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Steve Waugh reckons England are on the brink of ODI greatness
ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Steve Waugh reckons England are on the brink of ODI greatness

Steve Waugh said England could carve out a special place for themselves in cricket history among the greatest ever sides if they emerge triumphant against New Zealand in the high-profile World Cup final clash at Lord's on Sunday.

Tournament hosts England head into the contest with the odds stacked in their favour after they swept aside defending champions Australia in a one-sided affair by eight wickets in Birmingham on Thursday's semi-final.

"It's one of the best one-day teams I've seen and would compete against anyone from previous eras but ultimately they will be judged on Sunday," said Waugh.

"If they win that they may go down as one of the great one-day sides. If they lose then I guess they're just back to being one of the other teams that didn't quite make it. They have the potential to be a great one-day team."

Victory in Sunday's match would embody England's rapid rise in one-day internationals - a remarkable evolution that began following their first-round exit from 2015 World Cup.

Two-time World Cup winner Waugh said it was hard to pinpoint any weakness in the England line-up claiming Eoin Morgan's side had all their bases perfectly covered.

"They play without fear. I think that's very hard to do in professional sport and there's no weakness in the side," he said.

"They are a very good fielding side, they bat all the way down, numerous bowling options It's a pretty complete side."

'Archer has given England the X factor'

Waugh felt it was hard to choose a single key player from England but settled upon right-arm paceman Jofra Archer as the home team's 'X factor'.

"Jason Roy is the form player of the tournament right now and looks in incredible form," Waugh said, while attending an event in Trafalgar Square to promote the inaugural Criiio Cup.

"I think Archer has given England that X factor so those two guys are form payers but I wouldn't be surprised if Ben Stokes steps up to the plate in the final and produces something special."

England and New Zealand are yet to win a World Cup and Waugh opined a new winner will do justice to the game.

"I think it would be really important for someone like New Zealand," he said.

"It's a great rugby country, it's probably the greatest sporting team in the world, the All Blacks. Cricket is always hard for them to get a bit of a foothold so to make the final and potentially win would be game-changing for New Zealand.

"England have been in three World Cup finals. The country is very passionate about cricket. If either side wins it's going to be great for their country. I know what it's like to win a World Cup. It's exciting and the people get behind it and feel they're a part of it so it's a great celebration."

Waugh will take the role of Australia's mentor during the forthcoming Ashes in England and he believes his vast cricketing experience can help the players cope with pressure situations as the tourists aim to retain the prized urn.