England confirm 16-man T20I squad for West Indies tour

By Sports Desk December 23, 2021

Eoin Morgan will lead a 16-strong T20I squad in England's tour of the West Indies.

The five-match series takes place in Barbados from January 22 to 30, with the first match scheduled only four days after the final Ashes Test is due to end.

Therefore, none of England's Ashes squad have been considered for selection, while Paul Collingwood will stand in for Chris Silverwood as coach.

Morgan's squad still includes 11 players who travelled to the T20 World Cup, with England reaching the semi-finals, only to lose to New Zealand.

Two uncapped players – George Garton and David Payne – were also named.

Dawid Malan is out in Australia with Joe Root's struggling red-ball side, while seamers Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Tom Curran are out injured.

Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler are also playing Down Under, as is Ben Stokes, who missed the T20 World Cup to focus on his mental wellbeing.

Tom Banton and Saqib Mahmood are the other players to have been called up who were not involved in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

The series marks the continuation of England's preparations for the 2022 T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia.

"We have selected a strong squad with some serious batting power and a balanced attack as we begin preparations ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia," said Collingwood.

"The [T20] World Cup is less than a year away and there will be increased opportunities for the squad in the absence of those players who are with the Ashes squad.

"I have good memories winning a World Cup in Barbados and I'm really looking forward to going back there with this squad to face a very good West Indies who will test all aspects of our skills."

England squad in full:

Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Liam Dawson, George Garton, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Tymal Mill, David Payne, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, James Vince.

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    Fans' wait for the World Cup has, of course, been a little longer than normal this time around – ordinarily the tournament would've already been completed.

    Nevertheless, the big kick-off is closing in with Qatar 2022 now just 100 days away – we're into the final straight!

    As with any major tournament, predicting a winner in the build-up is just a natural part of being a football fan, even if it can often be a fool's errand.

    But considering how integral statistics are to football these days, using data might just give you the edge, and that's where Stats Perform come in.

    Our Artificial Intelligence team have used Opta's extensive data reserves to quantify each team's chances of winning the entire tournament.

    Every match has been run through the Stats Perform World Cup prediction model to calculate the estimated probability of the outcome (win, draw or loss). This uses odds from betting markets and Stats Perform team rankings, which are based on historical and recent performances.

    It takes into consideration the strength of each team's opponents as well as the difficulty of their respective paths to the final, plus the make-up of the groups and any relevant seedings heading into the knockouts.

    Then, the rest of the tournament is simulated 40,000 times and analysed, providing the AI team with a percentage for each nation, showing the probability of them ultimately lifting the trophy at the Lusail Stadium on December 18.

    Let's check out the results…

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    Suspend your disbelief! Yes, reigning champions France have the greatest probability of winning the World Cup this year, with our model giving them an almost 18-per cent chance of clinching a third title.

    But let's not overlook how remarkable an achievement that would be. No team has retained the World Cup since Brazil in 1962, and the only other occasion of that happening was in the 1930s when Italy won it back-to-back.

    France were the favourites heading into Euro 2020 but were ultimately disappointing – they'll need to do significantly better here otherwise their fate could be sealed by the dreaded winners' curse.

    Each of the past four European winners of the World Cup have been eliminated in the group stages, a trend that began with Les Bleus in 2002.

     

    2. Brazil (15.7 per cent)

    Another unsurprising entry. That's right, record winners Brazil come in at second in terms of likelihood of winning the World Cup.

    Tite's side qualified with ease and clearly have an extremely talented group of players available to them – the problem is getting them all on the pitch at one time while retaining a cohesive and balanced shape.

    If Tite can find the magic formula at the World Cup this time, at the very least you'd expect them to get beyond the quarter-finals, the stage they crashed out to Belgium four years ago in Kazan.

    Failure, however, will mean Brazil's World Cup drought will stretch to 24 years by the time the 2026 edition comes around, and that would make it their joint-longest barren run in the competition since claiming their first title in 1958.

    3. Spain (11.5 per cent)

    La Roja aren't the force they were as recently as 10 years ago, when they won a third successive major international tournament with victory at Euro 2012.

    However, Luis Enrique has turned them into a side that is easy on the eye and capable of carving open the best teams – their main issue in recent years has been finding a reliable striker, and that'll likely be what determines how far they get in Qatar.

    Either way, we can surely expect a better showing than they managed in Russia, where they were hindered by the sacking of coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup as a result of accepting a post-tournament role at Real Madrid.

    4. England (8.0 per cent)

    The Three Lions almost won their first major international trophy since 1966 last year at Euro 2020, only to fall at the final hurdle against Italy.

    Either way, few can deny it was a sign of progress: they reached the Russia 2018 semi-finals, the final at Euro 2020, so surely Qatar 2022 is theirs already?

    Gareth Southgate has made England an effective tournament side, even if doubts remain over his ability to impose a style of play that sees the Three Lions take the initiative against the biggest teams.

    Similarly, their performances in the first round of Nations League fixtures in June left a lot to be desired, but that won't stop expectations from soaring in Qatar.

    5. Belgium (7.9 per cent)

    Squeezing into the top five ahead of the Netherlands (7.7 per cent) are Belgium, who reached the semi-finals four years ago before being eliminated by eventual winners France.

    It's fair to say this is likely to be the last opportunity for the Red Devils' so-called 'golden generation' to truly leave its mark on a major tournament – in fact, many original members of that Belgium generation have already retired.

    While success for Roberto Martinez's side looks unlikely, they are a match for any team on their day, and our probability score recognises they are by no means out of contention.

    THE REST OF THE FIELD

    Netherlands and Germany (7.2) are hard on Belgium's heels in our predictor table, though in both cases fans might feel their squads have more to offer than their neighbours.

    Both teams have solid blends of experience and youthful exuberance, while the two coaches have vast experience – Louis van Gaal needs no introduction, while Hansi Flick has been involved in the Germany setup for much of his coaching career.

    But the teams many will be looking out for because of certain individuals are Argentina (6.5 per cent) and Portugal (5.1 per cent).

     

    They are the only other two to be given more than a 2.3 per cent chance of World Cup success, and given the presence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, they cannot be discounted.

    Argentina have rebuilt since a somewhat shambolic campaign in Russia, with Lionel Scaloni inspiring La Albiceleste to their first Copa America in 28 years in 2021.

    Messi was central to their triumph in that tournament, and now he's got the proverbial monkey off his back, there's hope Argentina could produce a respectable showing.

    With Ronaldo 37 and Messi 35, it's unlikely either will play another World Cup. Given the tournament is synonymous with those generally regarded as the best ever – Pele and Diego Maradona – they will be desperate to crown their respective careers.

    This is it.

     

    10. Croatia (2.3 per cent)
    11. Denmark (2.0 per cent)
    12. Uruguay (1.5 per cent)
    13. Mexico (1.4 per cent)
    14. Switzerland (1.0 per cent)
    15. Poland (0.8 per cent)
    16. Iran (0.6 per cent)
    17. Japan (0.5 per cent)
    18. United States (0.5 per cent)
    19. Wales (0.4 per cent)
    20. Qatar (0.4 per cent)
    21. South Korea (0.4 per cent)
    22. Serbia (0.2 per cent)
    23. Senegal (0.2 per cent)
    24. Ecuador (0.2 per cent)
    25. Australia (0.1 per cent)
    26. Ghana (

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