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.”
The 30-year-old has not represented his country in the longest format since 2016 and just five months ago he signed a contract with Yorkshire that would ensure he only played one-day competitions for them this season.
Since then, Rashid’s form in limited-overs cricket has been terrific. No one has taken more wickets across one-day and Twenty20 internationals for England this summer, with Rashid having picked up 25 victims, including Virat Kohli at Headingley on Tuesday with a sharply-turning delivery that left India’s captain awestruck.
Rashid’s performances have been delivered at a time when England are short of spin options in the five-day arena too. Moeen Ali lost his place following a difficult winter and Dom Bess and Jack Leach have been handed debuts since.
Spin may be a key factor in the five-match series with India following the uncharacteristically hot and dry summer on these shores so England could consider deploying two spinners, which raises the question of Rashid’s possible return.
Asked whether Rashid would be considered if he was playing red-ball cricket, Bayliss replied: “Possibly. This year is probably the best we’ve seen him bowl.
“He’s bowled well in one-day cricket over the last few years but his control and his consistency this year has been top class and probably the best I’ve seen him bowl since I’ve been here.
“(Reconsidering) is a decision he’s got to make. I’m not sure whether (national selector) Ed Smith’s had a chat with him or not. Could he get picked in the Test team on white-ball form? Well, it’s already been proven this year – it’s happened once (with Jos Buttler). So I’m sure he’ll be up for discussion, definitely.”
Speaking after Tuesday’s win over India, Rashid had said: “I’m just concentrating on white-ball cricket. I’m looking forward to the winter now.”
Moeen has missed England’s last three Tests but appears to have found his mojo again in the recent ODIs.
But Bayliss wants to see him bowl well with a red ball too so England’s selectors will keep a keen eye on Worcestershire’s County Championship contest with Somerset, which begins this weekend and could feature Moeen, Leach and Bess.
“We’d like to see him do it in four-day cricket,” Bayliss added of Moeen.
“His one-day cricket hasn’t been a lot different really. He does what he does and he bowls pretty well for us and scores a few runs, plays a good role for us at number seven and as the second spinner behind Rash.
“He’s a confidence player and that’ll be a decision we have to make before that first Test. Do we take in two spinners for some of these games?
“It is a bit drier this year and if we do we need to decide who those two are going to be.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will stage trial matches in September as it decides on the best format for its new 100-ball-a-side competition, Press Association Sport understands.
Loughborough will host a series of women’s games between September 13-16 and men’s teams will play at Trent Bridge from September 16-18 to test a range of proposals decided upon by a steering group chaired by Clare Connor, the director of women’s cricket.
The matches will be contested by teams of elite players with the counties having been sounded out about those who might be available to take part – with a series of first-class fixtures still to be completed at that point.
A series of different formats will be trialled for the eight-team city-based tournament – dubbed “The Hundred”, although the name too is yet to be finalised – which is due to take place for the first time in July and August 2020.
A team comprising members of the Board’s high performance group, representatives of the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the players themselves will assess the elements of each in a bid to identify the best one for an initiative the ECB hopes will attract a new audience to cricket.
Much of the focus will be on coming up with a game which is entertaining, easy to understand, logistically accessible and value for money with England director of cricket Andrew Strauss having referenced “mums and kids in the school holidays” as part of the target group after the move was announced in April.
Suggestions that each team would be required to bowl six 15-ball overs and one of 10 have attracted criticism, while there have also been reports that 10 overs of 10 balls could represent the way forward.
However, it is understood no hard and fast decisions have yet been taken.