England’s new world record total evidence of remarkable advances in batting
Eoin Morgan’s side are unrecognisable from the World Cup flops of 2015.
England’s new world record total is the latest compelling evidence of the remarkable advances their batsmen have made over the past three years.
Since their shambolic campaign in the last World Cup, England have reinvented themselves – going from barely also-rans in Australia and New Zealand to one-day international number ones and favourites to prove the point when this country stages the global tournament next summer.
They have done so with significant but not wholesale personnel change, under the same captain Eoin Morgan, who most importantly has encouraged them to back their talents and reach for the sky.
The upshot, immediately after that last World Cup debacle, was a thrilling 3-2 series victory in England’s very next campaign at home to New Zealand.
There have been 11 more series wins, culminating in their current success over depleted Australia – with precious few blips along the way taking in semi-final defeat to Pakistan in last summer’s Champions Trophy and one-off shock setback against Scotland in Edinburgh just this month.
England’s world-best 481 for six at Trent Bridge on Tuesday contained a welter of startling statistics – not least 21 sixes, more than they had mustered in that entire World Cup three winters ago.
It left Australia’s new coach Justin Langer comparing the powerhouse top order of Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy and Alex Hales with a famed trio of his contemporary compatriots – Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting – who were an irresistible force for so long.
Morgan, meanwhile, speaks with great pride at how England are the ones scaling the heights these days.
“I think the World Cup contributed to it massively – realising that 300 just wasn’t an acceptable score, or a winning score, and being good enough to go and get 350,” said the Irishman.
“It took us quite a while to get there. But certainly in that New Zealand series [in 2015], we identified we needed to be good enough to post a match-winning score … as opposed to previous teams where, if somebody got more than 300, we simply couldn’t chase it – because it was something we didn’t practise, didn’t preach about.
“Having an open mind about what we can achieve is important.”
England’s batsmen have even brought a target of 500 into focus for the 50-over format, having hit eight of this country’s nine highest ODI totals since June 2015 and twice set a new world record – both times at Trent Bridge.
Morgan added: “The avenue my career has taken has meant that the last three years is probably more special than the other guys are feeling at the moment.
“They are also very proud of what they have achieved, and we’re very lucky with the group of players we have.
“But certainly this is the best period of my career, and the proudest as well.”
While England’s bowling remains comparatively vulnerable, the batsmen simply keep raising the bar – and it seems likely one of their big hitters will join the five worldwide who have so far made an ODI double-century.
“It’s something that guys talk about,” said Morgan.
“They were talking about it in Scotland, when we were chasing – would an opportunity present itself?
“But I think, the way our team operates … it’s not an atmosphere where we say ‘Go and get 200, but face 190 balls’.
“I think if somebody gets it, they’ll face 140.
“That’s not what we’re about. [We won’t] compromise the way we go about our business – it’s very satisfying.”