Bayliss begins World Cup prep in earnest

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With the Ashes now behind England coach Trevor Bayliss turns himself to the task that may yet define his tenure as coach.

Whatever has happened in Test cricket since he has taken over Bayliss has presided over a much improved ODI team and his goal for 2019 is clear, win the World Cup.

Bayliss is likely to look to expand his pool of fifty over players over the next twelve months before looking to narrow that into a training group when they prepare to host the ICC showpiece in 2019.

By contrast to the Test outfit The England ODI team’s great strength is the power of their top six batsmen with white ball specialists filling in the blanks around Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.

A decent Ashes campaign sees Dawid Malan, who is highly rated in limited overs cricket, come in to replace Ben Stokes who is still sidelined by the ongoing police investigation into the events of September 25 in Bristol.

Joss Buttler, Sam Billings and David Willey come straight out of the Big Bash in Australia.

Billings ended his spell with the Sydney Sixers with an unbeaten 61 on January 8th in Hobart but he faces stiff competition for a place in the XI.

Jason Roy and Alex Hales have been formidable up front for England though the tourists experimented with Bairstow up top in the warm up while Root rested following his illness at the end of the Ashes.

England have a decent and varied bowling attack to back up the potent top order and are generally sharp in the field, this series will serve as a yardstick for how far they have progressed since being dumped out of the 2015 World Cup in Australia following a loss to Bangladesh.

Australia on the other hand are a team searching for their best white ball players in a sea of options with some suggesting that search isn’t going well after the recall of Cameron White following an injury to the explosive Chris Lynn.

Glenn Maxwell finds himself outside the Australia squad yet again, though he has accepted that he hasn’t scored the kind of runs he would like in the format of late.

For Australia much will hinge on how well the settled opening pairing of Aaron Finch and David Warner do while the middle order will be occupied by the skipper Steve Smith and a man many feel will become the skipper Travis Head.

Head will be eager to exploit any opportunities to bat further up the order to try and cement his place in the World Cup squad in 2019 by weight of runs.

Young WA seamer Jhye Richardson and wily Andrew Tye will serve as backup to the big three of Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins with rotation set to be the order of the game.

Adam Zampa is the only specialist spinner in the squad but it would be surprising if he played all five matches with Smith likely to make do with the part-time spin of Head.

Marcus Stoinis has proven his big match temperament before but may have to compete with Mitchell Marsh for a place in the XI.

Tim Paine’s renaissance continues with a recall to the ODI squad which establishes him as the incumbent keeper across all three formats when it seemed his career at the highest level was over before an unlikely Ashes recall.

These are two very good ODI outfits who should give us a closely contested series, based purely on recent ODI form England should be slender favourites to take this series.

Key Players

Warner is capable of taking the game away from any team with his devastating batting and England will need to focus on getting him early.

Starc’s ability to bowl rapid Yorkers make him a tough prospect for teams to face in ODI cricket and he will be eager to get stuck into the England top order early.

If England do find themselves three down for spit skipper Eoin Morgan has shown the ability to pull them from the fire and has the confidence to carry his side home.

Liam Plunkett’s development into a top ODI bowler has been a boon for England who have found his wicket-taking ability more than handy.

Teams

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Cameron White, Adam Zampa.

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

Fixtures

First ODI MCG, January 14.

Second ODI Gabba, January 19.

Third ODI SCG, January 21.

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26.

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28.

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