Stuart Broad believes the England team have a once in a lifetime opportunity as the country prepares to play host to both a men’s World Cup and Ashes this year.
For the first time since the inaugural men’s World Cup in 1975, England will be staging the two biggest events in its international calendar — the 50-over global showpiece and a Test series against Australia — in the same home season.
“It’s awesome, the summer of our generation,” England paceman Broad said Thursday. “What an opportunity for the game to grow and inspire.”
“I look back to when I was a kid, you get inspired by big series like World Cups and the Ashes,” explained Broad, whose father Chris, an opening batsman, was a key member of the England side that enjoyed a triumphant tour of Australia in 1986/87.
“That’s the added pressure on us as players,” the four-time Ashes-winner said. “We can make this a summer to remember by winning trophies.”
No England men’s team have yet won a one-day World Cup, with the 2010 World Twenty20 their lone International Cricket Council trophy.
But Eoin Morgan’s side, currently involved in a series with Pakistan, are now top of the men’s one-day international rankings.
Broad, now a Test specialist after appearing in 121 ODIs, believes a top order set to feature Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali surpasses any England have had in limited overs cricket.
“It’s the men’s best ever chance to win a 50-over World Cup,” he said at the launch of the 2019 NatWest No Boundaries campaign, which aims to increase access to cricket.
“I’ve never seen an (England) ODI team go in with the quality this one has got, particularly in the batting, the top seven.”
England’s first-round exit following a loss to Bangladesh at the 2015 World Cup was the latest of several early departures from the tournament.
But that chastening defeat prompted a complete rethink of their approach to the white-ball game.
“They are a lot better (at one-day cricket),” said former England captain Michael Vaughan. “We weren’t good enough — that’s a fact.”
– ‘All the tools’ –
The victorious 2005 Ashes skipper added: “This England side have got all the tools required to win.
“It’s not going to be plain sailing, they are not going to have it all their own way. There will be difficult tosses they might lose, they might get on a tricky pitch in the semi-final like they did two years ago in the Champions Trophy (when they lost to Pakistan in Cardiff).
“I just think this England group, for the past four years since the last World Cup have had a clear definition of the plan. In the past, we’ve kind of arrived at a World Cup just hoping ‘Freddie’ (Andrew Flintoff) might just produce a magic day, or KP (Kevin Pietersen) might do something, or back in the day Alec Stewart might get you off to a good start.
“This team have got a real clear plan for every person’s role in the side. You go from 1-11 and you could argue that every single player could get in another team.”
Vaughan, however, warned against under-estimating reigning champions Australia.
“I’m concerned about the Aussies, I think they’ve just started to stumble across something good at the right time,” he said.
“Pakistan are always a threat, India but they (England) have got everything going for them.”