Liam Plunkett has warned Australia that England are a “different sort of animal” to their predecessors.
The Ashes rivals meet in a hotly-anticipated World Cup semi-final at Edgbaston on Thursday, with Australia looking to continue their bid for a sixth title while England hope to stay in the hunt for their first.
In terms of tournament experience, the away side hold all the cards, as well as victories in the last four World Cup matches between the teams, but Plunkett says times have changed.
“They’ve been there and done it before but not against this bunch of players,” he said.
“We’re a different sort of animal compared to our last teams. We’ve played well for the past four years, we’re ranked number one and we feel in a good place. We feel on our day we can beat anyone in the world.”
Plunkett is the elder statesman of the current England squad, making his international bow as far back as 2005 and earning his previous taste of World Cup cricket 12 years ago in the West Indies.
He has had a front-row seat to the evolution of England’s one-day cricket and has never known a better mood.
“We had amazing players (previously) but I never thought we’d win a World Cup,” he said.
“We’ve made it exciting again. I’ve played in teams where we didn’t expect to win. With this squad the public expect us to win games and win series. It would be nice to finish this four-year cycle. This journey we’ve been on, with this group of boys, it comes down to this.”
At 34, Plunkett is unlikely to see service in four years’ time when the event heads to India, meaning the next few days represent the grandest stage of his career.
“I think so,” he agreed. “I don’t think I’ll play another World Cup so for me personally, it’s the biggest,” he said.
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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.