Ahead of the first T20I against Australia at the Ageas Bowl, we have put together our England Predicted XI.
Eoin Morgan’s side drew their recent series against Pakistan after losing a thrilling final match at Old Trafford earlier this week.
He has a stronger squad to choose from against the Aussies, though, due to the return of several Test players and will be hoping to capitalise on any rustiness from Aaron Finch’s team, who haven’t played an international match since March.
Morgan has already confirmed that with Jason Roy out through injury, the returning Jos Buttler will open the batting and he will be partnered by Jonny Bairstow, despite the Yorkshireman’s relative struggles against Pakistan [Sky Sports].
The order of the next three batsmen is up for debate, but their selection is not.
Dawid Malan, Tom Banton and Morgan himself are set to take up the three, four and five slots, after all making strong contributions in recent times.
Moeen Ali was under major pressure heading into the last match but his classy 61 almost took his side to victory and he’s likely to drop down to six to accommodate Buttler.
Now, for a more controversial pick.
The absence of Ben Stokes in the squad due to personal reasons has opened up a spot for an all-rounder which was filled by Lewis Gregory during the Pakistan series.
Yet, the Somerset star has since returned to his county and with Liam Livingstone only named as a reserve, Joe Denly is the only one who fits the bill.
England can’t afford to go into the game with only five bowling options, so although he may feel unfortunate to miss out, we’re backing Sam Billings to make way for his Kent teammate.
Denly averages less than 10 with the bat from 11 T20I innings’, but the 34-year-old’s handy leg-spin looks set to earn him a spot.
Now, to the out-and-out bowlers.
Adil Rashid is a certain pick for England in white-ball cricket and he is set to keep his place alongside the skilful Chris Jordan, who recorded strong figures of 2-29 last time out.
Given that Saqib Mahmood has only been named as a reserve for this series, he will definitely make way, though, and should be joined on the sidelines by Tom Curran.
The Surrey star has plenty of tricks up his sleeve and is capable with the bat at the back end, but England would be crazy to overlook the raw pace of Mark Wood and the X-factor Jofra Archer for the first match.
There’s a Ben Stokes-shaped hole in this England T20I Predicted XI but the side is relatively well-balanced and should give the star-studded Australian team a run for their money.
Our England Predicted XI for the first T20I vs Australia at the Ageas Bowl:
- Jos Buttler
- Jonny Bairstow
- Dawid Malan
- Eoin Morgan
- Tom Banton
- Moeen Ali
- Joe Denly
- Chris Jordan
- Jofra Archer
- Mark Wood
- Adil Rashid