England captain Eoin Morgan says winning a home World Cup could do wonders for cricket in the sport's birthplace as he prepares to lead his team in their tournament opener against South Africa.
England are top of the one-day international rankings and favourites to lift a trophy they have never yet won in its 44-year-history — a far cry from their woeful first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“It would mean a huge amount. The World Cup alone raises the profile of the game and is a platform for every young kid in this country to have a hero or have the inspiration to pick up a ball or a bat,” Morgan told reporters at the Oval on Wednesday.
“To go on and win it, I couldn't imagine what that would do,” the former Ireland batsman added.
England may have suffered several injury scares in recent weeks, including his own dislocated finger, but Morgan said all of his 15-man squad were available to face the Proteas at the Oval.
“I'm good and the team are very well. We've no injury concerns and we have a full bill of health for tomorrow,” he said.
With a lengthy group stage — all 10 teams play each other before the semi-finals — in prospect, Morgan had no time for talk of making a statement against South Africa.
“A win under any circumstances,” he said when asked what success would look like on Thursday.
Morgan said England's team hadbeen selected but would not be revealed until the toss, with fast bowlers Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood and Tom Curran appearing to be competing for one place.