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England

Uncharted territory: England have never won the World Cup

Uncharted territory: England have never won the World Cup

England squad
Andrew Strauss (capt)
James Anderson
Ian Bell
Ravi Bopara
Tim Bresnan
Stuart Broad
Paul Collingwood
Kevin Pietersen
Matt Prior
Ajmal Shahzad
Graeme Swann
James Tredwell
Jonathan Trott
Luke Wright
Mike Yardy

Overview

It's been a stunning 18 months for England in all forms of the game, starting with a Champions Trophy semi-final, taking in an impressive tour of South Africa and victory in the World Twenty20, and culminating in a stunning 3-1 victory in the Ashes.

But that gruelling schedule has taken its toll with a host of injuries blighting a one-sided defeat in a needlessly-long ODI series after the highs of retaining the urn.

If they can regroup, though, England have a side well capable of launching their first significant World Cup challenge in almost 20 years under the calm, authoritative leadership of the Andys Flower and Strauss.

There are matchwinners and real quality throughout the side - if they can get their first-choice XI on the park.

Strengths

Pace spearhead: Anderson will lead the bowling attack

There is plenty of depth to the batting, with Jonathan Trott assuaging any doubts about his ability in ODI cricket with a sensational run-laden series in Australia that showed he could score quickly as well as consistently.

With Strauss a steady presence at the top of the order and the likes of Kevin Pietersen and the new and improved Ian Bell in the middle order England have huge runs in them when everything clicks, as well as plenty of bowlers who are capable with the bat like Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad.

England are undoubtedly among the better fielding sides around now, led by Paul Collingwood, who may be fading with the bat but remains a wonderful fielder. Bell and Pietersen are fine fielders both in the ring and on the rope, while James Anderson may well be the finest fast-bowling fielder of all time.

The bowling attack is inconsistent, but has plenty of variety and, with decent spin and reverse-swing options, can succeed in sub-continent conditions.

Weaknesses

Man in charge: Strauss

Fatigue, focus and injuries look like England's biggest obstacles to success.

So much time and effort was put in to the Ashes success that the World Cup is inevitably something of an afterthought.

They haven't fielded a first-choice bowling line-up at any stage in the Australia ODI series with James Anderson rested and every other frontline bowler injured at some stage.

Key batsman Eoin Morgan has already been ruled out with a broken finger and, with the tournament just round the corner, Paul Collingwood, Stuart Broad, Ajmal Shahzad, Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan are all still fighting fitness battles.

England must also overcome the weight of history after four successive World Cup campaigns ended in embarrassing early exits.

Six-hitter - Kevin Pietersen

Poor form: Pietersen's 50-over form is scratchy

KP has been inconsistent in the last two years but still thrives on the big occasion. He was man of the tournament at the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean and played his part in England's Ashes success with a stunning double-century in Adelaide.

He remains the side's most powerful ball-striker and will once again be determined to show his class with the world watching.

Strike bowler - Graeme Swann

Sent spinning: Swann has enjoyed a meteoric rise

In a remarkable two-year rise, Swann has established himself among the world's premier spin bowlers. It's a remarkable achievement for an orthodox off-spinner - an art that was apparently on its way to being consigned to the history books.

His ebullient personality carries through to his bowling where he is always aggressive, looking to coax a big shot out of batsmen and never content merely to contain.

His spin alliance with the contrasting Mike Yardy was key in the Caribbean and will be so again.

Look out for...Jonathan Trott

Rock: Trott is the middle-order lynchpin

Struggled to pin down a place in the one-day side despite making some handy scores due to doubts over his ability to score at a quick enough rate in modern ODI cricket.

But those fears were put to bed in fine style during an otherwise disappointing one-day series for England in Australia as the Warwickshire man scored two centuries and an unbeaten 82.

The second of those centuries in particular proved that Trott could score quickly and accelerate when required.

Trott still relies heavily on his ability to work the ball to leg in order to keep the scoreboard ticking but has started to show the shot-making talent he has shown in recent years for Warwickshire.

Now averaging well over 50 in one-day internationals, Trott's task is to be the reliable rock around which England's innings are built.

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