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Cricket news - England look to recreate summer of '05
Joe Root believes England's ODI side can recreate the scenes of 2005 with World Cup success this week. On Sunday, Channel 4 aired a documentary on the Ashes series of that year which captivated the nation like no other. Certainly no other since, with it being the last live English cricket shown on free-to-air television.
Since then, a move to subscription television with Sky Sports has decreased the game's visibility, though Sky's support of the domestic game and the national set-up has been to a level that few others could match. And, in a gesture of goodwill, Sky announced last week that should England beat Australia in Thursday's semi-final, the final on Sunday will be available for free.
That, too, maybe Channel 4, with the Guardian reporting talks between the two broadcasters are on-going. Root, who like many others in the squad were inspired by the summer of '05, hopes this team can evoke similar feelings for younger and older generations.
"I think it is one of the most pleasing things that you can do as a sportsman," said Root on the prospect of eliciting that inspiration in the public. "I can remember that 2005 Ashes as a kid and really being absorbed in that whole series at 14 years old, it was magical.
"And for us to have a similar opportunity on a slightly different scale maybe, is very exciting and it is great to see people showing a huge interest in cricket. It is great that this group of players are playing their part in getting people interested and it would be brilliant if we could take that even further by doing what we have done in the last couple of games.
"Every player wants to see the game grow and flourish, so it would be great to be able to help do that by achieving something very special."
The upcoming fixture at Edgbaston will be England's first world cup semi-final since 1992. Australia's wind-up merchant in chief Nathan Lyon has stated the hosts have most to lose by not making it through this fixture and, to be fair, he is right.
The last four years have been building to this moment and, after overcoming a stutter in the group stages, the finishing line, though some distance away, is in sight.
Root casually dismissed Lyon's sentiments - "Nathan has a lot to say a lot of the time, so for me, you just take it with a pinch of salt" - and admitted the prospect of being two wins away from glory is one that brings eagerness rather than trepidation.
"It is extremely exciting. Guys who have been involved in high profile series, or World Cups or Champions Trophies before, having those experiences in the bank will definitely help.
Managing all that over the next couple of days will be important so that when the game comes round it is normal service resumed. We've been playing some really good stuff in the last couple of games and we just have to take that into this week. We're full of confidence, we've managed pressure well to get to this point, coping with two must win games, so I feel like we are as ready as we ever have been to take on this challenge."
To achieve that, Root and the rest understand they must do as they have done over the last few years in which they rose to the top of the ODI rankings. Tentativeness saw them lose to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia to put. But after an emergency meeting after the third defeat, the team's mindset is back on track. And playing their attacking brand of cricket is exactly what is needed to get as many eyes as possible on the game.
"The more we can stick to that and the more we can remember the conversations we had before that India game the better. We know that when we play the right kind of cricket and we think clearly under pressure then we will give a great account of ourselves.
"One of the things about this team is that when we play well, it is good to watch, it is entertaining cricket and it will get people engrossed in cricket which is credit to Morgs and to Trevor.
"Also credit to Andrew Strauss for the groundwork that he put in to see how we could give ourselves the best chance of success and how that could be something people want to follow and be interested in."
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