STAR PREVIEW: New Zealand v England T20 with RYAN SIDEBOTTOM

I‘m back and delighted to be previewing the winter cricket action for, kicking off with the New Zealand v England T20 opener from 1am on Friday morning. And top secret news … I’ll also be bringing you my views on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here ….. more on that later.

It’s been a superb year for England cricket, despite their loss in The Ashes. The World Cup win will remain etched in the memory for a long time but the challenge for England now is to keep on winning and not get too complacent. And that’s often easier said than done and something over the years that only Australia have really managed to do.

I love both formats of cricket but there’s no doubting the momentum behind the T20 format and the money behind the game now is incredible. I hope it doesn’t go too far though as Test cricket is still the ultimate challenge both mentally and physically and where else can you witness Steve Smith knock in so many runs 😉

England didn’t perform to their World Cup levels in The Ashes and come into this as a side in transition both on and off the field.

Chris Silverwood (pictured) is the new head coach having taken over from Trevor Bayliss and will be keen to make his stamp on a team combining proven experience with new blood.

The squad for the five-match Twenty20 series contains five uncapped players and is gets underway at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch in the early hours of Friday.

As ever, all things being equal, I would favour batting first in this format.

New Zealand are narrow favourites with which is no great surprise given they have home advantage and their heroics in the World Cup final which were only matched and surpassed by uber heroics from England. have a whole host of markets to check out but I can’t play in the match odds – simply because it’s too hard to call.

I prefer the top batsman markets.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 For England: Tom Banton looks good at around 4/1. He’s replacing Jos Buttler in this T20 series and he has already shown great prowess in this format – knocking in 549 runs at an average of 42.23 in the Vitality Blast this year.

🇳🇿 For New Zealand: Colin Munro looks the bet at around 5/2. The home side’s captain scored an unbeaten 107 from 57 balls in the final warm-up game and I expect that form to continue.

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