Under Bayliss’s regime England have transformed into one of the most formidable outfits in one-day internationals, and have grown even stronger in Tests. This year, the team will have the opportunity to prove just how far they have come in both formats, at the World Cup and then at the Ashes.
It also offers England the chance to send the coach out with the perfect farewell gift. Bayliss himself doesn’t see any reason why his team can’t achieve the exceptional double.
“I’m not sure (winning the World Cup is priority),” said Bayliss. “There’s nothing like beating Australia in the Ashes, like we did at home in 2015. And having lost in Australia 12 months ago, it’s hard to pick between them. Hopefully we walk away with both trophies.”
England’s improved performances in both one-day internationals and Tests have heightened expectations, and playing at home will mean even greater public scrutiny. That could translate to pressure, but Bayliss is confident his team can cope well with it.
“It probably wouldn’t get any bigger, especially in six months and at home,” said Bayliss. “That brings pressure with it in itself and one that we have been working towards, playing under pressure.”
England’s immediate focus, however, is on finding success in the Caribbean. The tour gets underway on Wednesday, 23 January, with the first of three Tests, in Barbados and Bayliss has his sights set on nothing less than a series win.
“A 1-0 win would do us,” he said. “We’d like to win the series but we set out to win every Test we play. We know that’s not always possible and the West Indies have actually had some good performances over the last 12-18 months and they beat us (at Headingley) 18 months ago.
“It’s not easy playing away from home as we’ve seen over a number of years from every country’s point of view. So we’re certainly not taking them lightly.”