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Why England’s Batting Line-Up can take them to Number One in the world

Watching England amass 399-9 against South Africa in the first One Day International recently has got me thinking; England’s one-day cricket team could take over the world. Who needs bowlers?

Jos Buttler has just put a South African attack to all parts, eventually falling for 105 from 76 balls. Supported ably by Jason Roy (48 from 30), Alex Hales (57 from 47) and Ben Stokes (57 from 38), not to mention arguably the best batsman in world cricket; Joe Root scoring 52.

This is no fluke either; England come off the back of a 3-1 series win over Pakistan in the UAE. Despite a hiccup in the home series to Australia (3-2), prior to that they had blown away New Zealand; scoring in excess of 300 in 4 of the 5 matches played. England’s one-day team are on the way up.

Roy and Hales is an opening partnership who, given time, have the potential to be as dangerous as any other opening pair in world cricket. Although both average around 30 in ODI’s from nearly 50 caps between them, both will surely improve if they are given enough of a chance in the England side. It is no secret they both need to learn to see through an innings; they each have one hundred each so far in ODI’s. The pair must start converting 50s into big scores if England are to take over the world. The England openers must emulate players like Martin Guptill and simply take games away from the opposition.

That’s not to say both Hales and Roy aren’t capable. England must stick by them both, they are relatively young (25 and 27) and aren’t far away from the finished article. They must be given a similar chance to Ben Stokes who has become world class, having been once looking down the barrel.

The rest of the order is strong. As mentioned, Joe Root is arguably the best batsman in the world. Eoin Morgan; a seasoned one-day player, renowned the world around as an excellent finisher. Jos Buttler, an outstanding finisher but also capable of coming in at number 4 and being as destructive as anyone. Ben Stokes, who just one month ago hit the second fastest test double hundred of all time (258 off 198), demonstrating a skill set easily transferred to ODI’s. Not to mention the likes of Moeen Ali (regarded highly enough to open in test cricket), David Willey (multiple T20 hundreds, including a 40 ball hundred to fire Northants to T20 finals day) and Adil Rashid (Rob Key claimed ‘he can do anything with the bat’), coming in at 7, 8 or 9, all more than worthy of a cameo at the end of an innings.

The batting doesn’t stop there. Waiting in the wings are Jonny Bairstow and James Taylor, who could argue they are unfairly not included at this stage having scored runs on this tour already; not to mention the up and coming Lions such as James Vince (captain of a Hampshire side that has dominated one day cricket in recent years).

By no means are any of these players old either – Morgan is a seasoned campaigner but who’s to say England couldn’t field this exact batting line up at the world cup in 3 years time, with 3 years more experience, 3 years more runs under their belts and 3 years practice on the biggest stage for a relatively fresh faced England team? England’s batting line-up is already top-drawer and by the next world cup, they could be world-class.

The bowling is perhaps not as strong but not something they have to worry about. If England continue to score nearly 400 batting first, even I could turn up and bowl ten overs of my leg spin; we’d still win.

By James Cheek

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