Don't dismiss the importance of the Champions Trophy that is ushering in a demanding six months for England's cricketers; although the marketing men are stretching a point by boldly including Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and West Indies in a category called 'Champions'.

They're even more hopeless than an England side that's won just six of their last 26 one-day internationals.

If England manage to reach the final of the Champions Trophy on November 5, then that'll mean another five one-dayers under their belt as they plan for the World Cup.

At this stage, they need every game they can get. A maximum of ten more are available in Australia in January and February before the World Cup cranks into action in mid-March.

After that, there is simply no hiding place for England.

At this stage, you'd bet that England would be home from the Caribbean before the postcards, but if they do surprise us and get to the World Cup semi-finals, then this competition that starts against India on Sunday will have been highly relevant.

England don't yet have enough one-day players that can think on their feet. Smart players who adjust tactically in the space of an over. Lord knows why, because they play enough one-day cricket in this country, but it's been that way internationally since 1992, when they should have beaten Pakistan in the World Cup Final.

They need to have a settled team, with everyone knowing their roles. No red herrings like the possible return to the team of Michael Vaughan. Forget it - he's a borderline choice as a one-day player, not an outstanding fielder and his undoubted acumen as a captain is more suited to the Test arena.

Stick with Freddie Flintoff as captain and announce it publicly. End all uncertainty.

So if you want England to prosper in the World Cup, pay close attention to a competition that's been derided as just a moneyspinner.