The English cricket debacle: Only way from rock bottom is upwards
The two world Cups down under have brought completely different returns for English cricket.The 1992 World Cup was the last time England left its impression upon a ODI World Cup and the 2015 World Cup has arguably been the worst ever World Cup for them.
It is befuddling as well as sad to see that the nation which invented the game has stooped so low that it cannot even reach the knockout stage of the sport’s mega event. The way England has been playing ODIs for the last two decades is analogous to seeing someone obsessed with black and white TV in the age of HD streaming.
Barring a few players, the English side has been lacking the flamboyance needed for the 50-over game.
England’s approach needs fine tuning
Peter Moores’ statement “we'll have to look at the data” after the defeat against Bangladesh defines the whole World Cup campaign of England. If cricket games could be won on the strength of tactics made in closed rooms, nobody would care for skills of cricketers.
England’s problems start right with their opening pair. The choice of Moeen Ali as an opener is unfathomable when Alex Hales is warming the bench. Moeen Ali can get into the side, but only as a number six or seven. Shifting James Taylor from number three was another move that backfired. Not only was he scoring runs, he was scoring them at a decent strike rate too.
The two half centuries Ian Bell has scored in this World cup are at the strike rates of 63.52(against Scotland) and 76.82(against Bangladesh), which suggests that his runs are coming at the cost of team’s momentum.
What inspired confidence in English fans before the World Cup was their bowling.They had a great swing bowler,an experienced lanky fast bowler,a tall seam bowler and a handy spinner – none of them clicked in the World Cup.
With one game in hand for English bowlers, AB de Villiers has taken more wickets than Stuart Broad and the same number of wickets as James Anderson, a stat which is frightening for English supporters.
It was the dismal show by the 11 players on the field that created the English embarrassment rather than miscalculation of ‘data’.
England can take cue from India
The biggest setback for Indian Cricket in this millennium has been their premature exit from the 2007 ODI World Cup. Events that have succeeded that debacle have been nothing less than a fairytale.Three major ICC tournaments and tag of number one test team for more than a year have been elements of a complete turnaround from the pathetic World Cup performance in 2007.
The main pillars of this turnaround have been a shrewd captain, a bunch of flamboyant young batsmen and quality experienced players to help the team during the period.
England have to ascertain whether Eoin Morgan is the right man to lead them in the future. Can he inspire the players in the team to rise from the ashes? England also have to find the right roles for their senior players. Ian Bell,James Anderson and Stuart Broad look out of place in the ODI setup. They do not seem to guide the team as the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman did in their time.
England also need to be patient with the likes of Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Garry Balance and Steven Finn as they will be the torchbearers for English Cricket. Even the likes of Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow should be given more exposure. Also a calm and clever coach would do them no harm.
Franchise Cricket is the need of the hour
IPL has played a great role in honing the skills of all the players around the globe. The dearth of English players in IPL has done nothing beneficial for ECB and its players. It is high time that either ECB itself starts a franchise based tournament or at least allow more freedom to its players to play in the IPL.
It is when the likes of Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Steven Finn play with more freedom and express themselves that we will see English Cricket recuperating and pose a greater competition in the coveted events. Nobody would have boded India to win the T-20 World Cup the same year in which they were thrashed in the ODI World Cup – it is always in the hands of players and management to prove their critics wrong.