Former England bowler Matthew Hoggard has challenged the current crop of players to build on a prosperous past few months and write their names into the history books.
Following on from their Ashes success last summer, England sealed a momentous Test series victory in South Africa earlier this year and surprised many by reaching the final of the World Twenty20, where they suffered an agonising last-over defeat to the West Indies on Sunday.
Their run in India with a youthful and largely inexperienced squad was all the more remarkable following last year’s 50-over World Cup omnishambles and has convinced Hoggard they can be a formidable prospect in any format in the next few years.
The Yorkshireman, who played all five Tests in England’s memorable 2005 Ashes-winning campaign, said: “I think we can go very far. The world’s at their feet. The more cricket they play, the better they’re going to get.
“But it’s up to them to write their history. Every time you put on that Three Lions shirt you’ve got a chance of making history and I think they’ve got every opportunity now to go on and challenge the best in the world across all formats.
“That’s the exciting thing for English cricket, it’s not just one format that we’re good at, we’re very promising in every format that we play.”
Hoggard cited the input of Trevor Bayliss, who succeeded Peter Moores as head coach last May, and his assistant Paul Farbrace as a major factor in England’s fortunes.
He said: “We’ve seen the difference in the brands of cricket they play.
“(Bayliss is) very straight forward talking. He doesn’t blow smoke up their backsides. He’s a very level-headed guy and his coaching record speaks for itself so I think with him and Paul Farbrace, England are going to go from strength to strength.”
England came up just short of landing a second World T20 crown after Ben Stokes was bludgeoned for four consecutive sixes in the final over by Windies powerhouse Carlos Brathwaite in Kolkata.
Stokes was visibly distraught at the conclusion of the game but Hoggard, who played 67 Tests and 26 one-day internationals between 2000 and 2008, has no doubt the Durham all-rounder will recover from the traumatising experience.
“It takes big balls to bowl the last over,” Hoggard added.
“Your career is a rollercoaster, you have ups and downs and I’m sure there will be more ups in Ben Stokes’ career than there are downs.
“He’s gone from strength to strength; he’s a fiery competitor and I’m sure we haven’t seen the best of him yet.
“He will come back strong because he’s that sort of character. He’s going to be brilliant. When we beat South Africa on their home soil, a lot of it was down to Ben Stokes and the balance of our side because we had a genuine all-rounder.”