Team England’s startling early departure from the ongoing event ICC World Cup 2023 A number of questions remain before the reigning champions but few simple answers.
An exit from the ranks was finally confirmed by the 33-run loss to rivals Australia in Ahmedabad on Saturday — with England`s sixth win in seven games at the championship which leaves them at the bottom of the 10 team table.
Even the non-Test playing Netherlands, the lowest-ranked side, managed two wins. It was their batting that let England down again as they failed to chase down a target of 287 which would have been a long shot in a once mighty top order. England have managed just one century in this World Cup so far, through Dawid Malan, with star batsman Jonny Bairstow out for a duck on Saturday, and Joe Root failing to fire.
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Wider issues also played a part in the fallout from their 2019 World Cup win. New Zealand and Afghanistan won early with England abandoning their policy of picking a full-round side, but the team’s management failed reverse course again as they struggle to find a winning formula. There was a similar lack of clarity in the approach of England’s batsmen, who were caught between all the aggressiveness that has served the team so well at the moment, retired World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan, or laid a foundation in its place. and then accelerating.
Much focus will now be on England’s white-ball captain Jos Buttler and limited-overs coach Matthew Mott. But removing Buttler as skipper and replacing him with experienced Australian coach Mott will not be easy as England will defend their Twenty20 World Cup title in the United States and the West Indies in June. The move could also delay the rebuilding of England’s white-ball team, with only four members of their original 15-man World Cup squad under the age of 30.
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Another complicating factor is that during this tournament the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced a new batch of central contracts which included their under-performing World Cup squads, with the exception of hard-hitting paceman David Willey. — who announced his international retirement days later.
The ECB also introduced multi-year markets for the first time. Injured bowler Mark Wood, 33, who has scored 58 runs, has been handed a three-year contract. But former England captain Michael Vaughan insisted the ECB was “absolutely spooked” by suggestions that players would quit the international game altogether in favor of lucrative franchise deals.
The downgrading of the domestic One Day Cup, due to the arrival of the Centuries, hampered the development of new England 50-over players. England’s number of ODIs also fell — 42 in the four years leading up to this World Cup compared to 88 in the equivalent cycle before the 2019 edition.
Many of those games have been low-grade affairs, with England often not fielding their strongest side, partly due to the difficulty of balancing their international commitments. This resulted in a complacent “it will be all right at night” approach that was found to be very much in demand in India. Promising batsman Harry Brook may be recalled for England’s final two World Cup matches. But things could get worse before they get better as England need to finish in the top eight to ensure they qualify for the 2025 Champions Cup.
England could fail to qualify for the ICC men’s tournament for the first time in their history with defeats to the Netherlands and Pakistan. It all adds up to the biggest challenge of Rob Key’s 18-month reign as England managing director, which, thanks largely to a resurgent Test side, has so far been a success story.
Meanwhile talented batsman Buttler, whose low score continued when he was out for one against Australia, was left saying: “We’ve let ourselves down. We’ve let people down at home, who support us through thick and thin. We carry that on our own shoulders.”
(For agency input)
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