England is the birthplace of cricket, they have appeared in every edition of the World Cup but is yet to win a single one, beaten finalists on three previous occasions, the last time in 1992, the country has only played in two quarter-finals since then with most of their eliminations coming as early as the group stages of the tournament.
This year they play host to cricket’s showpiece event and go in to the tournament as the number one ranked team in the world as determined by the ICC Cricket Rankings.
Preparations began early in 2017 as they hosted the ICC Champions Trophy, aka the Mini World Cup, and were one of the favourites to win the tournament with home advantage.
They topped their group which included Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh, having won all their matches. In the semi-finals they faced Pakistan and were tipped to beat them comfortably, alas, reality was exactly the opposite as England were bowled out for a total of 211 runs which Pakistan chased down with eight wickets in hand.
Moving forward England would continue to impress, dominant performances to end 2017 beating the West Indies at home and beginning 2018 by winning a five match series away to arch rivals Australia. The year would also include series victories against New Zealand, India and Sri Lanka. A solitary series against West Indies in 2019 ended with two victories a piece.
The Three Lions boasts a squad that would be the envy of any team in the world, Captain Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler and Joe Root have all played well over 100 ODIs and boasts a batting average of 39.15, 40.80 and 50.90 respectively.
They’re spoilt for choice in the all rounder department with Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali, while Joffrey Archer, one cricket’s outstanding all-round talent to emerge in recent years struggling to break in to the squad.
Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett will spearhead the English pace attack with 160 wickets between them in just 120 ODI matches. One department where they might struggle is with spin bowling with neither Moeen Ali nor Adil Rashid being what one would consider a spinner of genuine pedigree.
In a nutshell there are very few sides in the world at the moment with England’s resources, add to the fact that they’re also playing at home and it comes as no surprise that they are the experts favourite to lift the World Cup this year.
Ex-captain Nasser Hussain, David Lloyd and many among the current squad have already talked up their chances, the English are extremely confident heading in to the World Cup and there is no reason not to be.
One recent issue was the ‘deselecting’ of Alex Hales for his second suspension on the use of recreational drugs, something that will make it slightly tougher for the side but they have enough batsmen in their midst to take care of it.
If one were to nitpick it could be pointed out that England have never won the World Cup or that nerves get the best of them in a high stakes situation, case in point the defeat to Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy, but fact remains that they’ve not had a better team in terms of quality and balance since the late 70s and all the signs this time around are pointing towards an all English summer.