Nasser Hussain feels Tymal Mills will have to fill the void left by Jofra Archer (injured) if England want to do well in the T20 World Cup. The former England captain is also worried about Eoin Morgan’s form and wants the current skipper to return back to his best as soon as possible. England are set to face India in a warm-up match on Monday (October 18).
"The first thing to say is England remain a fabulous Twenty20side and have a very strong chance of completing a white-ball World Cup double here in the next month. But there are issues they must address in their two warm-up games for this tournament, starting against India today, because they are in a slightly different place than they were ahead of what became their 50-over World Cup-winning campaign in 2019," Hussain wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.
"England have had to learn to live without Archer in all formats but it’s most keenly felt in T20 Cricket because he is one of the best in the world, whether it be wicket-taking with the new ball in his bowling at the death or with his economy rate. Eoin Morgan has had time to work on replacing a man who is effectively two bowlers in one but today’s game and Wednesday’s warm-up against New Zealand give him the chance to focus especially on the death bowling issues that have not yet been fully resolved.
"That is where Tymal Mills comes in as one of the best death bowlers in world franchise cricket and that makes him a key figure, because even someone with the experience of Chris Jordan hasn’t quite got it right in recent times. It is an aspect of T20cricket England have to master because, as we saw in the last World Cup final five years ago, they can get 90 percent of their game spot on and then lose it by conceding four sixes in the last over."
Amongst the top-10 T20I teams, England have the worst economy rate (10.2) in the death overs since 2020. Hussain also wants England to be careful with Dawid Malan. The top-ranked T20I batter is someone who takes time to get going and Hussain feels England do have some outstanding options if Malan doesn’t fire.
"Malan's stats are incredibly good but they also tell you he takes time and uses up deliveries in the powerplay and then catches up. That is fine in most places around the world but on the slow and used pitches of the United Arab Emirates, the powerplay is absolutely vital because it gets harder and harder to catch up. I would give Malan first dibs at No 3 because he’s earned it but there are other options.
"Chennai Super Kings used Moeen Ali differently to England in this year's IPL and Morgan would have seen first-hand in the final how effective he can be higher up the order. Moeen has been out of England’s side and when he has played it has been lower down the order, but the pitches will turn here and both the bowling of spin and playing of it will be paramount, which makes him a potentially important figure.
"As too will be Liam Livingstone, who last summer was the man who lifted England to those above-par scores. His emergence as their best finisher has been magnificent and after a quiet IPL he must now show he can still smash it on these pitches."
However, the biggest worry for the England team management will be Morgan's horrible form. In the recently concluded Indian Premier League 2021, the left-hander only scored 133 runs in 17 matches at an average of 11.08 and a strike rate of 95.68.
"Then there is the form of the captain himself. Morgan’s leadership, as we saw with Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, is as good as ever and in big tournaments England would not want anybody else in charge. The players hang on his every word. But he has been very short of runs and he will want to put that right against India or New Zealand.
"We have to remember Morgan is unique and has gone through spells like this. Then it usually just takes one good innings, everything clicks and he doesn’t look back. England want him to get on another positive streak as soon as possible. That, particularly in the absence of another player of experience in Ben Stokes, would be a very important part of completing the England World Cup jigsaw.
"It is good England are playing two teams of quality from the other group in India and New Zealand ahead of Saturday’s tournament opener against West Indies, because they need to be properly tested on the pitches they will find here. England remain a team full of power but they showed in the50-over World Cup they can adapt to slower surfaces and in low scoring games. Now they have to do the same over the shorter distance. Then they can complete that unique World Cup double.”