson told Sky Sports.
Among the players to have adapted to the shortest game well is Danielle Wyatt, one of only two players – Deandra Dottin of the Windies is the other – to score two T20I centuries, and Amy Jones, the wicket-keeper batter.
“Danni Wyatt showed (her quality) in her hundred at Canberra (against Australia last year); Amy Jones did this summer, but can they now do it on a big stage? That was the challenge when we went into the 50-over World Cup at home,” said Robinson.
“I knew they had made a move but could they show it on the world stage? That's where there are similarities (between the two events). I haven't really thought about (the possibility of being world champions in both formats simultaneously), because you become focused on who is going to get picked, the batting order, who'll be at three because Sarah Taylor is missing.
“But it's important to dream, that's what I've said to the players. To make everyone and all those who work in women's cricket proud. It would be fantastic.”
Taylor’s absence, indeed, leaves a big hole in the England line-up. She is one of the premier batters in the game – ranked 11th in the world – and arguably the best wicket-keeper too.
But England have been trying out new players, and are hopeful of plugging the Taylor-sized gap. And the results have been positive on the whole.
“We took a young team to India to experiment. We beat Australia, beat India and then lost in the final. We beat New Zealand and South Africa in T20s, so we have got some good results,” Robinson pointed out.
We want our batters to explode and play entertaining, eye-catching innings, while we feel our bowling improved in the summer and we want to continue that
“Whether we are ready (to win the World T20), I'm not so sure. You're never quite sure as a coach – we don't play enough games to know – but by the end of November we will know, for good or for bad.”
More importantly, from Robinson’s point of view, is that England are a team on the rise, and the task is to make them as good as they can be.
“Sometimes it's not just about winning games. You can play really well and get pipped at the post by someone having a special day, so it's important you judge it correctly and identify where you are as a team,” he said.
“We want to win, that's a given, but from my point of view you want performances from your team and players that show you are going in the right direction. We want our batters to explode and play entertaining, eye-catching innings, while we feel our bowling improved in the summer and we want to continue that. If we do that in this World Cup, we will have a chance.”
If England are to win it in the Caribbean, Wyatt might well have to play a big role for Heather Knight’s team.
“Danni is a major player for us and has a chance to win a game for us by herself, like a Lizelle Lee, a Sophie Devine, a Suzie Bates, an Alyssa Healy,” acknowledged Robinson. “Danni is in that bracket – she's someone the opposition want to get out as they know she can hurt them.”
England’s World T20 campaign begins with a game against Sri Lanka in Gros Islet on 10 November.
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