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World Cup success can boost Ashes prospects – Joe Root

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

There’s still some way to go for the English international summer, but Joe Root is already thinking of the best-case scenario – lifting the World Cup 2019 at home, and then building on that at the Ashes.

England are the No.1-ranked side on the ICC ODI rankings, and are one of the favourites to lift the trophy at home. However, it’s not all been smooth in the lead-up to the tournament – England blew hot and cold in the West Indies, and drew the ODI series 2-2.

Root said that was a “nice little reminder” for the team not to be complacent heading into the summer. “[The West Indies tour] was obviously an opportunity to put together a string of good performances coming into a World Cup,” Root told Sky Sports News. “It’s really important that we take on board what happened, and we come into this summer full of confidence.

England blew hot and cold in the ODIs in the Caribbean

England blew hot and cold in the ODIs in the Caribbean

“We’re an experienced side now and we will have learned from that. But it’s a nice little reminder for us almost that we can’t become complacent and we’ve just got to continue to keep looking to get better.

“We’ve played some great stuff over the last couple of years and shown that we’re a very good side in our own conditions. The eight games we have before the World Cup starts is an opportunity for us to get into the best place possible, so we’re peaking when we need to be.”

That said, Root couldn’t help thinking of winning the tournament, and then leading the side in the Ashes. “[Hosting the World Cup] is obviously very exciting,” he said. “At this time of the season, after having a bit of time off, very quickly your mind starts switching to what’s to come.

“Hopefully we’ll be on a flier after a brilliant World Cup. Ultimately when those Test matches come around, we know we’re going to have to be absolutely ready for them.

“We know if we play to our potential in these conditions, we will be a very difficult side to beat. It’s all about us preparing how we want to and being absolutely ready for everything Australia come and throw at us.”

The prospect of captaining England at the Ashes makes “hairs stand up on your arms just thinking about it”, but Root is aware of the need to stay in the present.

Root can't wait for the Ashes

Root can’t wait for the Ashes

“There’s so much cricket to be played between now and then, that it would be wrong to look too far ahead to those opening days and all of those little intricacies that come with an Ashes series.”

England begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa on May 30. The Ashes will begin in Birmingham on August 1.

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