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Agencies
March 27, 2019

Root eyes ‘brilliant World Cup’ to stay ready for the Ashes

Sports

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Agencies
March 27, 2019

LONDON: England Test captain Joe Root is hoping for a "brilliant World Cup" that will help the team's Ashes campaign, which begins on August 1 in Birmingham.

England have never won a World Cup, but have been touted as one of the favourites to win this year’s tournament at home. They will begin that pursuit with the opener against South Africa on May 30.

"[Hosting the World Cup] is obviously very exciting,” Root told Sky Sports. “At this time of the season, after having a bit of time off, very quickly your mind starts switching to what's to come.

“Hopefully, we'll be on a flier after a brilliant World Cup. Ultimately, when those Test matches come around, we know we're going to have to be absolutely ready for them." England are ranked No. 1 on the ICC ODI Team Rankings and showed the world why during their recently-concluded tour of the West Indies, where they racked up over 400 and chased down a total of 360 with seeming ease.

But that series also brought out some of England’s biggest weaknesses, as seen in the fifth ODI, when they rolled over for 113 on a bouncy Gros Islet pitch and succumbed to their worst ODI defeat in terms of balls to spare. They still have eight matches – one against Ireland, five against Pakistan, and a pair of official warm-up matches against Australia and Afghanistan – to set things right before the World Cup.

"[The West Indies tour] was obviously an opportunity to put together a string of good performances coming into a World Cup," Root said. "I think it's really important that we take on board what happened, and we come into this summer full of confidence.

"We're an experienced side now and we will have learned from that. But it's a nice little reminder for us almost that we can't become complacent and we've just got to continue to get better."

The Ashes have changed hands every time since England retained the urn at home in 2013, with the home team winning every series since. But while history favours England to regain the urn after losing 4-0 in Australia in 2017-18, Root didn’t want to lose sight of what lay in store in the immediate future.

"It [captaining England at the Ashes] will be very special. The hairs stand up on your arms just thinking about it,” he said. “But there's so much cricket to be played between now and then that it would be wrong to look too far ahead to those opening days and all of those little intricacies that come with an Ashes series.

"It's really important we stay very grounded. We know if we play to our potential in these conditions, we will be a very difficult side to beat. It's all about us preparing how we want to and being absolutely ready for everything Australia come and throw at us."

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