Bayliss enters England's 50-over challenge

As Trevor Bayliss starts his daunting first assignment as England ODI coach - a series against the world champions - he may be encouraged by the knowledge that England are prioritising the format in their plans.

Stung by a wretched World Cup campaign - another wretched World Cup campaign - the ECB decided that something must be done.

This was the World Cup for which they had prepared for years. The Ashes schedule had been moved and England had organised a pre-tournament diet of unrelenting limited-overs cricket that was designed to take them to Australia brimming with experience and confidence.

Except it didn't. They sacked their captain not long before the tournament, changed their tactics - and some selections - for the first game and never, for a moment, looked as if they would progress from the group stages. If you were being kind, you might describe it as awful.

So they sacked two men who were deemed cautious - Paul Downton and Peter Moores - and replaced them with two who they saw as more in tune with modern cricket. Andrew Strauss was appointed with a remit to create the wider environment whereby the England team management had every resource and every chance of achieving success, while Bayliss was appointed to mould the team environment.

While the appointment of Strauss, in that context might have been something of a surprise - he retains a reputation as a conservative - the appointment of Bayliss was less so. His record as a limited-overs coach is exceptional.

He oversaw Sri Lanka's progress to the World Cup final (in 2011), the Kolkata Knight Riders winning the IPL twice (in 2012 and 2014) and Sydney Sixers winning the Big Bash (in 2011-12) and the Champions League (2012). While many of those successes have come in T20, recent evidence would suggest that format has heavily influenced the 50-over game.

But still the ECB felt that more had to be done. Strauss, who has turned out to be far less conservative than he looks, insisted that limited-overs cricket must no longer be seen as the poor relation to the Test game.

To that end, the ECB have, over the last couple of days at Lord's unveiled their proposals to the county chief executives and chairmen. And, at the heart of it, was an attempt to improve England's ODI performances.

Noting that the next two global ODI events - the Champions Trophy in 2017 and the World Cup in 2019 - are to be played in England in relatively early season, the ECB were hoping to persuade the counties to accept a system from next season where 50-over cricket was played earlier than it is currently - in early to mid-summer - on better pitches and in something approaching a block, although not without many ramifications across the domestic game.

However, the county structure is not for Bayliss to worry about. Australia are his immediate concern and the raw materials he has at his disposal are promising. England's progress since the World Cup has been staggering. Under the guidance of Paul Farbrace, England impressed most observers with the bold cricket they exhibited in the ODI series against New Zealand and will no doubt be looking for more of the same. They will remain unflinchingly, uncompromisingly, unrecognisably (from the World Cup, at least) aggressive.

England's batting, even without the rested Joe Root, looks relatively strong. While there will surely be days when the aggressive approach backfires horribly, there is a depth to it - with the likes of David Willey and Adil Rashid coming in as low as No. 8 and No. 9 - that is reassuring. Moeen Ali returns and will be vying for a place in the top three, while James Taylor will also hope for a chance to show what he can do.

It is the bowlers that still have questions to answer. One of England's key failings at the World Cup was an inability to take wickets and, impressive though England were in the ODIs against New Zealand, that was an area that remains in need of improvement. There are places to be claimed, or England may well return to the experience of Stuart Broad before 2017.

Eoin Morgan, the captain who often cut a beleaguered figure at the World Cup, admitted he had been pleasantly surprised by the pace of England's improvement.

"The development of the side in the one-day series against New Zealand was brilliant," he said. "Even in the game the other day, we managed to continue the aggressive nature in which we played - both with ball and bat.

"The team has transformed and it's down to the players. Everybody has played their natural game, the way they have for their county. That's been a credit to the culture that was created by Paul Farbrace at the start and has been continued throughout the Test series."

In the slightly longer term, the ECB are likely to further demonstrate their deeper commitment to limited-overs cricket by giving Morgan a central contract. While these are usually the preserve of Test players, Morgan's importance to the white-ball side - and his decline in the red-ball game - are likely to result in him being viewed as an exceptional case.