Winning the T20 World Cup is huge

Winning the World T20 in 2010 was one of my career highlights, for sure.

Even though the format was still relatively new then, being in the first England side to win a major international event was quite something.

And there are elements of that team that this year’s England side must follow if they are to follow in our footsteps and win it in 2021.

We had lots of variation in our bowling attack.

Ryan Sidebottom provided a left-arm angle, so I’m really happy to see Tymal Mills involved in this England squad.

You need a quality spinner, and Adil Rashid has clearly proved that he rivals Graeme Swann with the white ball.

But most importantly, you need your top three to fire. Myself, Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter all performed in 2010 and England certainly have the firepower to do the same this time.

The Dawid Malan dilemma

The Dawid Malan situation is a tough one.

His numbers are good and I don’t think it would be right to write him off this soon before the tournament.

I think he deserves a place in the team but should be used much more flexibly as a floater rather than a set No. 3.

If Jason Roy and Jos Buttler get off to a really good start, then Jonny Bairstow can come in at three and keep whacking it.

But if they lose a wicket in the first couple of overs, or conditions look tricky, then Malan plays a very important role.

He’s worked on his power game a lot over the last few months, practising his range-hitting at the IPL and then in the build-up to this event.

His numbers are good and I don’t think it would be right to write him off this soon before the tournament. You back him, give him a chance to start with, and see how it plays out.

Conditions could be good news for the minnows

Conditions are not going to be as good as they should be during this tournament, particularly in Sharjah.

I certainly wouldn’t want to be coming up against a qualifier in Sharjah, because the worse the conditions, the closer together the two teams come.

A team like Afghanistan could do some real damage there, with their wrist-spinners and pace-off bowlers. They play their first match there.

I’m also excited to see how Ireland go under Graeme Ford.

Ford is my mentor, I love him to bits, and there’s no doubt that if anybody can get the best from a team it’s him. He is one of the great people in cricket, as a bloke and as a coach.

I know from personal experience that Ireland can bloody noses at major events and they can go very well again under him.

My World Cup predictions

Champions: England

I think it’s between India and England, it’s always tough to call between two good teams in the T20 format.

I do think Morgan’s team have got a really good chance, though.

Every single team fear England. Their firepower with the bat is the envy of other players on the circuit.

They play without fear, without consequences, and when you have the backing of everybody in the dressing room to do what you do then you’re going to get results.

I think the selection of Mills swings it in their direction.

Dark horses: Pakistan

Pakistan are probably slipping under the radar because none of their players play in the IPL, but they are a fantastic T20 team.

Babar Azam is a quality performer, and they have some dangerous bowlers, too.

They always seem to come good at major events. They won the 2017 Champions Trophy when everybody was backing against them and even beat England, who went onto win the tournament, at the 2019 World Cup.

Top run-scorer: Rohit Sharma

Rohit is just a class act in all formats in all conditions.

He is very unlikely to struggle for form in this tournament, such is his consistency, and we know that the top of the innings is the best time to bat.

I’m pretty sure I won’t be far away with this one.

Top wicket-taker: Shaheen Afridi

Shaheen is another key reason why I expect Pakistan to go so well.

He’s brilliant with the new ball and I expect him to make mincemeat of a few top orders that fancy themselves.

Player of the tournament: Glenn Maxwell

Like Pakistan, Australia are going under the radar.

They have a superb pace attack, and they also have a stunning T20 player in red-hot form in their ranks.

Maxwell was unbelievable for RCB in the IPL recently, scoring four 50s in five innings, and could win Australia some matches by himself.

I think if he can take them through the group stage and into the latter stages, this could be remembered as Maxwell’s tournament.

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