How good is this New England Cricket Team?

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Published on: Jul 02, 2022

Although Joe Root is arguably one of the best batsmen in the world and is currently number one in the ICC rankings, he was unable to fully convince as an England captain and made way for Ben Stokes earlier this year. It is fair to say that everything has gone right for England since then.

England has won both the opening tests of a three-game series against New Zealand – and the best betting sites all have the host to win the third at Headingley at the end of the month. Has Ben Stokes turned England’s fortunes around? Or is something else going on? Read on to find out.

Victory Over New Zealand

New Zealand is the current World Test Championship holders and came into this current series confident of beating England on its own turf. But two wins so far – including that sensational runs chase at Trent Bridge has given the series to England and now the Kiwis are playing for pride at Headingly.

Set 299 to win, with just 72 overs to achieve that total, there was a chance that England could win the second test. But it was the manner of the victory that has made headlines and announced this new England to the world. Ben Stokes is no stranger to a dramatic innings and he oversaw his players take to the task with relish.

There are still some questions over the selection of the team but England will now have greater confidence ahead of the third test. But after the disappointment of the Ashes and the series defeat to the West Indies in March, there is definitely renewed hope concerning this England test side.

New Captain, New Coach

Ben Stokes has taken many of the plaudits after England confirmed the series win over New Zealand. It is fair to say that this team is now playing in the way that Stokes himself approaches games, so that is probably fair. But the change in coach cannot be ignored either.

New Zealander Brendan McCullum took over the head coach duties and it is clear that his way of playing the game is having an immediate effect. He still holds the record for the fastest century in test cricket and England is now being moulded in his likeness. England is becoming an attacking force and throwing off the constraints of the past.

The Bigger Picture

For all England’s success and celebrations after the victories over New Zealand, the World Test Championship table does not actually make for pleasant reading. England has played by far the most tests of anyone in the competition but still lies next to bottom, with only Bangladesh below.

This was the first test series win in the current cycle and, with just two series left, it seems unlikely that England will make the final. The format of the competition is not the clearest but the defeats of the old regime have left far too much to do for Stokes and McCullum to claim this honour.

What’s Next for England?

The next piece of business for England is the final game of the current test series against New Zealand. Another win at Headingley would show that the run chase at Trent Bridge was not a one-off fluke and that England is able to beat the best – at least on home soil.

As far as the test side is concerned, there is another three-game series against South Africa at the end of the summer and then three tests against Pakistan at the end of the year. Some positive results in both of those series would do wonders for England’s position in the test-playing cricket world.

Getting a good result in both series is easier said than done though. Stokes and McCullum need to keep the current feeling going within the squad and instil this new way of playing as a default if further success is possible.



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