ENGLAND’S star-studded batting line-up has garnered most of the column inches in the build-up to the World Cup on home soil this summer.
But the key man for the host nation is actually Adil Rashid
– according to former England ace Sajid Mahmood.
While Rashid’s place in the Test side continues to
fluctuate, the leg-spinner only featured in the first Test against the West
Indies, his place in the white-ball team is beyond reproach.
So often the scourge of the middle overs, the wrist spinner
even showed signs of his talents bowling at the death in the Caribbean.
He claimed four wickets in five balls in the 48th over of
the dramatic fourth ODI in St George’s and yet continues to dovetail superbly
with Moeen Ali outside of the powerplays.
“You’d probably have to say Adil Rashid is the key. He’s a
massive wicket-taker who breaks up good partnerships,” said Mahmood.
“You’ve also got Liam Plunkett who does a similar sort of
thing, taking wickets in the middle period and then you’ve got Mark Wood and
Chris Woakes who take wickets up front.
“But I think the crucial man who, if he does well we’ve got
a good chance, is going to be Adil Rashid.
“This bowling side have shown over the last few years that
if they stick to their strengths, and the biggest thing is they’ve got home
fans and home advantage so they should know how the pitches are going to play
and use that to their advantage. There’s a lot of countries without as much
experience with the pitches as our players have.”
Mahmood was a key part of the 2007 England side that were dumped out of the World Cup after the Super 8s. If you think England can go far further in 2019 then check out this bookmaker.
But fast forward 12 years, and the former Lancashire seamer
is confident that England will not only make the semi-finals, but go all the
“I think they’ve got a really good chance. A lot of people
have been asking me who I think will win. I say England every single time, I
think they’ve got a well-balanced team.
“They’ve got a lot of match winners in there and if one or
two of them come off they can take teams apart.”
And there is no need for England to gamble on Jofra Archer,
according to Mahmood.
“I think England have got a strong all-round team. The
batting speaks for itself, it has done for the past two to three years,” he
“Bowling-wise, they’ve had a couple of injuries with Chris
Woakes being injured a few times, Adil and Mo have been pretty consistent the
last two or three years.
“There’s a lot of talk about Archer coming in but I’m not
sure he’ll play much seeing as he’s not had that much experience and it’s such
a big tournament.”
ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour, driven by Nissan, has commenced its 100-day tour of England and Wales and will be at over 100 locations and events before arriving back in London ready for the opening match on May 30.
BRADLEY WEST / Photo: Getty Images