Bengaluru, Oct 23: Former captain Michael Vaughan believes everyone in the cricketing ecosystem in England will admit that the side have been complacent with the 50-over format and that has resulted in the side’s poor showing in the ongoing World Cup.
Entering the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup in India as defending champions, England have lost three out of four matches – to New Zealand, Afghanistan and South Africa, while their lone win came against Bangladesh – leaving their hopes of reaching semi-finals hanging by a thread.
“I think all of us in the English game, from the team itself to the media and fans, have to admit that we have been complacent with this 50-over team. The white-ball schedule, with two T20 World Cups since their 2019 ODI triumph, as well as Covid-19, has seen them take the eye off the ball in 50-over cricket.”
“They do not need some kind of reset or grand overhaul, but it is a reality check that just turning up and hoping it will be alright on the night will be exposed. In England we love to build up our sporting teams, and this one has given us some great times. But we have taken our eye off the ball and are paying for it,” wrote Vaughan in his column for The Telegraph on Monday.
Post a shocking first-round exit in 2015 World Cup, England played 88 matches in the build-up to 2019 World Cup, using 34 players, giving them the time to have a settled combination and have clarity in matches. But Vaughan pointed out that England’s preparation for 2023 World Cup hasn’t been of that level.
“This World Cup cycle has been very different. They have played 42 ODIs, winning 22 and losing 16. They have used 44 players, and only four of those have played more than 25 games.”
“Some key players have barely played. Root played 19 games, Stokes 13, Woakes 15 and Mark Wood eight. Covid contributed to that, but so did their attitude towards 50-over cricket. They thought they could get to a World Cup and perform.”
Vaughan also feels England look unsure of their best combinations for the World Cup in Indian conditions. “In India, you need really high class quick bowling, with skill not just pace. Anything wayward gets dispatched. You need more than one spinner. You need two or three to provide moments of magic.”
“And with the bat, you need solid all-round players working in combination. England do not have that. England have arrived not knowing what their approach is, because they have not played together for so long. Too many players have not played well for a long time, because their involvement has been stop-start. Jos Buttler is one of them.”
Vaughan signed off by wishing England takes 50-over cricket seriously irrespective of whether they defend their World Cup crown or not. “People will point to the fact that England do not have a top-class domestic 50-over competition. I think that is a red herring. India’s top players don’t play their domestic competition, but they do know exactly what their roles are in the team, and are a grooved outfit.”
“After this tournament, it will be the end of this ODI team. I hope they have learned from this cycle, and look back to 2015, as they build towards a World Cup in South Africa (which should suit them better) in 2027. They need to find a way, amid modern schedules, to get combinations in place and players who know what they are doing for that tournament, so it is not muddled like this one.” (IANS)