We keep going back to the 2015 World Cup and how it turned the tide for England in white-ball cricket. It revolutionized the way they played the shorter formats. However, that’s mostly true in the case of ODI cricket and not so much in the shortest format.
Yes, England did reach the final in the World T20 in 2016 but it’s been a very scratchy run since then. In 24 T20I games since the megaevent in India, England have won just 13 of them which leaves them way down at No. 11 for most wins since April 2016.
One of the reasons has been the consistency of players. Most of the all-format players tend to opt out and rest during T20Is. Ben Stokes has played a mere six T20Is while Joe Root has played 12. Jonny Bairstow has one more than Root while Moeen Ali has played just seven. Once Jos Buttler returned to the Test side last year, even his appearances in the shortest format reduced. Hence, there has been a constant chop and change with these senior players.
However, there is one constant in this England side who has quietly become a regular spot in the T20I side. That is Chris Jordan. The Barbados-born pacer may have last donned the ODI shirt back in 2016 but he hasn’t missed a single T20I for England since the end of the 2016 World T20. He has featured in each and every one of the 24 T20Is England have played. In fact, he is one of the only two players to have featured in more than 20 T20Is in the aforementioned period.
In this time, Jordan has quietly become the leader of the attack for England. His stats are excellent. No other England bowler has taken more wickets (34) than Jordan in this period. These wickets have come at an economy of 8.44, which may be on the expensive side, but he tends to bowl the difficult overs. He invariably bowls one in the powerplay and then returns at the death. Moreover, he is picking up a wicket every two and a half overs.
Jordan’s ability to nail in the yorkers is very underrated. We talk about Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell Starc and Jofra Archer for their ability to excel at the death. Here, Jordan is doing that but away from the limelight. He hardly gets noticed. There is hardly any talk of Jordan’s ability and skill at the death. He can nail in the yorkers, he has a decent slower one and can mix up his length really well too.
He showed that against New Zealand recently. James Vince may have run away with the ‘Player of the match’ award for his fifty which helped England hunt down 154 in the first T20I. But it was Jordan who set the game up for them. He returned with figures of 2/28 and was England’s best bowler. In his four overs, Jordan bowled only nine dots but he also conceded just three boundaries in the entire innings.
The same was the case in the second T20I. While most other bowlers were hammered, Jordan kept things in check. He bowled 12 dots which included three wickets. However, he conceded just two boundaries (one four and one six which came in the final over). In fact, if not for his overs at the death, England might’ve had to chase somewhere around 190. Eventually, he finished with 3/23 and was once again England’s best bowler.
Jordan has made this a habit now. Earlier this year, he knocked over West Indies with a spell of four wickets and conceded just six runs. He is becoming a difficult customer to get away at the death. Yes, at times, he may miss his mark but more often than not he’s right on the money. He hasn’t given anything away in this series in New Zealand so far.
Add to this, Jordan’s ability in the field. There are very few bowlers who field as well as Jordan, especially off their own bowling. Moreover, the 32-year-old can give it a real tonk lower down the order. He almost gave New Zealand a scare when he started tonking fours and sixes in the second T20I. The No. 8 scored 36 off 19 balls which included three fours and as many sixes. Hence, he adds batting depth as well.
Thus, it may not seem like it but Jordan has become an indispensable member of this England T20 side. He quietly goes about his job and hardly attracts any attention. The likes of Jofra Archer and co might return for next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia but Jordan seems to have made his own place in the side. His importance may not be visible but England might feel the pinch when he’s not there. He comes as a full package and is very underrated.
Jordan has now played 41 T20 internationals, with 24 of them coming in the last two and a half years. It may be funny how he doesn’t find a place in the ODI format but is the leader of the pack in T20Is. But it is what it is. Jordan has earned the name of a finisher with the ball and is vital to this England T20I side.