England’s series victory against Pakistan was a huge confidence-booster since they were missing key players.
However, this success has also given them some welcome selection headaches.
England has seen a captaincy change in the T20 format.
Also, they lost white-ball series’ to India and South Africa. So there was a lot of uncertainty about their best T20 team.
The biggest issue facing England was Jason Roy’s sudden loss of form and Jonny Bairstow’s foot injury while playing golf.
Alex Hales or Phil Salt?
While Jos Buttler will play as the opener, his partner will be either Alex Hales or Phil Salt.
Hales scored 53 off 40 balls in the opening match to press his claim. However, Salt’s explosive 88* in the penultimate match of the series bolstered his chances by a huge margin.
Hales’ poor fielding is also factor that works in Salt’s favour, for now. Another consideration is that Salt can also keep wickets, if Buttler continues to be injured.
To balance that, Hales has a great record in Australia, where he was the leading run-scorer in the 2019 Big Bash League. Additionally, he has more international experience than Salt.
Regardless, England will be happy that they have two solid options.
The English middle order
Before scoring 78* in the series decider, Dawid Malan’s lack of runs was also troubling for England.
His return to scoring is great news for England and means he will continue to occupy the No.3 spot.
Harry Brook’s stellar series with the bat means that he can also command a place.
The big-hitting duo of Ben Stokes and Liam Livingstone will also be automatic selections.
Livingstone can also bowl handy off-spin and allows England the luxury of including Moeen Ali or Sam Curran at No. 7.
Buttler needs to fire
Buttler’s form before injury this year has been below his best.
Though he had a phenomenal IPL, he has scored only 87 runs across six T20Is in 2022.
His form will determine how far England will go, in the tournament.
The bowling line up
Mark Wood is a surest selection.
Capable of hitting 150 kmph, he showed that his elbow injury had had no impact on his bowling speeds, in Pakistan.
Chris Woakes also struck form and managed to pick up four wickets in the matches he played.
Chris Jordan will join up with the squad in Australia, though a finger injury kept him out of the Pakistan series.
Jordan is vital to the English side as he is a fine exponent of death bowling, a skill that is essential in T20 cricket.
The remaining spot in the pace department will be filled by David Willey or Reece Topley.
On the hard surfaces in Australia, Topley’s height and left-arm angle may give him the edge over the rest.
Adil Rashid’s form may be of some concern, with the leggie averaging 44.80 with the ball in Pakistan.
Despite this, he remains a certainty as the only specialist spinner in the squad.
Overall, England look in great shape and can be counted as one of the contenders for the trophy.