Now For The Ashes: England’s World Cup Winners On The Brink Of Fresh Glory  

Now For The Ashes: England’s World Cup Winners On The Brink Of Fresh Glory  
13:55, 16 Jul 2019

How do you top it? Will there ever be anything quite like the magical disbelief of England’s victory over New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup final? 

Andrew Strauss hailed it as the greatest match in history. 

The former director of cricket himself deserves huge credit for the role he played behind the scenes in transforming his country’s ODI fortunes over the past four years, all amidst the most difficult personal circumstances. 

The ECB must now build on the momentum garnered from yesterday’s success – starting with the Ashes, which begins on August 1. 

Before that, there is a first ever Test match against Ireland, but thoughts are already leaping over that historic occasion and turning to the arrival of Australia. The headache facing England’s selectors is a welcome problem to have. 

Though he, of course, specialises in the shorter formats, Jofra Archer thoroughly deserves a shot at the Old Enemy. 

With 21 wickets at the World Cup and two in the final, the 24-year-old is England’s most prolific bowler at a single tournament in the competition’s history. 

If the English and Welsh pitches of the last two months are anything to go by, the Ashes could be another difficult series for spinners - so the inclusion of another fast bowler like Archer makes sense.  

It is all the more appealing when it remains uncertain whether James Anderson will have recovered from a calf injury in time for the first Test at Edgbaston. Liam Plunkett also did his bit against New Zealand with 3-42. 

Joining them in the squad will almost certainly be Jason Roy. The opener is the obvious choice to partner Surrey teammate Rory Burns at the top of the order, with Keaton Jennings the man sacrificed. 

The Lancashire batsman made 65 against Sussex but has largely continued his struggles, out for a nine-ball duck in his preceding County Championship innings against Northamptonshire that was telling of his confidence - or lack thereof, to be more precise. 

Given how difficult it has been to find a successor to Alastair Cook, it is not as if Roy has too much competition. 

Arguably the biggest fear which will have played on Trevor Bayliss’ mind ahead of the showdown at Lord’s was how a defeat might impact England psychologically. 

New Zealand gained an unwelcome record in becoming only the third side – England and Sri Lanka preceding them – to lose consecutive World Cup finals but losing could have been equally catastrophic for Eoin Morgan’s side, considering the level of expectation that has followed them this year.  

That is now of no concern, as England not only ride into the Ashes on a wave of optimism but on the shoulders of millions of new fans, four million tuning into their triumph on Channel 4 alone – that figure doesn’t take into account the millions more who watched it on Sky Sports. 

In that sense, the upcoming series is the biggest Ashes since 2005, and England are in a fine position to win it. 

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