What is England's first-choice T20 World Cup XI? Nasser Hussain and Mark Butcher make their picks

What is England's first-choice T20 World Cup XI? Nasser Hussain and Mark Butcher make their picks

England begin T20 World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on October 22; Nasser Hussain and Mark Butcher reveal what XIs they would pick, deciding who partners Jos Buttler up top and who completes bowling attack - watch T20 World Cup live on Sky Sports from October 16

Nasser Hussain reveals which XI he would pick for England's T20 World Cup opener against Afghanistan on October 22

England's opening game at the T20 World Cup, against Afghanistan, is less than three weeks away - so what will their starting XI be?

Former England stars and now Sky Sports Cricket pundits Nasser Hussain and Mark Butcher have picked the sides they would go into battle with in Australia, with both selecting the in-form Harry Brook in their middle order.

Brook, 23, finished as England's leading run-scorer in the 4-3 T20I series win in Pakistan, amassing 238 runs in six innings at an average of 79.33 and a strike rate of 163.01, with a best of 81 not from 35 balls in game three.

The selection dilemmas for Nasser and Butch were if it will be Phil Salt or Alex Hales to partner skipper Jos Buttler at the top of the order and whether Chris Jordan or Chris Woakes complete the bowling line-up.

Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood. Travelling reserves: Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson, Tymal Mills

"If you pick all your batters and have Moeen Ali or Liam Livingstone at No 7, you need your best bowlers irrespective of if they bat or not.

"For me, England's four best bowlers are Mark Wood - that's a given with his pace and X factor - Adil Rashid with his variations and ability at the death, Reece Topley with the way he has come on this year, has the left-arm angle and takes wickets up front, and then I'd go Jordan.

"You have to remember that in the last two T20 Worlds Cups, England have lost them through their death bowling. Ben Stokes in 2016 with Carlos Brathwaite's four sixes and Jordan in 2021 against New Zealand, so it is an area of concern. England need to sort it out.

"However, I feel Jordan this summer got it right, was getting back to his best. He has experience and has been a constant under Eoin Morgan and now Buttler's captaincy. I am not concerned about the new-ball bowling as Wood and Topley have done very well there.

"The other option is to leave a batter out - there are a lot of batters in there - and play Sam Curran. He is an exceptional all-round cricketer and gives you options bowling at the death.

"It's whether you go the Morgan template of the extra batter - some of the batters bowl in Stokes, Livingstone and Moeen - or you play the extra bowler because in Australia you feel that you need a safety blanket.

The T20 World Cup is coming! Watch every game live on Sky Sports from October 16, with England under way against Afghanistan on October 22

"If Salt does not open, the other way you get him in the side is if he keeps wickets. For me, for England to win this World Cup, Buttler has to have a very good tournament with the bat.

"When Morgan was leading, I thought his captaincy was more important than his batting and fielding. With Buttler, it is his batting, his batting, his batting and then his captaincy and wicketkeeping.

"Whatever makes Buttler tick with his batting is most important. If Buttler keeps, I can't get Salt in as Hales' record in Australia in the Big Bash is exceptional and he is more experienced than Salt."

Highlights from the seventh T20 international as England thumped Pakistan by 67 runs in Lahore to win the series 4-3

"Jordan didn't get into my side. Not because I don't think he can't play a massive role but I think new-ball bowling in Australia is going to be vital, being able to pick up wickets in the powerplay.

"That hasn't necessarily been Jordan's strong point while it was Woakes' in the last World Cup in the UAE.

"This side bats unbelievably deep - it's a horrifying line-up if you are an opposition bowler. It's only really Brook that doesn't have a vast amount of international experience.

"Everyone else has been around the block many times. It is a hardened, grizzled and extremely talented bunch of players.

"With Brook, I think this Pakistan series is the first time in his fledgling England career that he has been able to give people the idea of what he can do. He is a very special player.

"People at Yorkshire will know he is a considerable talent but sometimes it can be difficult to translate that into tangible performances in an England shirt but he has done that in spades. For me, he gets in the team.

"In terms of the openers, Salt is very much the coming man but England have picked Hales because of his record in Australia, the fact he has over 10,000 T20 runs and is arguably playing the cricket of his life.

"They want that big presence at the top of the order to intimidate opposition bowling attacks and I don't think anything has changed there, I don't see Hales on the bench. But if Hales falters Salt is ready to come in."

Highlights from the sixth T20 international where Phil Salt struck a blistering 88 not out from 41 balls

England travel Down Under to prepare for the T20 World Cup, with three T20s against host nation Australia (October 9, 12 and 14) and a warm-up against Pakistan (October 17) before Jos Buttler's side begin their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan in Perth on October 22.

You can watch the T20 World Cup live in full on Sky Sports with the tournament getting under way on October 16.