England want to be World Cup favourites

England coach Trevor Bayliss says that his team want to be favourites heading into a World Cup at home in 2019.

Bayliss wants England to retain their number one ranking throughout the build up to the quadrennial showpiece which they will host next year.

In the ECB’s match programme for the ongoing ODI series against Australia Bayliss says: “Being the No.1 team in the world and playing at home, we should be going into the World Cup as favourites – that’s how we want it to be.

“But, we need to be at our best for 12 months and in order to do that, we have to keep winning big series under the pressure of playing at home and the expectation of winning.

“Every series we play between now and the ICC Cricket World Cup at home next year is of huge importance. While it’s pleasing to have reached No.1 in the world, the hard part is staying there.”

Bayliss admits that being hosts and tournament favourites puts a target on his charge’s backs.

“Every other team is coming after us to knock us off our perch, starting with Australia,” added Bayliss.

“If we don’t improve then it’s likely one or two teams will overtake us.

“Other sides around the world have said that maybe they should play the way we do, which is why we keep having to find ways to stay ahead. And you can always be better in every department – score even more runs, bowl better, field better. It’s no secret that our batting has been our strength so maybe we can improve the bowling.

“We’re always working on our fielding – that’s a constant. If you want to win the World Cup, you pretty much need to be the best fielding team.”

Bayliss feels that competition for places, particularly at the top of the order has helped take the team to the next level.

The coach said: “We’ve seen the benefit of this competition for places at the top of the order. Having Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy and Alex Hales compete for two spots has upped the standard. Jonny’s come in and done really well and to keep someone like Alex out of the team is a good effort. That also pushes Jason, knowing that Alex is striving hard to get back.

“It’s also important for the guys in the XI not to feel too comfortable in the team. If you do, you might get a nasty surprise, but if you’re being pushed hard to keep your place then you can be spurred on to greater things.”