With the T20 World Cup just around the corner England can get back on track against Sri Lanka after defeat against India.

England’s 3-2 series loss to India was the last time we saw this side in action and if Eoin Morgan’s men are going to be in with a chance later this autumn, then this series will need to go according to plan.

England to test World Cup credentials

England arrive at this series as the heavy favourites for the first T20 at 1/4. They are currently ranked the number one T20 side in the world and their opponents Sri Lanka sit in a lowly eighth. While both teams arrive at this fixture on the back of defeats (Kusal Perera’s side lost out to the West Indies 2-1) there will be one eye, at the very least, on the World Cup from Morgan and the selectors.

Unfortunately for England and neutral spectators alike, there will be no Ben Stokes or Jofra Archer in this series as they recover from a finger and elbow injury respectively. However, that can only create opportunities. Chris Woakes has been called up to the squad for the first time in six years after an impressive stint in the Indian Premier League. Alongside Woakes, there have also been recalls for Liam Dawson and David Willey. Woakes certainly looks the likeliest to make an appearance and he is 4/1 to be leading England’s wicket charge in the first T20, though Willey (4/1) and Dawson (5/1) can’t be expected to carry too much of the English burden.

If Morgan’s England are going to arrive in India this autumn at the World Cup with a genuine chance, the key could be in nailing the selection process in this short series. We all know how many world-class white-ball players England have at their disposable but the key to victory in India will be making sure the squad is watertight and not just the team. If needs be, Morgan can draw upon the young English talent currently being shown in the Blast. Sussex opener Phil Salt made two consecutive knocks of 70 in the first two games of the campaign and it is just a matter of time until his name is thrown into the mix.

A confidence booster?

This series will be the perfect opportunity to iron out any kinks in the England armoury while also putting some form into key players before the World Cup. There will be a lot of fresh legs on display as some of the IPL stars return to international cricket having been rested by the ECB upon their return.

Jonny Bairstow is one of those returning to action and he will be a very important player in the World Cup line-up. It’s, therefore, imperative that he can get his summer off to a good start in this series. He is joint favourite to lead England’s run charge alongside Jos Buttler at 11/4. Buttler is also returning from a break and will be looking to cash in on what should be a relatively easy opponent for England.

Check out all the latest cricket betting odds at William Hill