The King returns

Virat is back.

It's just so good to see the greatest current player back in the runs, not only from India's perspective, but for the world of cricket. 

For India, he’s such a major component for them to start seeing some consistency. When Virat plays well, the other players start to perform around him. You saw that with Suryakumar Yadav and the innings he played against Zimbabwe, it was just spectacular. When your talisman is back, it helps massively. 

I backed him throughout the little loss of form that he had, and he's had a lot to deal with. He’s an entertainer, he needs crowds, he needs that buzz, he needs that excitement. He didn’t have that for a few years, and he lost his way. But the crowds are in, it's a T20 World Cup in Australia – one of the greatest places to play T20 cricket –  and the King is back.

As a close friend, I'm very happy for him, but I would like him to have a little bit of a break on Thursday!

England on the right trajectory

Tournament cricket is about peaking at the right time. It’s about winning the right games, getting to the knockouts, and then winning the final.

Let's not worry about what's happened in the group stage. Let's celebrate the fact that England are now in the semi-finals with the potential to make the final and win another World Cup. That's the focus and the drive.

The pressure was on against Sri Lanka, they delivered, and now it's time to go and win the semi-final.

Curran key for England

I love left-arm seam, I love that different angle of attack when it comes to the shortest form of the game. We all grow up against right-arm seamers, and when we're laying the foundations for our careers, we get all of our fundamentals against right-arm bowling. So, the little change of angle from a left-arm seamer is something that I love.

When we won the T20 World Cup in 2010, Ryan Sidebottom was instrumental for us. That left-arm seam and swing, that different angle and shape, is so important, because it takes a couple of balls for a batter to line up.

I'm a great advocate of having one, if not two of those guys in your T20 side, and Sam Curran is fulfilling that role beautifully for England.

T20 cricket is better than ever

The biggest takeaway from this T20 World Cup is that it doesn't matter who is on your team sheet, or what the badge is on your team sheet. On any given day, in the shortest form of the game, one or two players have a really good game and anyone can beat you.

Australia have unfortunately come unstuck in what is probably the most competitive T20 tournament so far. Not only that, but South Africa lost to the Netherlands, Ireland beat England, Scotland beat the West Indies. There have been quite a few upsets.

Just because you've got some of the best players in the world and you're playing against a smaller team, it’s no longer a foregone conclusion.

That's what is making T20 cricket so watchable and so entertaining, but also so serious. It's serious business now.

Afghanistan are proof of growing the game

In the shortest form of the game, when a couple of nicks, a great catch, a moment of brilliance or stupidity means anyone can win, I don’t see why we can’t keep growing the game.

You only need to look at Afghanistan to see what can happen. Look at Mujeeb, look at Rashid, look at Mohammad Nabi. They got the opportunity to play on the biggest stage and now they're some of the biggest stars in world cricket. Rashid plays against Australia in a big game and he gets a standing ovation walking out to bat. It's brilliant.

I love the fact that these smaller cricketing nations have got players that are celebrated. Why can't the Netherlands have a couple of players in the IPL and in The Hundred? It's wonderful for the game of cricket.

Semi-final predictions

I think the world of cricket wants to see Pakistan take on India in the final, but there's a very good chance it's going to be England v Pakistan.

At the Adelaide Oval, I think England beat India. With the quality running through the England side, I really do. But I just need Virat to have a day off.