The ICC World Twenty20 is currently in full swing. This year’s competition, held in India from 8 March to 3 April, is the sixth event of its kind. Sixteen teams will feature in this year’s event, ten of which enter automatically as members and six which won places through the qualifiers. As a member, England entered automatically, but that didn’t stop some of their team from feeling a little nervous and intimidated by the other competitors.
For almost a month, the teams will take their cricket gear to seven different Indian cities to compete in the tournament matches. The final will be held at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Eoin Morgan’s 15-man squad has been one of the early teams to travel over to India to get themselves acclimatized to the country and the weather. As the winners of last year’s ICC World Twenty20, you’d think they would be confident, but the pressure to become the first team to win the World T20 for the second time sits heavily on their shoulders.
Player Responses: David Willey
“Going to a cricket World Cup to represent England is what I always dreamed about as a kid,” said Willey, who made his Twenty20 debut in last year’s competition. “I can’t believe it’s real and still have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.
Willey also expressed how the magnitude of the thing had really hit home through communications with fans over the last months. A few weeks ago, Willey received a letter from a young supporter who had just lost his mother. Amazingly, he told Willey that he was watching his cricket performances for inspiration, believing that with this level of determination, one can achieve anything. Willey said he will take that boy’s words with him when England plays in the coming month.
Player Responses: Reece Topley
Topley also had to pack his cricket gear for the trip to India. Like Willey, his enthusiasm was also bubbling over about the competition.
“There’s a really positive buzz around the boys. Everyone is very excited,” said the four-time England player. “As a cricketer, everyone wants to go to a world championships with their country.”
The young player admitted some nerves in the face of the other teams but was happily optimistic, saying he just hoped to be able to show off some ‘silverware’ once they made their way back home.
Player Responses: Ben Stokes
Key player Stokes managed to be a little more prosaic, saying they regularly travelled to play cricket, but he admitted that the World Cup title did up the ante. However, for him it was India which held the most interest.
“In India, cricket is religion,’ Stokes said. “I’m excited to be able to experience the atmosphere and hear the roar of the India spectators.”
So we’ll keep our fingers crossed and our eyes glued to the screens for the final in Kolkata, and we probably won’t be alone.