Joe Root is hoping that England can inspire a new generation of cricketer fans by capturing the 2019 ICC World Cup trophy on home soil.
The hosts are yet to win a 50-over World Cup title but that drought is just two steps from being broken as they get ready to face arch-rivals Australia in the semi-final at Edgbaston.
Root is taking inspiration from England’s Ashes triumph in 2005 over Australia and hopes the current side can leave a similar impact on the nation.
“I can remember that 2005 Ashes as a kid and being really absorbed in that whole series at 14 years old,” Root was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“It was magical. For us to have a similar opportunity, on a slightly different scale maybe, is very exciting. It is great to see people showing a huge interest in cricket and it is great that this group of players are playing their part in getting people interested.
“Every player wants to see the game grow and flourish so it would be great to be able to help do that by achieving something very special. I think it is one of the most pleasing things that you can do as a sportsman. It would be brilliant if we could take that even further by doing what we have done in the last couple of games.”
History is riding against England for Thursday’s clash with Australia yet to lose a World Cup semi-final in seven past meetings so far. However, the hosts will take comfort from their track record at Edgbaston where they have won their last 10 matches across all formats.
The Aussies, on the other hand, have not won at the venue in any format since 2001 with their last ODI victory at Edgbaston coming all the way back in 1993.
Australia are hoping all-rounder Marcus Stoinis can be fit in time for the 2019 ICC World Cup semi-final against arch-rivals England which takes place at Edgbaston on Thursday.
The defending champions had earlier called up Mitchell Marsh as cover for the injured all-rounder but Stoinis could still play a part in Thursday’s clash if all goes well in Tuesday’s training.
Stoinis is currently grappling with two side strains with the latest of them coming in Australia’s recent loss to South Africa. The all-rounder had earlier picked up a side strain in the round-robin phase clash against England.
“He’s pretty tough, Stoin. He’s played with the left side (strain) through the tournament and he bowled seven overs against England in a row and got through it okay,” Australia bowling coach Adam Griffith was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“Scans show things, but it will be more around his ability to perform. We’ll have a good look at that tomorrow when he bowls – not only will it be on the pace and the GPS numbers but also his execution. We’ll be able to make a pretty good assessment from there.
“It’s pretty uncommon (to injure both sides), so I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes tomorrow. That’s the best indication we’ll have that he’s not just fit to play, but fit to perform.”
Stoinis’ team-mate Peter Handscomb is backing the all-rounder to recover in time for the semi-final.
“If there’s anyone that can pull through this, it’s the big fella,” said Handscomb.
“I think his mental strength to be able to shut off pain or outside noise and really just zone in on the moment is really impressive and I think that’s why he has gone so far and done so well with his cricket.
“Hopefully, for his sake, he can find a way through and play on Thursday.”
Earlier on Monday, batsman Usman Khawaja was ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring injury he picked up in the clash against South Africa. Australia are hoping to replace the left-hander with wicketkeeper batsman Matthew Wade who has been called up as cover.
Australia bared their hearts – and feet – as they began preparations for their World Cup semi-final against England with an extended huddle on the outfield at Edgbaston.
The squad began Monday’s training session by discarding their socks and trainers, taking a walk across the playing surface and then sat for more than half-an-hour in the same state as they took it in turns to talk to each other about their emotions ahead of the knockouts.
The move seems to come directly from the playbook of head coach Justin Langer, who last year described himself as “a bit of a hippy”, who liked to spend a month a year growing out his beard and walking barefoot.
Peter Handscomb has yet to play in the tournament, having joined up as a replacement for Shaun Marsh, but is in line to face England in place of another injury victim, Usman Khawaja.
Asked for his take on the walkabout and ‘bonding circle’, Handscomb said: “It’s just a moment to get a feel for the ground, literally.
“You do that lap and you can see all the different views from the ground and where you might be fielding and it gives you an opportunity to take it all in before it all starts on Thursday.
“(We had) an open and honest conversation and it was great that some of the guys poured their heart out there about what it meant to get to the semi-final.
“There were some really good stories: what it meant for them and their first memories of cricket growing up. It was really nice to see what playing in the finals means to this group.”
Handscomb’s chance to be part of that group would not have come around but for the misfortune of others but he still feels for those who have been laid low.
Marsh is the only player who has been formally ruled out so far but the paperwork has been lodged for Matthew Wade to take the hamstrung Khawaja’s slot, while Mitch Marsh is travelling as cover for Marcus Stoinis.
“It’s actually living the dream to be here now,” he said.
“It’s really sad for those guys who have gone down, especially so late in the tournament.
“For those two guys who have done so much to go down was pretty gut -wrenching but they’re very excited for us and that’s the camaraderie in this group.
“Both Mitch and I have played recently in the one-dayers so we’ve been in and amongst the boys, and Wadey has been in and out for years. We’re all ready to go.”