England’s Jonny Bairstow is adamant he and his team-mates are under “no illusions” about their prospects at next year’s ICC World Cup despite the confidence they will take from victory over India.
That they are the competition’s hosts had contributed to their status as favourites, even before back-to-back Joe Root centuries set up a 2-1 ODI series win over the nation widely considered their biggest threat.
The 28-year-old Bairstow was also influential in Tuesday’s decisive success at Headingley but admits England’s fortunes could drastically change before next summer.
“We’re under no illusions that there’s going to be injuries, changes that may potentially be made, and you can’t look too far ahead with conditions,” he told Press Association Sport. “This summer’s been red-hot; next summer might be freezing cold and raining.
“Different conditions, different pitches, stadiums, all contribute to different balances of the team. It’s still 12 months away, there’s still a long way to go. A lot of cricket to be played.
“To beat the number two in the world, there was a lot of pressure coming in with that, a lot of people wrote us off with it. The most pleasing thing in that final game was it was almost like a knockout game in many ways.
“We had to put in a performance, and to set the tone like our opening bowlers did up top after winning the toss and bowling first was really pleasing for us as a team, and naturally I’m really delighted for Rooty, to go and get his 100 at his home ground.
“It was great. Back home in front of a home crowd; the support all the way around the country’s been great. To go back home, to win at Headingley and win the series was great fun.”
England’s improvement since their disappointing performances at the 2015 World Cup owe partly to Bairstow’s performances as their one-day opener and he said: “I’m absolutely delighted.
“The one-day side’s been pretty tough to break into, because people have been playing so well. It’s just been a case of trying to take the opportunities when you can.
“It’s been a bit frustrating at times but now, looking back, those are the things that make you hungrier and the desire a bit stronger to succeed when you do get the opportunity to play.
“There’s 11 important cogs all the way through. Everyone, with different aspects of their game, contributes into us hopefully performing and improving as a side leading into next year’s World Cup.”
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