Phil Tufnell backs England to lift the trophy
Phil Tufnell was part of the last England men’s squad to make a World Cup final – 27 years ago.
- Eoin Morgan will lead England out at Lord’s for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final against New Zealand
- Phil Tufnell was part of the last England squad to get to a Men’s World Cup final in 1992 – where they lost to Pakistan
But while the 1992 team fell at the final hurdle to Pakistan, Eoin Morgan’s class of 2019 are near certainties to finish the job on Sunday at Lord’s – according to the former left-armer turned pundit.
Tufnell has had the best seat in the house for much of England’s historic run to the final on home soil this summer.
And after Jason Roy and Chris Woakes inspired an eight-wicket walloping of Australia in the semi-finals, Tufnell can’t see how New Zealand are going to be able to stop this England team on Sunday.
“We just seem to have all bases covered,” said Tufnell at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Fanzone at Trafalgar Square on the eve of the final.
“The pace of Archer and Wood, the consistency of Woakes and Plunkett and that little bit of mystery from Rashid.
“Then in the batting line-up we have those two guys at the top who have been outstanding, the glue of Root, the big hitters of Morgan, Stokes and Buttler, I really can’t see a weakness in this team.
“I just think that while New Zealand have three or four world-class performers, England have got seven or eight.
“Eoin (Morgan) and the team have played it very cleverly. They said that they were favourites at the start of the competition, and they have embraced it.
“They have taken the heat out of it and are so confident, so well led by Eoin Morgan that they have said: ‘Yeah, you’re damn right. We are No.1 in the world and we are going to show you why.’”
Tufnell’s class of 92 were downed in surprising fashion by Pakistan in the final at the MCG 27 years ago.
And while Tufnell was not part of the XI that took to the field that day, he knows just how important it is for England to make the most of home comforts if they are to down the Black Caps.
He added: “You are in a bubble in a World Cup.
“A lot of things can happen, injuries, losses of form, it really is a squad effort. You are all in it together.
“But the guys know who is playing, it is just a question of taking your mind of things, go and see your friends and family, go to the cinema, try and do something normal.
“Because tomorrow is going to be anything but normal!
“A World Cup in anything is the pinnacle, it is what you play for.
“This tournament has already enthused a nation, I have been everywhere up and down the country and everyone stops me in the street and asks me ‘are England going to win it?’, ‘This is the first time I’ve seen cricket and I’m loving it!’
“The guys deserve a huge pat on the back for getting to the final, but to then go that extra mile and get over the line and win it will be huge for the country.”
Adil Rashid is likely to be England’s sole specialist spinner in the XI on Sunday.
The Yorkshire leggy has taken 11 wickets in this tournament – but has struggled with a shoulder problem.
However against Australia he appeared to be back to his best, fizzing googlies with the alacrity of old and Tufnell knows just how vital his fellow spinner will be on Sunday.
“It hasn’t been a spinners’ World Cup. It has been all about the quick boys, Mitchell Starc, Lockie Ferguson, Jofra Archer, these guys have done the damage,” added Tufnell.
“I was delighted to see Adil get three wickets against Australia, his confidence is on the up now.
“It just seems that all the little cogs are clicking into place and tomorrow is the day when they have got to go and deliver it.
“Lord’s is alright for spin bowlers, Adil can play with the slope and he has done well there before.”