Done and dusted! England are out of the World Cup 2023. Forget math, permutations, combinations, Pythagoras theorem, BODMAS, NRR. Go back to whatever you want but England’s World Cup title defense is over. When Jos Buttler, before the start of the tournament, said ‘we are not here to defend anything’, he should have chosen his words more wisely. Less than three weeks later, their campaign in the world’s biggest cricket tournament finds itself on life support, with a red-hot Team India likely to pull the plug on it on Sunday. The simple irony that a team that has revolutionized ODI, Test and T20 cricket in the last four odd years and emerged as double World Champions, effectively the first to emerge, is quite a kick in the ass. gut.
A shocker against Afghanistan, a hammer in the hands of South Africa and now completely defeated – with a landslide margin – by a Sri Lankan team that needs to win the Qualifiers to reach the World Cup. England were undercooked, broken, demoralized, injured and lost the winning method that had been so beautifully cultivated under Eoin Morgan.
For the second time in this World Cup, England have crashed into the bottom two. It was their fourth loss in five games – and fifth in a row against a team with possibly the weakest bowling line-up of all, Sri Lanka. In a place where anything less than 350 is frowned upon, England, the masters of scoring big totals – they have scored the three highest ODI totals in history – expected to take the bull by the horns in Bengaluru , but waved the red rag instead. England’s 156 all out was the lowest ODI total since Chinnaswamy’s 50 overs.
The loss of Jason Roy and the Stokes conundrum
Jason Roy’s absence leaves a noticeable void in the top order, with Dawid Malan now taking on a more conservative role. While Malan has produced runs this year – 811 from 14 matches at 62.38 – he is a far cry from the dynamic force that fueled England’s campaign during the 2019 World Cup. The buck doesn’t stop there. Joe Root, ranked No. 3, also playing anchor, and it is puzzling that Harry Brook, who looks like a potential solution for England’s top order, will not get a place in the XI.
Ben Stokes, who was coaxed out of retirement, missed the first two matches, and will not get a chance to bat or bowl in the next two, leaving many to wonder if it was worth it – visuals of him lying down -od the inhaler during practice. not very encouraging. Buttler, still hailed as England’s greatest white-ball cricketer by many, has been out of form in the IPL. A colossal failure as a batsman and leader left England questioning whether the No. 5 is the right place for him.
What is the role of Moeen Ali, 36, in this team? What’s up with Liam Livingstone? Of all his exploits in The Hundred and the IPL, yesterday (October 26) was his Glenn Maxwell moment. The bowling was broken; without Jofra Archer, and Chris Woakes lost the rhythm. Problems are everywhere, but the real prognosis is between the ears. England have not been able to replicate the success template they have enjoyed for 8 years that won them two World Cups in three years, and above all, live in a bubble believing that this is the same team that won the Cup four years ago.
The ODI is not that important for England
Why, what and how? Let’s try to get to the bottom of this unfortunate revelation. This is a team that has not dominated ODI cricket. Ahead of the World Cup, England played 13 one-dayers in 2023. In comparison, India played 21, New Zealand 17, Pakistan 16. Only Australia, with eight and South Africa with 10, the one who played less. The growing obsession with The Hundred and the preference for Test cricket further illustrates the shifting landscape. As of 14 July 2019, England have played 56 Tests and 55 ODIs. To put this in perspective, the current table leaders, India, have featured in 65 ODIs. Interestingly, while some voices in the British media have declared the death of ODIs, it has become apparent that England, with the support of teams like Afghanistan and the Netherlands, have injected vitality into the format through a series of surprising results.
The hero of the 2019 World Cup final, in the 2022 T20 World Cup final, Stokes is not bowling. In previous World Cups, Stokes has been crucial in balancing the side. In his presence, England found themselves in a no-man’s land. They are in a situation where they seem to be facing trouble regardless of the path they choose with their most talismanic cricketer. While England really needed his batting prowess, as his crucial 43 showed, they struggled to compensate for his absence as a bowler. The Stokes conundrum is somewhat similar to India’s Hardik Pandya dilemma. Without Hardik, India opted for an extra batter and a bowler. The only difference was that their top order was scoring centuries and the bowlers took five wicket-hauls.
To see where they missed a crucial opportunity, England need look no further than Sri Lanka. It took a call to old lion Angelo Mathews, and a game to inject balance into their Playing XI. Primarily a batter, Mathews’ bowling contribution was game-changing. With England cruising at 44/0 in six overs, Mathews ended Malan’s wicket partnership, before Root was run out. Sri Lanka are relying heavily on their most experienced player, who has been in incredible form during the Lanka Premier League. While playing for B-Love Kandy, Mathews usually bowled three overs ahead and returned in the 14th or 15th, mirroring a similar pattern in Bengaluru. Here too, Mathews bowled three overs before returning for the 25th, where he bowled Moeen.
The pieces are scattered around, and it will be a huge task for England to gather them all at this point. Sri Lanka’s performance in the 1999 World Cup, where they finished second from bottom of the table after the group stage, is often cited as the worst showing by a defending champion in World Cup history. England could be on course to seize this unfortunate distinction when all is said and done.