Source: SkyCricket via Twitter
England have known only frustration in the past seven years in their bid to secure their second major international crown.
The Three Lions broke their duck at the ICC World T20 competition in 2010 when Paul Collingwood led his side to victory over Australia in the Caribbean.
Since then, England have failed to get over the line in two finals, suffering defeats in the ICC Champions Trophy and the World T20 tournament last year in India.
Both losses were agonising, with Alastair Cook’s men losing by only five runs to India in the 50-over format, although rain cut the match down to 30 at Edgbaston.
Their defeat in the World T20 in 2016 was even more excruciating, as Ben Stokes was blasted for four consecutive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite in the final over, allowing the West Indies to snatch the crown in India.
Eoin Morgan’s men have a talented nucleus of players in their squad and they are considered one of the leading contenders to win the Champions Trophy on home soil, being backed odds of 3/1 to win the competition by bet365, with the bookmaker also offering a matched deposit bonus for new customers.
The Three Lions’ catastrophic failure in the 2015 50-over World Cup has been the springboard to greater success. During and before the tournament England’s conservative approach put them well off the pace of their rivals, culminating in their premature exit in the first round.
Under new head coach Trevor Bayliss, England have adopted an aggressive nature to their batting from the off. This resulted in Morgan’s men breaking the record for the highest one-day international score last year when they smashed 444 runs off their 50 overs against Pakistan at Trent Bridge.
No side in the world has surpassed the 300-run mark more times than Morgan’s men since the end of the 2015 World Cup due to the number of power hitters in the line-up.
Source: TrentBridge via Twitter
Alex Hales ended Robin Smith’s lengthy tenure with the highest individual score in an ODI match in England’s hammering of Pakistan, firing 171 runs. He was disappointed to miss out on a double century, but it appears that it’s only a matter of time before the opener or one of the other talented players in the squad makes the breakthrough.
Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Morgan and Joe Root are capable of destroying any bowling attack in the world, handing the Three Lions an excellent platform to attack their opposition this summer. Almost every team in the competition will be fearful of the quality and the depth of batting posed by England, especially in familiar conditions.
The game has swayed so much in favour of batsmen that it’s necessary for England to rack up 300 runs at a minimum, although their bowling unit should be able to carry their weight.
Perhaps the only area of concern is injuries ahead of the Champions Trophy. Mark Wood has been a vital cog for the Three Lions due to his express pace and ability to use reverse swing late in the innings. However, his long history with ankle, foot and knee problems will always raise doubts over his availability – even though he has returned to action for Durham this term.
Chris Woakes has enhanced his growing reputation with a number of fine performances in the IPL. He has taken over the mantle as England’s senior bowler, with James Anderson and Stuart Broad focusing solely on Test matches.
A lot will be expected of him to thrive in seaming conditions in the tournament and lead the way for Morgan’s men in the wicket column.
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Stokes has managed to put his woes in the World T20 behind him, with a number of quality performances with bat and ball. He is England’s X-factor due to his ability to win a game almost single-handedly, as with his performance in the IPL for Rising Pune Supergiant against Gujarat Lions.
Should those three bowlers fire and receive support from Liam Plunkett and a combination of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali in the spinning department, there’s no reason why England should not be able to lift the trophy aloft come the end of June.
The Three Lions are in one of the strongest positions to win a major crown in their recent history. Coping with expectations will be paramount, with many sides, especially Australia, keen to dent their hopes on home soil.
However, there’s enough experience and talent in the line-up to ensure that England can once again get over the line in a major competition.