The ECB’s new managing director of cricket, Ashley Giles, says England are “on track” heading into the Men’s Cricket World Cup.
England are the hosts for that tournament, and, as the MRF Tyres No.1 ranked ODI team in the world, favourites to take home the title. If they do so, it would be the first time they have won a global ODI trophy. However, Giles, who succeeded Andrew Strauss, isn’t getting ahead of himself.
"This year represents a great year for us to do something really special but at the moment that's all it is,” he told Sky Sports News. “If we just sit back and expect that to happen, we're crazy. The train is moving at a hell of a pace down the tracks and my role really is to make sure we stay on track and there is nothing there that can derail us. We can't take our foot off the gas now.
"We have good guys in control who know what they're doing and I'm sure they’re as excited as everyone else in the country.”
Giles couldn’t help but get a little excited however at the prospect of a summer which could end with England having won the Cricket World Cup and reclaimed the Ashes from arch-rivals Australia.
"We have probably never been in a stronger position as a team to challenge for both [World Cup and the Ashes],” he said. “I don't see why we couldn't win both. Possibly the timing is right as we are getting to a point where we are playing good cricket in both forms.
"I'm very aware things can change quickly. We need to keep our best players on the park and make sure they are happy and confident and give them the best chance of success.”
England’s turnaround in white-ball cricket has been particularly impressive, from getting knocked out at the group stage of the last competition to being frontrunners for this. Giles credited the work of his predecessor for helping oversee a sea change in how England approach ODI cricket.
"Straussy redressed the balance between white-ball and red-ball cricket which I think was important and we have seen the Test team start to flourish. It's important we keep driving that forward, it is an important part of my job."
While England’s side is one of the strongest in the world, some feel it could be strengthened by the inclusion of Jofra Archer, who will qualify for England at some point ahead of the tournament’s start in June. While crediting Archer as exciting, Giles said there are “no guarantees” he will be granted a World Cup squad berth.
"He is exciting," Giles said. "I have seen him on the county circuit and watched him in the Big Bash at length. He bowls at 90mph, is a good athlete, has good one-day skills. He has some good stuff going for him and it's exciting for him and England cricket. But there are no guarantees [he will] be picked in that World Cup squad.
"There is a lot of competition and a lot of guys who have played a big part in getting us to this point. I am pretty sure whoever we pick in that squad we are going to have a decent set of players to challenge for the trophy."
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