ENGLAND captain Eoin Morgan believes the World Cup can have a huge impact on cricket in Britain this summer — but insists the team must not yet start looking ahead to the competition.
The tournament will take place across 11 stadiums in England and Wales, with the first ball to be bowled 100 days away on May 30 when the hosts face South Africa.
England currently top the One Day International rankings and will be keen to win the World Cup for the first time.
The fact the 2019 edition is taking place at home also means a lot to Morgan, who feels it can help develop cricket and help the England team in the future.
‘It is so powerful,’ he said when asked what hosting the tournament means to cricket.
‘When a World Cup comes around it is very similar to the impact of an Olympics of Commonwealth Games — it brings people together.
‘Participation in sports grew after London 2012, for example, and Team GB doing so well. The World Cup can do that, too. It can boost the grassroots game.’
While Morgan is happy to talk about the impact the World Cup can have on the nation, he is not ready to turn his attention to lifting the trophy at Lord’s on July 14 and is instead focused on Wednesday’s opening ODI against the West Indies.
‘All of our build-up over the last three and a half years has been towards this World Cup,’ he said.
‘We have been able to stay in the moment, take it game by game and series by series and learn as much as we can from them along the way.
‘At the moment we have 11 games before the start of the World Cup, it is important for us to not stand still — learn as much as we can and put ourselves into the best position we can.
‘We are going to try and win the series in West Indies and then we we come home we have the Pakistan series in the build-up.
‘I think it is important to focus on game by game, it would be easy to look ahead just purely to the World Cup and forget about the progression that needs to be made between now and then.
‘It is important to remain in the winning habit, we will lose games along the way but obviously staying true to our principles of being the best team we can be and sticking to our methods.’
■ Eoin Morgan was speaking at the lauch of ‘Welcome to Our Area’ and ‘Playground Pundits’ projects as part of ICC Cricket World Cup Schools Programme. Visit chancetoshine.org