Sports

England approaches moment of reckoning at World Cup

Four years of intense and methodical planning, putting the often-ignored format of white-ball cricket front and center in the domestic game, leads to a Cricket World Cup on English soil in a summer that will culminate in a home Ashes series.For English cricket, it doesn't get much bigger than this. A chance, in a year devoid of an Olympics or a major soccer tournament, for the country's cricket team to dominate the nation's consciousness.

How exciting, then, that England has quite comfortably its best-ever one-day international team to fit the occasion.England is the top-ranked ODI lineup in the world and the favorite heading into the World Cup as it aims to end a 44-year wait for a first global trophy in the 50-over game.

Playing in home conditions  with the swing, sideways movement and overcast skies that are invariably features used to be the thing England teams clung to going into an ODI series or tournaments on home turf.There's so much more now to this England squad, which has benefited from no longer being an afterthought in a country where test cricket has long been king.In response to a humiliating group-stage exit at the 2015 Cricket World Cup , the England and Wales Cricket Board channeled its focus on the one-day format. A new director of cricket, Andrew Strauss, was hired with the remit of separating the test and limited-overs teams and improving England's ODI fortunes; Trevor Bayliss, a coach with a proven record in the white-ball format, was appointed; and an aggressive, positive, risk-taking mindset was instilled.

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