By no stretch of the imagination are England among the favourites for this year's World Cup. In fact, they have never really come close to winning in the last couple of decades. Even though they beat India twice in the tri-series recently, and that too rather comprehensively, they still head into the World Cup as an unsettled outfit. Australia exposed the gulf between the two teams every time they met in the tri-series. In the World Cup, they will come up against more stronger teams like Australia, and their resolve and talent would be definitely tested. Whether England can find a way to work around their weaknesses is the major question.
The reason England might be somewhat unsettled going into the World Cup is because they made a change in guard rather late in the day. Alastair Cook was at the helm of affairs for nearly a couple of years. But, when the team for the World Cup was announced, he was dumped both as leader and player. His exclusion from the one day team wasn't as shocking. He hadn't been performing for a while now. The problem was that it came too close to the World Cup. Eoin Morgan was handed over the reins instead of Cook, and had only the tri-series to get a feel of leadership in the one-day format.
Eoin Morgan: With Kevin Pietersen not part of the England outfit anymore, Morgan is the team's most dangerous player. He is a complete ODI package, who can rotate the strike around at will, and is capable of smashing the big strokes when the time arrives. It remains to be seen how he deals with the pressure of being leader in the mega event. A massive test in store for the left-hander.
James Anderson: The paceman is one of the most experienced bowlers in the World Cup. He doesn't possess a great World Cup record averaging in the 40s, but Anderson has time to set things right this time. He is heading into the event on a high, being in very good wicket-taking form. It goes without saying that England would be heavily dependent on him when it comes to claiming wickets whether at the start of the innings, in the middle or towards the end.
Jos Buttler: He is an offbeat choice when it comes to picking out key players. Being the wicket-keeper in the team, he most often might not be needed. But, the fact is that whenever he has batted, he has been extremely impressive on most occasions. In the do-or-die clash against India in the tri-series, it was his knock that proved to be the difference between victory and defeat. His big hitting skills can be matched by few.
James Tredwell: Spinners are not expected to play a major role in the tournament barring for a few venues that would assist spin. However, Tredwell's strength is his accuracy. If he can keep things tight at one end, the likes of Anderson can put further pressure on the opposition bowling. If he can chip in with some wickets as well, nothing better for England.
Squad: Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Joe Root, James Taylor, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes
February 14 vs Australia at Melbourne
February 20 vs New Zealand at Wellington
February 23 vs Scotland at Christchurch
March 1 vs Sri Lanka at Wellington
March 9 vs Bangladesh at Adelaide
March 13 vs Afghanistan at Sydney
--By A Cricket Analyst