Joe Root feels England are in uncharted territory where there are ‘no question marks’ about their 15-man squad heading into this summer's World Cup.
National selector Ed Smith named England’s final line-up on Tuesday, with Hampshire’s Liam Dawson and James Vince among the party named along with Jofra Archer as three amendments from the preliminary group, replacing David Willey, Joe Denly and Alex Hales.
Root said: ‘It's a very unique situation here where you’ve got so many guys that have performed brilliantly. You look at the squad, we’re going into a tournament where there’s no question marks.
‘Everyone deserves their place, has performed consistently well going into it and it's a brilliant place to be.
‘It is bitterly disappointing (for those left out) and it was always going to be tough on someone but it shows the strength in depth within the group, where we’re at as a one-day team at the minute and it shows how well we’ve prepared and that we’ve given ourselves the best chance leading into it.
‘We’ve worked really hard to deserve the tag of number one ranked team going into the tournament. We should enjoy that, we should get a lot of confidence from that and really embrace that.’
Off-field transgressions forced Hales’ removal and James Vince’s promotion, Archer’s impressive early outings on the international stage saw him leapfrog Willey, while Dawson was brought in from the cold in place of all-rounder Denly.
Dawson won the last of his three caps in October, when he left the Sri Lanka tour with a side strain. But he has impressed during Hampshire’s run to the Royal London One-Day Cup final.
In the end the balance was tipped by Adil Rashid’s fitness, with Smith revealing the Yorkshireman is managing a niggling shoulder problem that requires injections.
Referring to Rashid’s fitness, Smith said: ‘That's not the whole explanation (for Dawson), but it’s part of the story. We hope the injection he is having will help him have a full part in the competition. But it’s a question of balance, and it could have gone either way. I felt very strongly going into the meeting that I wanted Eoin Morgan to be comfortable with the final 15.’
England play against Australia at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday and then a second warm-up match against Afghanistan – neither restricted to 11-a-side, before the World Cup curtain finally goes up with South Africa’s visit to the Oval on May 30.