England's depth growing ahead of major tournaments

Paul Farbrace, England's assistant coach, believes there are now more than 20 players who could be selected at any time in the one-day side and still give England a winning combination.

England secured the one-day series against Sri Lanka with a barnstorming chase at The Oval on Wednesday led by Jason Roy's 162 off 118. They have used 12 players in the four matches - Chris Jordan replacing Moeen Ali in Bristol being the only change - with Steven Finn and James Vince remaining on the sidelines.

The absence of Finn has been notable, given that before the series he was talking up being the leader of England's one-day attack, with James Anderson and Stuart Broad not part of the white-ball set-up. Instead, Chris Woakes, David Willey and Liam Plunkett have been the ever-presents in England's pace attack against Sri Lanka alongside the legspin of Adil Rashid.

Other players on the fringes of the limited-overs team included the uncapped pair of Dawid Malan and Liam Dawson, who are both in the T20 squad to face Sri Lanka, while Ben Stokes, Mark Wood and Reece Topley are currently unavailable due to injury.

Eoin Morgan, England's limited-overs captain, has spoken of the need to build a squad of players to compete on a regular basis across different conditions and Farbrace believes the focus given to white-ball cricket since the start of last season, at the instigation of Andrew Strauss, is starting to bear fruit.

"If you look outside the team, there's no Stokes, Vince is sitting on the sidelines, Finn, Wood," he said. "There's some very exciting people on the fringes and people know they've got to play well to stay in the team. There's probably 21 players who could play in the England side at any time and we'd still be a strong side.

"Credit to Andrew Strauss for saying he wanted white-ball and red-ball cricket to be taken as seriously as each other and it was time to stop thinking about ourselves as a Test-playing country only and resting people for Test cricket and making sure they're ready.

"We've built the pool of players for white-ball cricket and have an exciting group with people focusing on just that. It's made a big difference but you have to have the ability in your side to do it and there's no question there is the ability in this side."

England are building towards the next two 50-over global events which will be staged on home soil - the 2017 Champions Trophy and 2019 World Cup - but Farbrace says that further advancements are needed to make England credible contenders, especially for the 2019 event.

He believes that if England are to be one of the favourites for the World Cup they need to sit in the top three of the one-day rankings a year out from the tournament. A 3-0 series result will leave them in fifth place, the position they moved to after victory at The Oval, but a consolation win for Sri Lanka in Cardiff would put them back at sixth.

"The one thing we've looked at is teams who have won the World Cup pretty much have been one, two or three in the world," he said. "If we're going to be realistic challengers at the World Cup in 2019 I reckon we've got to be in the top two or three in the world, which means we've got to be far more consistent than we have been and if we are with home conditions and support that gives us a really good chance. If we're seventh or eighth we're hoping to do well as we did last time as opposed to expecting to do well.

"I think if we are going to win it we've got to be in the top two or three, certainly within 12 months of the tournament starting. That's got to be our goal. If we are I think we've got a good chance. I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be if we keep playing that way. The World T20 was a magnificent confidence boost for them and if we can play well in the Champions Trophy next year and come close to winning that who knows where that takes us?"

But while work remains, there is understandable satisfaction about how England's one-day cricket has evolved: the 308-run chase at The Oval was the side's third 300-plus chase in the last 12 months; they had only ever achieved that twice previously.

"They have come a long way and have exceeded all expectations of where we thought they'd be 12 months ago," Farbrace said. "We said towards the end of last summer we weren't going to pin down too many gameplans, we'd just let people go and have another 12 months of seeing how far we can go. But the shape of the team and how they're playing is happening naturally rather than us having to stick too many plans in their way and that freedom is evident as well."