OPINION: An ‘Alternative Universe’ England T20 Team

By Andy Frombolton

Following the announcement of the England T20 squad, my mind turns to a possible counterfactual universe.

Several members of the current England squad enjoyed a considerable run in the team before eventually repaying the selectors’ faith; whilst conversely, more recently, a significant number of players have been picked and subsequently jettisoned without being given a decent run to prove (or disprove) the wisdom of their selection.

As we approach the T20 World Cup, I thought therefore it might be fun to choose a team of uncapped players who – had they been picked several years ago and given similar opportunities – might now be mainstays of the England T20 squad. I mused with a ‘less than 10 caps’ cut-off point as I’d like to have been able to pick both the Smiths (Bryony and Linsey), but the final selection criterion is binary, i.e. a player cannot have played a single match for England to be considered.

In picking the team, I also sought to address some of the weaknesses evident in many national squads, such as the lack of top-order left hand batters and too many weak fielders. 

I’ve also chosen not to be bound by conventional team structures; meaning, for instance, that my team only has 1 opening quick bowler since there wasn’t an obvious second option with good enough stats to justify their inclusion. 

But the team does have an incredible 10 genuine bowling options including 2 leggies (Levick and Armitage), 2 offies (Morris and Adams), plus Kelly’s ambidextrous offerings; ideal considering that the vast majority of batters, even at international level, score far more slowly off slow bowling. The team bats down to 9 with the option to use Gibson and/or Norris as sacrificial opening pinch-hitters, meaning Adams may need to drop herself down the batting order if the innings gets off to a good start.

The XI:

  • Eve Jones
  • Bess Heath (wk)
  • Georgia Adams (capt)
  • Aylish Cranstone
  • Marie Kelly
  • Holly Armitage
  • Dani Gibson
  • Naomi Dattani
  • Fi Morris
  • Tara Norris
  • Katie Levick

“In counterfactual history, nothing is certain” (Robert Dallek).

Did I overlook any obvious candidates (and who then gets left out)? Conversely who should I have left out (and who gets their place instead)? Share your thoughts!

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