Darren Gough – My only fear is that England could have peaked too early for World Cup

England's Joe Root: Top knock against the West Indies.
England's Joe Root: Top knock against the West Indies.
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England showed why they are the No 1-ranked one-day team in the world against the West Indies on Wednesday and no doubt about it; they are ready for the World Cup.

You could tell how confident they are as a team in Bridgetown. Chasing 360, you can imagine what the conversation in the dressing room would have been.

Something like: “They have just got 360, we are the best team in the world, there is no reason why we cannot get it on this pitch.”

England absolutely walked it. Most people at halfway would have gone for the West Indies and said England would get nowhere near even if they had a good go.

But England made it look so easy and could have won in 40 overs. They just took their foot off the pedal and knocked it around in the last five or six overs. It was a dominant performance.

They know their side pretty much. There are one or two places – maximum – up for grabs in this series and the one with Pakistan.

You look at the side and Jonny Bairstow got them off to a flyer against West Indies with Jason Roy. Then, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan can just knock the ball into the gaps very well.

Morgan is also surprisingly powerful; he hits the ball as hard as anybody and scores as many sixes as anybody.

Then, there is Josh Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes, who can all give it a push and then there is Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid.

We bat all the way down to 10 and 11. England are just relentless and the batting line-up is basically set in stone.

What really encourages me and makes England special is people are still pushing to get in the team. It keeps people on edge.

Darren Gough

But what I like about Morgan as a captain is that he always thinks that in every game, you are learning and improving. He is never settled.

He wants to keep improving in all conditions. He is pushing his players for boundaries all the time and the message is: ‘Listen, we are the No 1 team in the world and need to improve, that is the target.’

Batting-wise, perhaps the only issue is whether they can sneak in a place for Alex Hales.

I very much doubt it unless someone is very much out of form. Bowling-wise, there is just so much competition.

I do still think we need to work on it in certain areas. I was surprised Rashid did not come on a little earlier on Wednesday and probably should not have bowled the final over. But he is a wicket-taker and so effective in ODIs.

Morgan used him as a strike bowler on Wednesday.

Plunkett did not have his best game, either. We spoke last week in this column about this needing to be a big series for him.

It is a big week ahead for a few players, but you have to say England are a fantastic team. They are a pleasure to watch and commentate on.

I said that after the series in Sri Lanka and they just continue to keep pushing their boundaries. I just hope that they can keep it up.

My only little bit of a fear for England – and I have also said this before – is peaking too early. Other teams are just getting to the position where they know their best team and we have pretty much known ours for two years.

Sometimes, it is about peaking at the right time.

Are England too settled? It is a difficult question. At the end of the day, it does not matter what the results are against the West Indies and Pakistan, but the World Cup. It all comes down to that and if England win it, that is what it is all about.

You get nothing for second.

What really encourages me and makes England special is people are still pushing to get in the team. It keeps people on edge.

You have Tom Curran, Hales – who would get in any other team in the world in one-day cricket – and David Willey, who bowls left-arm swing with the new ball and is a good performer when he gets it right in English conditions.

Tom Curran has so much variety and can bat and is an athlete in the field. There’s also Sam Curran, Sam Billings, Dawid Malan and Jofra Archer and Olly Stone. They are all desperate to get in the ODI squad and it will keep everyone on their toes.

Chris Gayle’s knock was a weird one actually in the opener. I never thought I would say that someone would get 135 and it would be the third-best knock in the game. Roy’s innings was a brilliant knock and Joe Root’s innings was a better one than Gayle’s. I would even go as far as to say that Morgan’s was a better knock.

Why Gayle puts bums on seats is because of his power-hitting. He just excites people.

Yet he was still on the losing team. He had 50 dot balls in his innings, which is far too many. Root had hardly any.

I thought Mark Wood and Woakes bowled really well to Gayle and got their plans in. They bowled a number of slower balls and that is why there were so many dot-balls as he could not get them away.

As good a player that Gayle is, that is something which he has to work on. But let’s not write off the West Indies. They have four players who could have played on Wednesday to make their team better.

They have some talented players in one-day cricket and come the World Cup, they might spring a few surprises.