The English debacle in the World Cup
Anyone looking at the England squad for the World Cup would have felt that the team has as its prime asset a quality bowling attack – one that can bring them back into the match from any kind of situation. With the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn in the team for the World Cup, and Australian conditions favouring seam bowling, England would even have been considered as one of the favourites by many.
English fast bowlers have together managed 12 wickets in four games till this point. James Anderson hasn’t swung the new ball and his performance as a frontline seamer has been rueful. He has claimed only two wickets from the four matches and has conceded runs at an economy rate of 6.27 – such a letdown from a team’s premier fast bowler is sure to get spirits of the whole team drooping.
Morgan’s failure to seize crucial moments
Eoin Morgan hasn’t marshalled his troopes effectively in this tournament either. It may be harsh to blame young Morgan, but even when his pacers made inroads he didn’t make the most of it – thus losing out on crucial moments in matches.
In their opening game against Australia, England had the Aussies on the ropes at 70 for the loss of three wickets in 10 overs, after which the Kangaroos got off to a flying start. England quickly removed David Warner, Shane Watson and the in-form Steven Smith, but subsequently didn’t apply any sort of pressure, paving way for the Aussie lower order to go crazy with the bat in the later stages.
Despite having been given a major look-in by the hosts, England reverted to defensive mode far too quickly – key bowlers were taken off the attack and spin introduced from one end with Chris Woakes at the other. Fielders were placed at the edge of the circle, thus allowing Aaron Finch and Bailey to rotate the strike without difficulty, eventually settling down to make a huge impact in the match.
Toothless bowling attack devoid of variety
Morgan’s team selection leaves a lot to be desired too. In conditions that aid spin, he has played four fast bowlers and one part-time spinner – Moeen Ali – thus leaving the bowling attackl devoid of any variety to unsettle the opposition.
Lahiru Thirmanne said at the post-match presentation after Sri Lanka’s victory that Moeen Ali was the bowler whose overs they wanted to play out without damage, and attack bowlers at the other end. One can imagine a specialist spinner in the England team could have made things a little tougher for the Lankans.
England now are in a must-win situation to keep their hopes alive in the tournament. Their batting has done a good job but the bowling has let them down. James Tredwell should be considered as an option to replace Chris Woakes. Tredwell may not contribute with the bat but he brings some variety to the England bowling attack.
It’s not too late to learn from mistakes yet.