Alastair Cook is targeting an end to England’s wait for a 50-over trophy at the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, which today marked 500 days until the tournament gets under way.
The competition will be held in Australia and New Zealand, with both hosts in action on the opening day - February 14th - with clashes against Sri Lanka and England respectively.
Cook’s men came close to ending their ODI hoodoo this year when they reached the ICC Champions Trophy final - beating Australia along the way - only to lose to reigning World Cup winners India in a thriller at Edgbaston.
England have reached the final of the World Cup on three occasions - 1979, 1987 and 1992 - but still await their first victory.
However, Cook is determined to become the first English skipper to lift the World Cup in 18 months time.
"We got close to winning our first 50-over ICC event finishing as runners up in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 and will be working hard in the coming months to ensure we give ourselves the best possible opportunity to go one step further in 2015," he said.
“We have been improving steadily as a one-day side in recent years and are very much looking forward to the challenge of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
"Playing cricket in Australia and New Zealand is always a fantastic experience and I have no doubt it will be another great occasion both for the teams and their supporters.”
To mark 500 days to go, New Zealand stars Martin Guptill, Kyle Mills and Mitchell McClenaghan joined local kids for a game of beach cricket at Auckland's idyllic Takapuna Beach while Brett Lee was at a special event on historic Sydney tall ship Southern Swan.
Australian fast bowling legend Lee is excited as his country gets set to host one of the world’s biggest sporting events.
"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for fans and families to experience the magic of the ICC Cricket World Cup,” said Lee.
“I'm really looking forward to both Sydney and Australia making the 2015 summer one that inspires young cricketers and provides lasting memories."
The 2015 event will see 49 matches played across 44 days at 14 venues across the two hosting nations.
England will be in Pool A of the competition, alongside both hosts, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, either UAE or Afghanistan and another qualifier. The top four will go through to the quarter-final stage, with the final taking place at Melbourne on March 29th.