England’s worst World Cup ever: What went wrong?

Embarrassed, humiliated and eliminated. England exit the Cricket World Cup at the group stage for only the third time in their history, but it is the manner of their departure which leaves such a sour taste in English supporters’ mouths.

Just two wins, and four losses, they echoed the sorts of performances of the football team at the Brazil World Cup last year, and both teams learnt their fate with one game remaining of their group stages.

Is it the team? Is it the coaching staff? Or are the expectations of the English public simply too unrealistic?


THE TEAM

Obviously, English cricket has been in freefall for the past few years. It has been well documented, and that weighs heavily on the shoulders’ of the current squad, with criticisms of past teams reverberating into the present day.

With the announcement of Eoin Morgan as captain in December last year, many thought the ODI team would turn a corner, and this would spell a new, exciting brand of cricket for England in the 50 over game.

Eoin Morgan's first tournament as ODI captain ended in a premature exit. Photo Flickr

Eoin Morgan’s first tournament as ODI captain ended in a premature exit. Photo: Ben Sutherland via Flickr

But it hasn’t. The English cricket team are light-years behind the pace that the world’s best Australia, South Africa and New Zealand are setting. It’s staggering.

Whilst sides like Australia and South Africa are scoring over 400 in an innings, England struggle to even make it to what is, nowadays, a below par 300.

Morgan himself is also part of the problem, five ducks in his last nine ODI innings is not the sort of form that you would expect from the captain.

The bowlers also have to brunt some of the blame. A tired and lacklustre attack has failed to impress on pitches in Australia and New Zealand yet again.


THE MANAGEMENT

Since the second coming of Peter Moores, English cricket has come to a standstill in all forms of the game, not just in the one day format.

A test series win against India last summer his only success since his return to the England setup.

The focus on data and analysis off the field has also, despite Moores’ denial, affected the team significantly.

In his post-match interview following the defeat to Bangladesh, Moores said: “We thought 275 was chaseable, we’ll have to look at the data.”

But as an England supporter what really worried me was Moores’ lack of confidence, not just in the World Cup squad, but the whole of English cricket as he claimed there simply wasn’t other players to pick from.

In recent years, whether it be in test matches, one day internationals or 20/20 matches, England have tried to blood young, left arm bowlers and there are still more.

  • Nottinghamshire’s Harry Gurney, a left arm seamer played the majority of last summer’s one day games.
  • Lancashire’s Simon Kerrigan, a left arm spinner brought in to play the final test of the 2013 Ashes series, has not played for England since.
  • Hampshire’s Danny Briggs, also a left arm spinner, has played seven 20/20 matches for England and one ODI.

THE ECB AND KP

Is Kevin Pietersen England's answer? Photo: Flickr

Is Kevin Pietersen England’s answer? Photo: Naprazzi via Flickr

Pietersen was no longer considered for England in 2014 after numerous fallouts with players and coaching staff, which also led to the sacking of head coach Andy Flower.

Soon to be new ECB chairman, Colin Graves, has publicly said that Pietersen has a way back into the national team through county cricket.

Although at the moment, Pietersen is without a county team. He was released by Surrey at the 2014 season and it has come out this week that six of the 18 first-class counties would be interested in signing Pietersen, including Surrey.

Pietersen has said on numerous occasions that he would still love to play for England. However, his commitment to the St. Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League later in the English summer will hinder his chances of an international return.


EXPECTATIONS

As a successful sporting country, we demand success, especially when our cricket team was top of the world rankings when the World Cup draw was made back in July 2013.

However, the sudden and immediate capitulation of the team has not allowed the supporters to catch up with the realisation that we aren’t as good as we were two years ago.

In places, the team is relatively inexperienced, but even the spine of the team is starting to slowly fade away.

Whilst we are travelling backwards, other countries like South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are going forward.

When a country has experienced success so recently, the demand to win from supporters is still there, whether the team is the same or worse, in England’s case.

As supporters of England cricket, has the time come where we should start expecting to lose?


By Elliott Dalton – @Elliott_Dalton

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