What next for this conquering England white-ball side?


Sporting triumph tends to invite reflection.

Where did it all begin? What happened to enable this moment to arrive? Who were the architects of the success?

England’s T20 World Cup win has been no different.

You can plot the journey from Adelaide in 2015 to Melbourne in 2022, via Kolkata and Lord’s, very clearly. From Andrew Strauss, Trevor Bayliss and Eoin Morgan through to Rob Key, Matthew Mott and Jos Buttler.

The change in approach that has taken England from timid white-ball no-hopers to the trailblazing first men’s team to hold both the 50-over and T20 world titles at the same time is well documented.

So, what comes next?

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England’s managing director Rob Key feels the side can go on to become one of the greatest white-ball sides ever following their T20 World Cup success

Greatness. At least that is the aim, with both head coach Mott and managing director Key content enough to talk in such terms since Ben Stokes struck the winning run at the MCG.

“If they keep winning trophies then they could be one of the best we’ve seen – certainly one of the best cricket teams and one of England’s better sporting teams,” Key told Sky Sports.

Meanwhile, Mott took a very strong Australia women’s side and turned them into one of the most dominant sporting teams in living memory.

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Matthew Mott says England want to become the greatest white-ball side ever after winning the T20 World Cup

Asked by Nasser Hussain whether he wanted to do similarly with this England limited overs side, the Australian said: “That’s what we’re about at the moment. World Cups are what you play for.

“In terms of aspiring to be great, that’s definitely the journey that we want to go on.”

In becoming dual world champions, England have arguably already proven themselves to be one of the great limited-overs sides in the history of the game.

West Indies won the first two World Cups in the 1970s. Australia then won three on the bounce between 1999 and 2007, the same year as the inaugural T20 World Cup, won by India.

Can England be put in the same bracket as those great sides? That most would instinctively say not is to a greater or lesser extent due to the brilliance of those teams in Test cricket.

England captain Jos Butler, centre, celebrates with teammates after defeating Pakistan in the final of the T20 World Cup cricket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Image: Are Jos Buttler’s England one of the great white-ball teams in cricket history?

Regardless, this England side has time on its side. They are not done yet.

In the next two years, they will defend both of their world titles and with the depth of talent, the structure and environment they have created, expect Buttler’s side to be among the favourites again.

Winning is another matter. You only need to ask India how difficult it is to win even one world tournament – let alone four in five years.

Even with the largest pool of talent in world cricket, a squad filled with generational talents and the financial might that only England and Australia can really compete with, India have not triumphed at an ICC event since 2011.

England have won two of the last three but would openly admit that, as with any successful team or player, they needed a fair amount of luck to do so. They have also been good enough to make the most of it.

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However, moving forward, the team will also have to adapt and evolve. Of the squad that won in Australia, only four are under 30. Harry Brook is 23, Sam Curran is 24 and Phil Salt 26. The other, Liam Livingstone, will be 30 before the start of the 50-over World Cup in India.

Given how soon it is until the next tournaments, you would not expect to see a huge drop off from the vast majority in the next two years.

In T20 in particular, we have seen players able to play on for longer and maintain their performance level but do England want to arrive in North America in 2024 with a squad dominated by those in their mid-30s?

The likes of Will Jacks, Ben Duckett and Saqib Mahmood would hope not and there is certainly a decision to be made on when to start trying to phase out some of the old guard and give a chance to some of the exciting younger players waiting in the wings.

Sam Curran (Associated Press)
Image: Sam Curran starred at the T20 World Cup but is one of only four players in the England squad under the age of 30

England know they have to be adaptable and that means some of those who shone in Australia might not be guaranteed spots in the squad in India or the Caribbean and USA.

Such a hectic schedule also brings workloads into question. Stokes has already retired from one-day international cricket but after another match-winning effort in Sunday’s final, might the Test captain reconsider his position in time for next year’s 50-over tournament?

If not, then he might find himself tasked with helping to bring through some of those more inexperienced players in the 20-over format as the focus shifts to getting the ODI side primed to defend that title.

With Mott coming in and Buttler as captain, we are in the early stages of a new phase for this England team and they are building on the foundations laid by Bayliss and Morgan.

“Jos got every big decision right [at the T20 World Cup],” Key said. “That gut feel he has, that’s what got them there.

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Mark Butcher says Ben Stokes’ ability to cope with the pressure in the T20 World Cup final was ‘astonishing’

“They’ve been more adaptable and as good as they’ve been (previously), they’ve gone up a notch.”

That sentiment alone should excite England fans. A team that was already far and away the country’s best white-ball side is getting better and have the chance to build a limited-overs dynasty.

Enough reflecting and looking into the future, though. England are double world champions. This is a moment to savour.

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