LONDON (Reuters) - England captain Eoin Morgan believes the expectation on his side to win the Cricket World Cup for the first time is to be expected given their form, but said producing the goods when it really matters represents a very different challenge.
Ranked the number one one-day side in the world, England are firm favourites with British bookmakers to lift the trophy on home soil with the tournament getting under way at The Oval next week.
England’s form coming into the tournament could be much better. A 2-2 draw with the West Indies ended a run of nine straight ODI series wins, but they bounced straight back with a 4-0 thrashing of Pakistan this month.
Morgan, though, warned that such a run does not guarantee World Cup glory.
“Nobody is head and shoulders above everyone else,” Morgan told reporters at the World Cup captains’ news conference on Thursday. “It is going to be very difficult.
“Expectations do not come out of thin air. We have scored some quite high scores, especially at home, and that has brought a lot of confidence.
“The World Cup is a different kettle of fish. Everything we have done does contribute, but you still have to produce the goods.
“These are the 10 best teams in the world, so it is going to be extraordinarily competitive.”
Australia captain Aaron Finch said England’s recent form cannot be overlooked.
“England have been in great form for a number of years and you have to say they are definitely favourites,” Finch said.
“If you look over the past couple of years, their scores have been going up and up.”
Since the last World Cup England have passed 400 four times, setting the two highest scores in international history and nine of the 10 highest totals ever by England sides.
However, India captain Virat Kohli does not believe it will be all about the batsmen.
“They (England) seem to be obsessed with getting to 500 before anyone else,” Kohli said. “They smash it from ball one and for the full 50 overs.
“260/270 is going to be as difficult to get as chasing 370, 380 in a World Cup.
“I don’t see too much high scoring in later half of the tournament. Some teams might get on a roll, but you’ll see 250 defended as well as because of the kind of pressure that comes with it.
“When you get closer to the knockout phases that is going to bring greater pressure and no-one is going to go gung-ho from ball one.”
Reporting by Peter Hall, editing by Ed Osmond