Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

2019 Is as Good as It Gets for an England Cricketer. They Must Seize Chance to Make History

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

2019 Is as Good as It Gets for an England Cricketer. They Must Seize Chance to Make History

Article excerpt

Byline: Rob Key

ENGLAND are in Barbados and got stuck into their first action of 2019 today. It is a truly unbelievable year to be an England cricketer.

There have been home World Cups before and home Ashes, but you have to go back to the 1970s for the two to have collided. And, let's face it, England have never been favourites for both at the same time.

The World Cup is a bit more of a lottery, but in English conditions and given the group of players they have, they'll never have a better opportunity. And they really should win the Ashes.

For the white-ball specialists, everything is about the World Cup every four years. For the Test players, the Ashes is the pinnacle. How many times across sport, let alone just in cricket, have teams had the opportunity to win the best their game has to offer twice in a couple of months? It couldn't be coming along at a better time. England have spent four years preparing very well for the World Cup. In Tests, things are coming together well. If it was a year or two later on, they might not have Jimmy Anderson in the Test side. He's still one of the best in the world. They have a young core, a fine pair of captains.

They have to start their year well in the Caribbean, where the Test side will need to adapt what they did in Sri Lanka.

That was an amazing win, their first overseas for nearly three years, but this will be different.

The Caribbean is a completely different venue to the one I grew up watching. Then, it was all about chin music. Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh; Mike Atherton bobbing and weaving. On my most recent trips to the Caribbean with Sky and Kent, the wickets have been slow and spin plays a far bigger part.

It won't spin like Sri Lanka, but you probably still want two spinners. For me, that means an extra seamer comes in for Jack Leach. …

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