England head coach Trevor Bayliss has said he wants his side to go into next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 as favourites.
Under Bayliss’ stewardship, England have risen to the No.1 spot in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings.
Bayliss is keen to cement top spot ahead of the World Cup next year, which will be played on home soil for his England team.
“Being the No.1 team in the world and playing at home, we should be going into the World Cup as favourites – that’s how we want it to be,” said Bayliss in the official ECB match programme for the current England v Australia ODI series.
“But, we need to be at our best for 12 months and in order to do that, we have to keep winning big series under the pressure of playing at home and the expectation of winning.
“Every series we play between now and the ICC Cricket World Cup at home next year is of huge importance. While it’s pleasing to have reached No.1 in the world, the hard part is staying there.”
Given their position in the rankings, added to home advantage at the World Cup, Bayliss knows his side will be a target for the majority of their opponents.
“Every other team is coming after us to knock us off our perch, starting with Australia,” added Bayliss.
“If we don’t improve then it’s likely one or two teams will overtake us.
“Other sides around the world have said that maybe they should play the way we do, which is why we keep having to find ways to stay ahead. And you can always be better in every department – score even more runs, bowl better, field better. It’s no secret that our batting has been our strength so maybe we can improve the bowling.
“We’re always working on our fielding – that’s a constant. If you want to win the World Cup, you pretty much need to be the best fielding team.”
England have developed impressively over recent years in the one-day format following a disappointing performance at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and have an abundance of quality white-ball players at their disposal.
Bayliss reckons the competition for places in the ODI squad will only benefit the team’s performances.
“We’ve seen the benefit of this competition for places at the top of the order. Having Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy and Alex Hales compete for two spots has upped the standard. Jonny’s come in and done really well and to keep someone like Alex out of the team is a good effort. That also pushes Jason, knowing that Alex is striving hard to get back."
“It’s also important for the guys in the XI not to feel too comfortable in the team. If you do, you might get a nasty surprise, but if you’re being pushed hard to keep your place then you can be spurred on to greater things.”
After a three-wicket victory at The Oval, England are 1-0 up in the five-match ODI series against Australia. The next match takes place at Cardiff on Saturday, 16 June.