Cricket

England bystanders in tussle for ODI number one spot

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England, Australia and India will lock horns in a pre-World Cup tri-series tournament starting on Friday, when Australia take on England in Sydney.

All three teams will use the tournament to sharpen their skills before the main event and there is still a lot at stake for all the sides, particularly Australia and India who will battle it out for the number one ranking in ODI cricket.

Australia have recently beaten India comfortably in the Test series down under, so will be high in confidence, but the Indians are a different animal when it comes to ODI cricket. They are after all the reigning world champions.

Currently Australia and India are joint top of the ODI rankings so the outcome of this series will determine who heads into the World Cup as the highest ranked side which, psychologically, could be crucial.

Australia, on home soil, are favourites to land the World Cup but a number of sides, including India, will fancy their chances.

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However, let's not forget that there are three sides that make up the tri-series. So what will England hope to achieve?

Although England will be outsiders for the tri-series they will hope to surprise a few people and prove to many that they are serious contenders in ODI cricket.

Firstly they will want to continue the good form that they have shown in their two warm-up games down under. Although they have played against non-international sides they have shown signs of improvement, particularly their batting, so all is not necessarily lost for this World Cup campaign.

New captain Eoin Morgan will want to gain some momentum for his side and some stability following his appointment. Although preparation time for Morgan as captain is limited this may not be a bad thing as all the England players will want to prove their worth to their new captain. Morgan and England may be able to feed off this new-found impetus.

England's players will also want to learn their roles in the side. Each player will have a job to do during the World Cup so preparation now, against world-class opposition in match situations, is priceless. Morgan will learn a lot about the players he has in his squad from this series.

Although the outcome of the overall tri-series will not decide the outcome of the World Cup itself it will certainly affect the confidence of each side going in to the tournament. Hopefully England will have arrested their recent slide in ODI cricket by the time they start their World Cup campaign on February 14.

England's supporters will not be expecting much from the tournament but the players certainly have renewed confidence and, with a bit of luck, could well surprise a few people during the campaign.

Tri-series fixtures:

January

16 Australia v England, Sydney (SCG) (d/n)

18 Australia v India, Melbourne (d/n)

20 England v India, Brisbane (d/n)

23 Australia v England, Hobart (d/n)

26 Australia v India, Sydney (SCG) (d/n)

30 England v India, Perth (d/n)

February

1 Final, Perth (d/n)

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Topics:
Australia cricket
Cricket
England cricket
India cricket

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