England might have five of the batsmen ranked in the International Cricket Council’s Twenty20 top 20 but, although Chris Jordan admits that department of the team is “phenomenal” and “can chase down any score”, he has insisted it is the success or failure of the bowling unit that will determine whether their attempt to win the forthcoming World Cup ends in success or failure.
“I genuinely believe to win a tournament you will be as good as your bowlers,” Jordan said. “Obviously our batting lineup is well-stacked and is phenomenal and we can chase down any score, but I definitely believe that we can [succeed] if we gel really well as a bowling unit. If we can hold our nerve and be nice and calm at the back end of games, assess the pitch, assess conditions, assess everything, and make nice, clear and decent decisions, I think we should go alright.”
Jordan joined the squad at their training camp in Oman over the weekend after completing his duties at the IPL, where following the tournament’s resumption in the UAE last month he played only one match for Punjab Kings, an experience he believes has been useful despite his lack of match action.
“It’s been worth it solely from a weather point of view, because it’s been very, very hot in Dubai and playing when it gets so hot you start to get tired, and that’s when decision-making starts to come into question,” he said. “So being acclimatised to the temperatures has been the biggest one, so when you do get in those high-pressure moments you can still be making clear decisions.”
This will be Jordan’s third World T20, and the importance of making clear decisions in high-pressure moments was made crystal clear to him and all England followers at the conclusion of the last. In the 2016 final Jordan bowled the penultimate over, conceding eight runs and leaving West Indies needing 19 off Ben Stokes’ final over to win; Carlos Brathwaite famously hit sixes off each of the next four balls. “When I bowled a dot ball with my final ball, [victory] definitely did feel a lot closer than it ended up,” Jordan said. “Having that feeling after that ball, I’ll never take myself to that place ever again. We came out stronger for it as a unit and a team and I definitely won’t be thinking that way until it is fully, fully over.”
With the benefit of experiences like these across 65 T20 internationals, making him the most experienced bowler in England’s squad, Jordan has become one of the quiet leaders of the side. “I’ve been privileged enough to travel the world and play with so many different players, play under so many different coaches and captains as well, and to tap into that knowledge is something I’ve been very grateful for,” he said. “To be in a position to share it with a lot of guys is again a real honour for me. I’m just there, just being myself on a daily basis and lending a helping hand.”
England’s squad contains only four players below the age of 31 and just one younger than 28, and Jordan believes the experience they have accumulated both individually and collectively could prove decisive once the competition starts. “Having been together for so long the chemistry is there, the talent is there, all the ingredients are there for us to make a decent run in this competition,” he said. “But we do have to bring it back to one game at a time, to do what’s in front of us, and try to build through the tournament that way.”