Eoin Morgan’s team will also be joined by one of Zimbabwe, Scotland, Afghanistan or Hong Kong, who will separately compete for the final position in Group B.
The tournament starts in India on March 8th and will feature 16 teams including both associate and affiliate members. The tournament final will be held in Kolkata on April 3rd.
Sri Lanka are defending champions but will be without the tournament’s all time leading run scorer Mahela Jayawardene (1016) and the similarly successful Kumar Sangakkara. Much to the sadness of many cricket fans, both players have now retired from the international game. The Lions will be led by Lasith Malinga and will likely feature the experienced Angelo Matthews and Tillakaratne Dilshan. With a squad suited to the conditions on offer in India, Sri Lanka are still strong contenders to regain the trophy and should pose tough opposition for England.
South Africa will go into the tournament led by their captain AB de Villiers. The wicket-keeper batsman is loved in India as a result of his extraordinary performances for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. The Proteas will be sure to include a range of players that have also succeeded in this tournament, such as Dale Steyn, JP Duminy and Morne Morkel. A lot of South Africa’s chances will rely on spinner Imran Tahir, a former player of multiple English counties.
The West Indies could be without Sunil Narine who may miss the tournament whilst his bowling action is reconstructed and approved. Narine is the current number one ranked ICC T20 bowler and the absence of his mystery spin would undoubtedly be a huge loss to the West Indies. The 2012 champions will definitely bring firepower with a top order that is likely to include Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, whilst the side will also feature the dangerous all-rounders Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo and former Glamorgan player Darren Sammy. Even though things may not be looking good for West Indies test cricket, their T20 side should not be underestimated as easy opposition.
The top two teams from Group B will meet the similarly achieving nations from Group A, which features Australia, India, Pakistan and New Zealand. This group will be completed with the inclusion of Bangladesh, Netherlands, Ireland or Oman
The last and only time England have won the World T20 was when the tournament was hosted by the West Indies in 2010. In the final, a side featuring Craig Kieswetter, Michael Lumb and Eoin Morgan chased Australia’s 148 with three overs to spare. Kevin Pietersen was awarded player of the series following his and England’s success.