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Nick Knight calls for England ODI focus ahead of World Cup

Nick Knight says England will have no excuses for preparations ahead of the Cricket World Cup.

England struggled during the ODI series in Australia

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Former international batsman Nick Knight believes England need to focus on one-day cricket this year as they prepare for the 2015 World Cup.

There is a year to go until the start of the tournament in Australia and New Zealand, in which England are pooled with both host nations as well as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Scotland.

"Inevitably there will be slumps in form and one or two injuries but the time is right now for England to stop paying lip service to one-day cricket and concentrate on it for this year."

Nick Knight

England have a poor record in World Cups, having failed to reach the semi-finals since the 1992 tournament when they were beaten in the final by Pakistan.

In the last event, played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in 2011, England famously lost to Ireland in the group stages and were eliminated by Sri Lanka in the last eight.

They have lost their last two ODI series to Australia, the latest of which was a 4-1 defeat Down Under following their Test humiliation in the Ashes.

Knight, who played 100 one-day internationals for England and appeared in two World Cups, in 1999 and 2003, feels it is time to prioritise the ODI game.

Opportunity

A look back at the thriller between India and England from the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011.

"England have got 23 games so they have plenty of opportunity to turn things around," Knight told Sky Sports.

"I'm not sure they'll change too much in terms of selection because I think they are going in the right direction. But what I think they do need to do is to stop chopping and changing.

"From now on, when we get to Sri Lanka, it is time to stop experimenting and pick your best XI and 13-man squad and stick with it.

"Inevitably there will be slumps in form and one or two injuries but the time is right now for England to stop paying lip service to one-day cricket and concentrate on it for this year.

"If it means resting some players from Test cricket then you do that."

Australia are currently the top-ranked ODI side in the world and Knight feels they will be the team to beat, although he also second-ranked India and co-hosts New Zealand have a chance of succeeding at the tournament.

"I think home advantage will be pretty crucial and I think Australia look very strong, although they only play 13 games between now and the start of the World Cup," he added.

"We always say going in to World Cups to be wary of New Zealand but they are a side to look at. They will have home advantage as well.

"You can never really write off the sub-continent teams, as many people will because they are Australian conditions and India have just gone to New Zealand and got hammered. But don't write India off."