After the disasterclass of the ODI World Cup, the time has come for England to pull their pants down, turn them inside out and put them back on again. It’s white-ball reset time.
The curiosity of the latest rebuild, however, is that the messaging that it’s a rebuild at all appears to be coming from the outside more than the inside. Yes, there are a fresh set of players out in the Caribbean, but the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid are nonetheless sat at home resting and recovering, ready (retirement announcements pending) to reclaim their place in the team.
“I need to go and prove that I’m good enough to be on this team and so do the other guys, so I don’t think it’s the case at all, this team could change next series.”
Rather than being a new team at the beginning of their own journey, ala the original 2015 White-Ball Reset™, the England team that will step out for the first of three ODIs against West Indies on Sunday, do so in a Hunger Games-type scenario. Battling it out for the odd spot in the XI at the expense of their mates to their left and right. England’s next strongest ODI team may well look suspiciously like the one that came before it.
“I just think it’s a massive opportunity to show what we can do. I’ve been around and not around the white-ball group for the past however many years and it’s been impossible to break into, so for me personally I’m just buzzing to get a go and be out here.”
Duckett himself was in effect on standby for Stokes across the World Cup, in case the Test captain’s knee completely gave way: “I wasn’t even thinking about it [to be honest]. There was no way Stokesy was missing out. He would have hobbled through it and still scored runs.”
A cynic could argue that, for the likes of Duckett, missing the World Cup was a blessing in disguise. A chance to emerge from the ashes (not those ones) unscathed, ready to take the team forward.
“I don’t think there is ever a good time to miss a World Cup. It could be the only opportunity I have. So certainly not in that way. Those same group of players could go out there and win that World Cup at a different time. It was tough to watch at times and I’m watching mates go out there and struggle. It was really difficult.
“[But] for me personally I have had six weeks to kind of take a breather – it has been a big 12 months for me – and it might actually be quite refreshing. I feel raring to go now.”
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