James Anderson admitted he has had to reassess in his own mind England’s chances of winning the World Cup following their enthralling one-day international series draw against the West Indies.
England have risen to the top of the ODI rankings and are favourites to finally clinch a maiden 50-over global crown on home soil, but they were recently given a reality check in the Caribbean earlier this year.
With buccaneering powerhouse Chris Gayle to the fore, the Windies – who made it through the World Cup qualifying tournament by the skin of their teeth last year – pushed England to their limits.
The Windies almost chased down 419 before blowing away Eoin Morgan’s tourists for 113 to secure a 2-2 stalemate, prompting Anderson to acknowledge that any of the 10 teams are capable of going all the way this summer.
Speaking at Lancashire’s media day, the 36-year-old said: “I’d be really disappointed if England don’t make the semis.
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“Before the one-day series against the West Indies, my head was nailed on and thinking ‘we’re definitely winning it’.
“But then 2-2 against the West Indies, I know slightly different conditions, but it not necessarily told me that England weren’t up to it, but just showed the West Indies, who had to qualify for the World Cup, are still a threat.
“So in my head now, there are 10 teams that can potentially get into the semi-finals, you can’t take anyone for granted.
“It’s wide open, but I’m still hopeful that England can go all the way.”
England’s leading Test wicket-taker of all-time has not featured in a limited-overs international in four years, a casualty of their embarrassing World Cup group stage exit.
Since then, England have undergone a remarkable transition from also-rans to world beaters, largely thanks to a star-studded batting line-up that has broken several records.
Batsmen regularly going after bowlers means a part of Anderson is therefore not envious he will be cheering on England from the sidelines.
He said: “I’m too old for it.
“The way they’ve improved over the last four years since the last World Cup has been astronomical and I’ve loved watching it, loved sitting back and commentating on a few games and enjoyed how the team has developed into the team that they are now.
“It’s just a thankless task as a bowler at times: scores of 400 getting chased down and things like that, I’ll leave it to them.”