The men's T20 World Cup returns next month – less than a year since Australia claimed the previous edition of the tournament.
England's series in Pakistan raises hopes of their World Cup chances and although neither Alex Hales or Phil Salt nailed down a place to open with Jos Buttler.
During his time away from international cricket, Hales has continued to be one of the leading T20 openers in the world. He was the top run scorer in the 2020/21 Big Bash and played a key role as Trent Rockets won this season’s Hundred.
Can Hales help a new-look England T20 team topple Australia on home turf? The Aussies were relatively unfancied before winning last year's T20 World Cup in the UAE but will be expected to perform at home.
When is it?
The cricket tournament gets under way with Sri Lanka facing Namibia on October 16. It runs for nearly a month with the final scheduled for November 13.
Who will host the T20 World Cup?
Australia will defend their title on home turf. Matches are taking place across the country at the MCG, The SCG, the Gabba, the Adelaide Oval, the Perth Stadium, the Bellerive Oval in Hobart and Kardina Park in Geelong.
How can I watch?
Every match of the tournament will be shown live on Sky Sports.
What is the tournament schedule?
The World Cup gets under way with Sri Lanka vs Namibia on October 16 (5am BST start).
England's group-stage fixtures are as follows:
Saturday, October 22 | vs Afghanistan, 12pm BST
Wednesday, October 26 | vs Qualifier TBC, 5am BST
Friday, October 28 | vs Australia, 9am BST
Tuesday, November 1 | vs New Zealand, 8am GMT
Saturday, November 5 | vs Qualifier TBC, 8am GMT
The semi-finals take place on November 9 and 10, with the final at the MCG on November 13.
What is the tournament format?
The first stage of the T20 World Cup involves eight teams that had to go through a qualification phase: Namibia, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands in Group A and then Ireland, Scotland, Zimbabwe and West Indies in Group B.
Essentially forming the preliminary stage, the winner and runner-up from each group move forward to the next group stage, joining the teams already qualified. So Australia, Afghanistan, England, New Zealand and Group A winner and Group B runner-up will be in Group 1, while Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and Group B winner and Group A runner-up make up Group 2.
After playing each other in the group, the top two from each group of the Super 12 stage progress to the knockout stages, comprising semi-finals and the final, the latter on November 13.
T20 World Cup tables
This section will be updated with the World Cup tables when you the tournament gets under way, but in the meantime here is a reminder of the two groups in the 'Super 12' stage.
Group A: Afghanistan, Australia, England, New Zealand, Qualifier TBC, Qualifier TBC
Group B: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Qualifier TBC, Qualifier TBC
Who is in England's squad?
Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Alex Hales.
Standby players: Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson, Tymal Mills.
What is the latest news?
Ben Stokes has been handed a new role at No4 in the England side as their final XI for the World Cup slots into place after the series win in Pakistan.
Stokes flew to Australia on Sunday along with Chris Jordan and Liam Livingstone and will meet up in Perth with those England players who were part of the successful trip to Pakistan.
Matthew Mott, the one-day coach, confirmed Stokes would bat at No4, giving him a defined role in the team after a T20 career without a settled place in the side. Harry Brook will stay at five where he was such a success in Pakistan, finishing the series as highest run scorer for England and with the best strike rate, too.
Mott is hopeful Mark Wood, who was not picked for the series decider in Lahore as a precaution, and Livingstone, who has an ankle injury, will be fit for the start of the World Cup, that begins with a group game against Afghanistan in Perth on Oct 22. Before then, England play a three-match series against Australia starting in Perth on Sunday before two games in Canberra, as well as an official warm-up against Pakistan. Captain Jos Buttler will be back in Perth after missing the Pakistan series due to a calf injury.
Those four matches will give England a chance to finalise their side, with Mott’s major decision being over Buttler’s opening partner. Phil Salt and Alex Hales were unable to nail down the place in Pakistan.
“One of the things that’s been said for a while is that he [Stokes] hasn’t been given a clear role, and Jos in particular is clear he is a top-four player and those conditions in Australia will suit the way he plays,” said Mott. “You always have a bit of flexibility with the batting, but he will be expected to be higher in the innings.”
Hales and Salt were inconsistent in Pakistan. Salt made a brutal 88 in the sixth match and Hales scored fifty in the first game but faded.
“That’s the big question, I don’t think that’s resolved, which is probably not a bad thing, we’ve got four games before that first World Cup game so there’s still plenty of time,” said Mott. “Hales did really well at the start, Salt really took his opportunities. He showed all the signs we’re looking for as well, so there’s a lot of options there, which is a good headache to have.”
How are England expected to do?
Under new white-ball coach Matthew Mott England haven't fared that well. They have lost their two recent T20 series against South Africa and India and only have seven matches away in Pakistan and a three-match series against Australia in which to find form before their first match in the tournament, against Afghanistan on October 22.
They went into last year's tournament as favourites before losing to New Zealand in the semi-final and have the firepower to go all the way. But they could do with some confidence-boosting wins before it all kicks off.
What are the latest odds?
New Zealand 7/1
South Africa 8/1
Information correct as of October 4