Chris Silverwood’s tenure as England coach got off to a winning start with a series victory over New Zealand decided by yet another Super Over between the sides. The former Essex head coach used the series as an opportunity to debut some of those who have excelled on the county circuit recently as well as to rest some of his star names ahead of a busy winter.
In terms of missed opportunities, Sam Billings will be left feeling disappointed by his displays, especially in comparison to middle order partner Eoin Morgan who shone once again. Billings failed to produce the volume of runs required to stake a claim to play as a specialist batsman with both Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler blocking his route to taking the gloves.
It was an all too familiar story for James Vince in international cricket. Some sensational knocks, including his man-of-the-match 59 in the opening encounter, alongside some dreadfully soft dismissals continues to fuel questions over whether he is consistent enough for the highest level.
Although expensive at times, Matt Parkinson proved to be a cunning, wicket-taking bowler in the shorter format and enjoyed a fine debut series. The fact that the Lancashire leggie is being considered as a genuine challenger to the Adil Rashid’s spot in the side is a testament to his talent and a relief for Silverwood given Rashid’s injury struggles of late.
Whilst the focus of the series was on youth we witnessed yet another exceptional series from Chris Jordan. His herculean effort in the deciding clash, where he smashed 12 from three balls, before conceding just eight runs in New Zealand’s Super Over has reminded the selectors of just how valuable his skills and experience are in this side.
Dawid Malan appears to have firmly moved himself into the category of one of England’s ‘undroppables’ following a stellar series. Scores of 11, 39, 55 and 103* (just the second hundred in T20Is by an Englishman and the fastest) have boosted his already freakishly high strike-rate to 156.31 and average to 57.25 and his performances serve to confirm the inevitable that there has to be a place for Malan in the side.
With the result largely secondary, the series provided plenty of food for thought for Silverwood. Whether or not we see some of these names in Australia next year remains to be seen. But considering the depth of talent England have at their disposal and this summer’s World Cup final heroics, this could well be the strongest position English white ball cricket has ever been in.