Five bad weeks do not define a team – England’s Ben Duckett

Duckett has cast doubt on England overhauling their white-ball approach.

David Charlesworth
Thursday 30 November 2023 18:30 GMT
Ben Duckett has been capped in eight ODIs and 11 T20s (Mike Egerton/PA)
Ben Duckett has been capped in eight ODIs and 11 T20s (Mike Egerton/PA)

Ben Duckett cast doubt on England overhauling their white-ball approach despite a wretched World Cup which he insisted “does not define a team”.

Duckett watched from home as England’s defence of the crown they won amid much fanfare in 2019 went badly awry, losing six of their first seven fixtures before claiming a couple of consolation wins.

England’s misery has led to speculation of a reset going forward and only half a dozen of the contingent from India are out in the Caribbean for an ODI series starting on Sunday in Antigua.

Duckett is one of the beneficiaries of a number of more established stars being rested but he was adamant that England do not need to make adjustments to a blueprint that served them so well for many years.

“We have watched how England have played cricket over the past eight years and one bad five weeks does not define a team,” Duckett said. “It’s probably been the greatest white-ball team ever.

“If we can go and play how they have played over the past eight years or even half as good that will be an achievement. We know how they want to play their cricket.

“I don’t think the approach is going to change because of how the World Cup went. I think the age is probably the factor. If they win that World Cup, the same group of players might be here.

“It was potentially guys who were late 30s and coming towards the end of their 50-over careers. So it seemed like there was always going to be a fresh start after it.”

Captain Jos Buttler, batter Harry Brook, all-rounders Liam Livingstone and Sam Curran and fast bowlers Gus Atkinson and Brydon Carse are the England players out in the West Indies who were at the World Cup.

Players on the fringes such as teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, big-hitting all-rounder Will Jacks and uncapped fast bowler John Turner now have an opportunity in these three matches over the next 10 days.

Duckett rejected the notion there was any additional burdens on this group after recent events, even if the left-handed batter admitted his desperation to shine to stay in England’s limited-overs plans.

“Not in the slightest,” he said. “We don’t feel pressure, you know? I think fresh is a good word. A group of players who can go and showcase what we can do.

“But I think for each and every one of us it’s important to perform. I need to go and prove that I’m good enough to be on this team and so do the other guys.”

Duckett has cemented himself into England’s Test team as an opener but even though he is renowned for his attack-minded mentality, he has been capped in just eight ODIs and 11 T20s in seven years.

In his most recent international appearance, Duckett registered an unbeaten hundred against Ireland in September as part of a second-string England side, with the big guns rested ahead of the World Cup.

At 29, he could be entering his peak and a mainstay in all three formats but Duckett, who is expected to bat in the middle-order this weekend, is refusing to taking anything for granted.

“I’m genuinely thinking about the next three weeks,” he added. “I know how difficult it is to stay in a side when there’s this many players.

“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned over the last 12 to 15 months is not thinking too far ahead.

“I’ve got to go and score runs this series to get to the next one, there’s people banging down the door who aren’t here so, I don’t think I’m a shoo-in for the next four years. I’d be silly to think that.”

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