Skip to content
Brendon McCullum
  1. Cricket
  2. International Cricket

International Cricket: Five things we learned from England's winter tours

England enjoyed a stunning winter in many respects, claiming the T20 World Cup title in Australia, while in Test cricket their new 'Bazball' approach continued to pay off handsomely with four wins from five matches.

No fewer than 34 fixtures were on the schedule for the Three Lions across all formats of the game and they coped admirably with that workload for the most part.

Trophy success Down Under was followed by a stunning 3-0 Test series victory in Pakistan, although white-ball cricket was definitely something of a hit and miss affair under the leadership of Jos Buttler.

Honing into view now is the small matter of a home Ashes series this summer and the defence of their 50-over World Cup in India later on in the year, so what can England take away from their very, very busy winter?

WhatEngland v Australia, Ashes series
WhereEdgbaston, Lord's, Headingley, Old Trafford, The Oval
WhenFriday 16th June - Monday 31st July
How to watchSky Sports
OddsEngland 10/11, Australia 6/4, Draw 6/1

Brook batters opposition into submission

Undoubtedly the find of the winter was Yorkshire batter Harry Brook, who made a simply stunning impact on the Test match stage.

Having featured in the final Test of last summer against South Africa, Brook announced himself in the series whitewash of Pakistan, as he made scores of 153, 87, 9, 109 and 111 - averaging 93.60 and achieving a strike-rate of 93.41.

He then proved those performances were no fluke by taking New Zealand for 329 runs in two Tests, making 89, 54 and 186 before his winter ended on a rare low note as he was run out for nought.

Brook clearly has the game to succeed across all formats and England now have the luxury of knowing who might be the player to carry on the work of Joe Root when he eventually decides to end his illustrious international career.

No end in sight for Anderson

Record wicket-taker James Anderson may now be in his 40s, but he shows no signs of giving up any time soon, although summer Ashes glory may represent a tempting way to bow out after a simply unbelievable career with England.

Both in Pakistan and New Zealand, Anderson was at his metronomic accurate best as he troubled batters as much as he had previously, taking eight wickets at 18.50 against the former and 10 wickets at 16.80 against the latter.

Indeed over the course of the calendar years 2020/23 Anderson has averaged 20.47, 21.74, 19.80 and 16.80, so there are no signals that age is catching up with the England great just yet.

Even better news for England is that Ollie Robinson has made himself a key member of the Test attack and both Jofra Archer and Mark Wood are currently fit again after injuries and are adept across all three formats if called upon.

Teenage spin option emerges

Leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, like team-mate Brook, has given England a glimpse of what has the potential to be a long and distinguished international career.

The 18-year-old has already appeared in all three formats for the Three Lions and his emergence could prove to be very timely, with the likes of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali coming towards the end of their England days.

Left-armer Jack Leach impressed on Test duty over the winter, while Rehan made a superb red-ball debut against Pakistan in Karachi, taking 7-137 in the match.

England have long hankered after a leg-spin option in Test cricket and the Leicestershire youngster may just be the bowler they have been looking for for a number of years.

Related Cricket News

International Cricket: England spoiled by wealth of Ashes options

International Cricket: Stuart Broad and James Anderson make history

International Cricket: Harry Brook continues stunning start to Test career

Opening spots still far from certain

One area where England do have problems still to solve is at the top of their batting order, across all three formats of the game.

In the Test arena, Ben Duckett made the most of his recall by excelling in Pakistan and continuing to impress in New Zealand, but the frustratingly inconsistent Zak Crawley failed to make an impact after starting his Test winter with 122 and 50 against Pakistan in Rawalpindi.

England have invested a lot of time and faith into Crawley, but an average of 27.60 over 33 Tests has to improve if he is to continue on the international stage.

In the white-ball formats England also struggled for top-order runs, a situation not helped by the absence of the injured Jonny Bairstow, who will surely come straight back in when he is fit again, although his route back into the Test side may now be blocked by Brook.

A positive came with Jason Roy rediscovering his touch in making ODI centuries against both South Africa and Bangladesh, having previously lost form to the extent that he missed out on selection for the T20 World cup triumph.

Stokes form suffers with captaincy

All-rounder Ben Stokes may be leading England into a brave new era in Test cricket alongside head coach Brendon McCullum, but his own personal form has to be something of a concern.

The Headingley Ashes hero of 2019's bowling over the winter was heavily restricted by ongoing knee problems, while he was the one batter who seemed not to have entirely grasped the way McCullum wanted his players to approach their innings.

A number of ugly swipes when chasing quick runs contributed to Stokes failing to pass 50 in any of his 10 Test innings against Pakistan and New Zealand, and England will surely need more from their Test leader if they are to win back the Little Urn this summer.

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy