Roles reversed as focussed England keep eyes on World Cup prize

Question marks about the limit of captaincies before the year of the World Cup? Check. A team with little confidence after a prolonged period of low performance in matters of more than 50 years? Check. A young but talented squad that often falls short of accepting demands for a new style of high-intensity cricket?

With four years of difference and the narrative surrounding the tour of England by Sri Lanka remains unchanged, apart from, of course, a slight reversal of roles.

In 2014, England, then as now, toured Sri Lanka with the World Cup on the horizon. They would end up losing the ODI 5-2 series to an opposition inspired by Kumar Sangakkara, although the real horror would hit in the World Cup where they would suffer the ignominy of a group stage exit.

"We were just two teams at very different stages of their cycles," said Eoin Morgan, captain of England now, but vice captain of Alastair Cook on that 2014 tour. "We were still trying to play a style that was not He played extremely well in that series, and Mahela [Jayawardene] also played very well "

From that nadir, however, England has squared in 17 series of ODI and has won all but four, two defeats to India and South Africa, one home to Australia and the other to a unique ODI against Scotland last summer.

Much of this success has revolved around a core group of players: Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes. All of whom were on that tour to Sri Lanka in 2014, and now they return four years later. Not many parties in the world of cricket can point to such an unwavering selection policy, but it is this ability to stay on course in terms of long-term ambition that is now reaping irrefutable dividends for an English side that, in the past, It has been very expensive. lacks vision

"It has been quite a long process, well thought out, well planned," Morgan said at the launch of the ODI series in Colombo. "But I think that, to a certain extent, we still have a long way to go to carry it out." It took us three and a half years to get where we are, but I think we're getting to the most important part of what we've been planning.

] "I think the players have done an exceptional job, well-trained as a team, and we have bought the way we want to play."

The key to this revolution has been Andrew Strauss, who left the position of director on Wednesday. of England cricket after three and a half years in office, Strauss has been credited for putting a renewed emphasis on limited cricket during his tenure, and Morgan was full of praise for the former captain of England.

been at the forefront, has been incredibly instrumental in his vision of the future and plans to take us to the position in which we are at this moment.

"If he returns at the beginning of our summer in 2015 and the address he gave me, the team and the selectors, it was Something that will prepare us for the 2019 World Cup. Without that address we would not have been allowed the freedom to play the way we've done it. "

For Sri Lanka, however, that direction has been very poor since that summer. The losses of players like Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan have been felt deeply, while the selection policy has been confused with players and spectators who are increasingly lacking faith in the process. Growing chaos has also left aside long-term planning in favor of short-term success at the 2019 World Cup.

This has led Hathur to use arrangements consistent with his team's make-up to counteract the points strong of the opposition. , very far from the clear vision of the group of English leadership experts.

"I think everywhere we travel and where we play presents different challenges," said Morgan. "I also think that trying to apply our plan around the world presents different types of pressures and different challenges within our group."

"It's something that I believe that in recent years we have done well as a team and has helped to grow as a team. Certainly, last winter, against New Zealand and Australia, we played in all kinds of conditions, some extremely challenging and others where we felt at home as well. So I think Sri Lanka will present challenges like that. "

With five ODI, a single T20I and three scheduled tests, this tour will undoubtedly be a challenge for both sides, for England, although it is only the next step. end of a World Cup win at home.

"Focusing on the process that got us here and not feeling overwhelmed is the main thing," Morgan said.

For Hathurusinghe and his company, it's an opportunity to face the best, although as the series prepares, the differences between the two sides are too great to ignore.Sri Lanka can face a fight and even surprise, but if they are going to be a constant force, they need Do not look too far for your plane.


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