England must be one of the prominent ODI teams these days but there has been the difference between their 50-over form and T20 exploits. England have bagged four and lost five of their 9 matches in T20, since their final World T20 played in 2016. A team with such a huge talent of limited overs must be better, when looking at the unpredictable nature of T20 cricket.
The T20 team’s inconsistency stands in stark of the side of 50-over matches which has won 8 of the 9 series. England lost one-off against West Indies in shortest format last September after good 2-1 in series against South Africa couple of months ago. They lost the series to Pakistan (1-0) and India (2-1) over the past 18 months along with the victory against Sri Lanka (1-0).
One of the main reasons behind this inconsistency is unsettled T20 side of England. Over the 9 T20i matches, they have 21 players in use since the final in Kolkata, a match which seemed to have been in their control until Ben Stokes has been hit by Carlos Brathwaite for four sizes in the last over. When comparing it to the consistency showed by England in their selection of ODI, England used only 22 players in 38 matches of 50 overs over the same time period.
There are different reasons behind the disparity. England used the recent T20 matches as a chance to rest the players as well as the next Trans-Tasman Tri-Series coming soon with Australia and New Zealand. Moeen Ali, Joe Root, and Chris Woakes all are allowed to go home after busy Test and ODI season and there were just three players playing in all 9 of T20 matches in England since that match played in Kolkata.
When England rarely has their best in T20 over the past 18 months due to squad rotation policy, it has enabled them to use the format in a way to bring players to international platform and getting them familiar to the coaches, the scrutiny and expectation of international level.
Seamer Tom Curran, leg-spinner Mason Crane, and batsman Dawid Malan made their debuts in England in T20 during last summer and they all also played in Ashes series. There are understandable changes and chopping. The ODI team had Champions Trophy of last year to focus on. It was a key target which promoted consistency in selection and they also moved their attention to 50-over World Cup next year. Next T20 World Cup is not with the gap of four years between significant T20 competitions until 2020 in Australia and England had hard time experimenting in short format.
It goes without saying that the record of England in T20s since World T20 final is mixed. The inaugural two group tri-series against Australia were played and two matches against New Zealand before final which gives opportunity to the players of Eoin Morgan to find the groove once more in 20-over format and start preparing for Australia’s World Cup within 2 years.