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If England are ever going to win the Cricket World Cup, the 2019 event might just be their best chance. A lot can change in two and a half years, but England are currently on the rise under head coach Trevor Bayliss and their young stars look set to be primed to make an impact on the biggest stage of all.
The likes of Joe Root, Jason Roy and Ben Duckett will all be ready to deal with the added pressure of hosting a World Cup and expectations will be high if England continue to climb the One-Day International rankings.
At the time of writing, England are fifth in the ICC rankings for the short format of the game and Bayliss will be desperate to use the five ODI fixtures with Ireland and South Africa next summer to give his younger stars the opportunity to prove their worth.
Keaton Jennings, who signed for Durham earlier this year, has already worked his way into the England set-up but fans will want to see more of him on the international front in the coming months. He notched a century for the England Lions against the United Arab Emirates at the start of December and recorded his first start when opening the batting against India in the fourth Test of the series in Mumbai.
While the Test match series in India hasn’t gone to plan so far, Jennings could seize the chance to showcase his talent on the international stage and England would love nothing more than for the new Durham batsman to get his career off to a good start. Since Andrew Strauss retired back in 2012, England captain Alistair Cook has had 10 different partners at the top of the order – Jennings will be his 11th.
Keaton Jennings will become Alastair Cook's 11th opening partner since Andrew Strauss' retirement in 2012.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 7, 2016
Many England fans are very excited at the prospect of watching an explosive player like Jennings at the summit of the batting and his aggressive style is reminiscent to fellow South African-born England star Kevin Pietersen. He will certainly offer Bayliss a unique and exciting option towards the top of the order and he should relish the chance to go toe-to-toe with some of the best bowlers on the planet.
At 24 years old, Jennings could well develop into a consistent, competent option for the national side for many years to come. He finished as the highest run-scorer in English County Cricket last season, notching a very impressive 1,548 runs at an average of 64.5.
In addition, he recorded seven hundreds; including a double century against Yorkshire – a solid feat to say the least. With Jennings and the inspirational Root firing on all cylinders, there’s no reason why England cannot continue to climb the rankings and challenge for World Cup glory on home soil in 2019.
Scoring runs is all fine and dandy but England’s bowlers will also need to be at their brilliant best if Bayliss’ men are to stand any chance of challenging for the title. As of December 7th 2016, England are priced at 9/2 to win the World Cup in cricket odds available with Betway and Cook will be expecting his seamers and spinners to have a big impact as they hunt a maiden crown in the 50-over format.
While Stuart Broad will still be around, the evergreen James Anderson most certainly won’t be, and it will be up to somebody like Tymal Mills to step up to the plate. England have the likes of Mark Wood and Jake Ball coming through the ranks but Mills’ sheer speed could be a key factor in his selection in the coming years. Who knows, he might even play a crucial role in England's World Cup success in 2019 if all goes to plan.