Joe Root is like a kid at Christmas as the start of the ICC Men’s World Cup approaches.
“I’m just really wanting the tournament to start now,” the Yorkshire star told yorkshireccc.com.
“It’s felt like forever coming from the start of this season, having played those two Championship games.
“I almost just wanted us to roll straight into that tournament from there.
“I’m very much looking forward to it. It’s a great opportunity. It feels like everything has fallen together at the right time. Now it’s just about riding that bit of luck if we get it, to perform as well as we have done and bring the whole thing together.
“Hopefully we can also inspire a new generation.
“We saw that happen in 2005 with the Ashes, and we have a great opportunity with hosting a World Cup and playing the way we have to do something very similar.”
England’s freewheeling style of play has brought them impressive result after impressive result, mostly recent a home success against Pakistan.
They are ranked as the world’s number one side and seen as favourites to claim only a second global title after the 2010 World T20 in the West Indies.
“We’ve earned that favourites tag with the way we’ve played over the last year to year and a half in particular,” said Root.
“We’ve played some strong cricket, and it does give us a huge amount of confidence knowing that we go into the tournament on home soil as the number one ranked team in the world.
“Of course you have to live up to that, but that’s what you try and do every day.”
“We want to have a successful campaign, and we feel like we’re in a really good position to go and give the best account of ourselves as a team because of the way we’ve been playing as a team in the recent past.”
This will be Root’s second one-day World Cup campaign – his first came in 2015 when they were knocked out in the group stages in Australia and New Zealand.
Since then, captain Eoin Morgan and coach Trevor Bayliss, the latter who will leave his role after the Ashes in September, have inspired England’s current firebrand approach to white ball cricket both with bat and ball.
“It’s exciting and a very enjoyable way to play the game,” said Root.
“It’s alright having that mentality and way of playing, but when you know you can back it up, that breeds confidence within the group. There’s that belief there and history that we’ve done it before.
“Now it’s about doing it in a major tournament and winning some silverware.
“It’s taken quite a lot of courage to play in the way we have and to stick to it, especially when we’ve had bad days and things have gone against us.
“We’ve shown a great deal of unity in the way we’ve conducted ourselves throughout and looked after guys within the squad when they’ve been struggling.
“No one’s dealt with anything on their own, and a product of that is how close we are as a group on and off the field. We all really enjoy each other’s company.
“They’ve been massive (Morgan and Bayliss).
“You look at that New Zealand series (the first series after the 2015 World Cup) when Morgs put his own stamp on things and got us playing some really exciting cricket, he made some big calls on selection. It’s worked.
“Guys have bought into it.
“Trevor, it completely suits the way he coaches and the way he wants us to conduct ourselves. He’s someone who wants to give power to the players and responsibility to make some big decisions.
“When you see that work, it does breed a huge amount of confidence within the group.
“It speeds up the learning process. In the one-day side, I think you’ve seen a huge amount of that over the four-year cycle. It’s gradually improved throughout.
“The one thing that has been missing and couldn’t quite get right two years ago was winning that Champions Trophy semi-final against Pakistan and getting ourselves into a final.
“It’s about putting ourselves into a similar position this time and learning from two years ago and making sure we get ourselves into that final and play some strong cricket.”
England have just beaten Pakistan, completing a 4-0 series win at Emerald Headingley on Sunday, a game in which Root top-scored for the hosts with 84.
The 28-year-old Sheffield star said: “The most pleasing thing about the whole series was that you look across the board and everyone has put in performances. You can’t ask anymore of the group of players.
“There’s been some big scores, and guys have bowled well under pressure on occasions. We’ve taken early wickets at times and have managed to defend scores and chase them down.
“All that has come together at the right time.
“But you can prepare as well as possible, as we have done. But it’s now about converting that into the games that matter.”