It came as a shock to the sleepy 51allout corridors this week when we discovered the next World T20 tournament was just a year away. Never mind that England have only played two games since the last one, the road to Bangladesh 2014 starts here. Neither
Andy Flower’s Ashley Giles’ boys nor New Zealand were any good in Sri Lanka so should probably use this little tri series to some sort of positive end. Instead, the tourists forgot to pick their best players again while New Zealand have to spend this series reintegrating Ross Taylor after their little pre-Christmas kerfuffle.
In the absence of any proper significance to this series, we’ve picked out a few questions this series might go some way to answering.
Can Tredders tred again?
In India James Tredwell teased and tormented opposition batsmen and was comfortably England’s best bowler. Will he be able to recreate that performance in New Zealand? Pitches certainly won’t offer as much assistance and he’ll be faced with the added obstacle of competent batsmen in Kiwiland, but his performances seem to be on an upward curve. Excellent returns against Australia and India are admirable but inevitable; ultimately he’ll have to perform against proper sides if we are to start taking him seriously and New Zealand presents an excellent opportunity.
How good is Jos Buttler?
With Craig Kieswetter disgracefully hurled out of the England reckoning, the limited over ‘keeper slot is up for grabs again. The selectors have thrown a curve ball by picking his replacement entirely on the basis of his batting, and in giving Jos Buttler the gloves have ensured an exciting prospect has his every move analysed as much as possible to aid his development. He goes into this series in good form, having made runs in the two warm-up games, and he has begun to turn it on for England of late. He’s worth watching.
How angry is Ross Taylor?
Since returning to the New Zealand squad from his self-imposed absence, Ross Taylor has made all the right noises about reintegration. But somewhere, however deep down, there must be a bubbling undercurrent of fury liable to explode onto the surface at any moment. The trigger might be when he’s batting with the usurper McCullum, or it may be some trivial incident in the field, but we are convinced all is not yet well. To settle a cricketing dispute nowadays requires dedication above and beyond the call of duty; if you aren’t prepared to hurl a bat at someone it’s barely worth even bothering. It’s unlikely he’ll match that, so the best we can hope for might be a deliberate running out of his successor.
Who is Hamish Rutherford and what does he do?
Both teams to lose 3-0. Ross Taylor to make either 100 or a golden duck in the first game. Michael Lumb to make a golden duck in every game.
As always, you can follow the series with us on Twitter @51allout. Get involved!