YORKSHIRE’S Joe Root accepts it is now or never for England as they strive for a World Cup-winning formula.
Alastair Cook’s squad are expected to arrive in Australia and New Zealand firmly among the underdogs in February having won just a single one-day series in their last six attempts.
The summer of 2014 saw 50-over setbacks at the hands of both India and Sri Lanka and England begin their World Cup preparation with a seven-match series against the latter starting on November 26.
The Sri Lankan conditions may not represent ideal preparation for England’s tournament opener against Australia at the imposing MCG but, for Root, the sub-continental trip is crucial.
The likes of Alex Hales, James Taylor, Harry Gurney and Chris Jordan are in the early stages of their ODI careers, meaning time is short to find the right blend.
“There’s not an expectation for us to do well, which could work out for us,” said Root. “We know we’ve not been good enough for the last six months and this period now is about getting it right and making sure we’re in the best shape possible by February 14.
“The great thing about it is people have opportunities now to stand up and do something special for England.
“Whether it’s young guys trying to make a mark or senior guys putting in performances we haven’t really done over the last six months, now is the time we’ve got to do it.”
England’s chosen XI in that Melbourne opener looks certain to be among the less experienced in the competition, even if Stuart Broad and James Anderson return to fitness to lead the attack.
But where some might identify weakness, Root’s unshakeable Sheffield steeliness sees a possible advantage.
“We know we have the squad of players to do really good things and a lot of young exciting players. Not a lot of people have seen what they can do yet,” he said.
“That could play into our hands because you can’t do as much homework on them.”
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