England aim to put best foot forward in T20 World Cup title defence

Defending champions face Scotland in their tournament opener on Tuesday

Harry Brook bats during England's training session alongside captain Jos Buttler in Barbados. Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

England begin their T20 World Cup defence on Tuesday with a lot of hope and a bit of scepticism.

England lifted the T20 crown in Melbourne in 2022 after defeating Pakistan in a thrilling final and will be confident of repeating the feat in the Caribbean and US this month.

However, this edition of the T20 World Cup is already looking a lot more challenging than many expected, and Jos Buttler's team would do well to be ready for any surprises.

Hosts West Indies found the going very tough against Associate side Papua New Guinea, with batsmen struggling to impose themselves on a sluggish surface in Guyana.

The next game between Oman and Namibia in Barbados turned out to be a low-scoring classic as Namibia prevailed in a Super Over after both teams were tied on the score of 109.

Already, there are signs that surfaces in the Caribbean and US could prove to be challenging for the batsmen and that could close the gap between the more established and smaller teams.

England will be keen to avoid any sort of scare against Scotland on Tuesday in Bridgetown – a ground that proved particularly difficult for batting on Sunday. Moreover, weather will pose a constant threat. England managed to avoid morning showers to get a full net session on Sunday but the forecast for match day is not encouraging.

However, batsman Harry Brook is confident about his team's chances – and his own form heading into the tournament.

Brook, 25, withdrew from the five-match Test tour of India in January after his grandmother took ill and he pulled out of the Indian Premier League when she passed away, before kicking off the domestic season with Yorkshire.

Brook used his time away from international cricket to sharpen up physically.

"I had that long break – four or five months off – so I just tried to nail it as soon as I got home," Brook said.

"I just tried to train as hard as possible, trying to lose a bit of weight and trying to get a bit leaner.

"I think for me, batting in the middle order, taking twos are going to be quite a big thing for my game. I've been trying to get quicker at running over the last 12-18 months so hopefully it's made a difference. It's fast hands as well, losing a bit of weight may make your hands go a bit quicker, and it helps in the field as well.

"It wasn't in the nicest circumstances but that time with family was the most important thing for me. Trying to spend as much time as I could with my grandma at that time was the right call and I don't regret it for a minute."

Ben Stokes, the hero of their last T20 World Cup win, will not be available as the star all-rounder has decided to focus on red-ball cricket. However, the Englishmen have another potential match-winner in their ranks in the form of fast bowler Jofra Archer.

Archer has been plagued by injuries since guiding the team to the 2019 ODI title and has been in and out of the side due to elbow and back problems.

England will be hoping Archer can give it his all this time as he has admitted that he might not have another round of injuries and recovery left in him.

Updated: June 03, 2024, 2:17 PM