England suffered a demoralizing defeat against South Africa in the fourth match of their World Cup 2023 campaign at the Wankhede stadium where the Proteas piled up 399 runs and England couldn’t get anywhere close to it.
With 3 defeats – each bigger and more shocking than the previous one – in four games, England are all but out of the semi-final race.
Sure, they had 3 defeats in 9 league matches in the 2019 World Cup as well – they finished 3rd in the points table then and went on to win the World Cup, their first ODI world title.
However, none of those three defeats four years ago were as big and as thumping as the ones they have succumbed to this year, including one against Afghanistan, who are currently ranked 9th in the ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings.
Their Net Run Rate, courtesy of big losses to New Zealand and now South Africa, has dipped so low that it would be almost impossible for them, or for any team, to go on to reach the semi-finals, even if they win the rest of their 5 matches, which would need a miracle in itself.
If you still think that England can reach the semi-final of World Cup 2023, then I have a bridge to sell you.
So why have the defending world champions, who were touted to have revolutionized white-ball cricket (mind you, they revolutionized their own white-ball cricket and system, not the world cricket’s), fallen to such a level that they won’t be able to make the top 4 in the tournament where only 6 teams (with all due respect to Sri Lanka, Netherlands, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh) are given any realistic chance of reaching the semis?
Here are 3 reasons why England have flopped in World Cup 2023:
Their all-rounders simply haven’t worked
Chris Woakes is a beast in English conditions and was England’s key man in 2019; Sam Curran was the best death bowler in Australia in the 2022 T20 WC. But neither the Indian conditions offer swing for more than just 3-4 overs, nor are the Indian grounds as big as the ones in Australia.
Dropping Woakes and Curran, who was already out of form during the Hundred, for the South Africa game after the loss to Afghanistan and New Zealand, was already a tacit concede from England that they weren’t sure of them in the first place.
To make matters worse for Jos Buttler, his two spin all-rounders, Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone, too, have flopped with the ball, resulting in axing from the XI.
Leaving out Jason Roy
Yes, Harry Brook is the new sexy thing on the market. But leaving out Jason Roy, after he was picked in the preliminary 15-man squad, after Brook’s century in The Hundred – a completely different format where the price of one’s wicket is even less than in T20 cricket – was questionable in itself.
Had Roy been picked, he would have opened with Malan shifting down providing a left-handed option when Ben Stokes missed the first three games due to injury.
Apart from his vast experience and immense success at the 2019 World Cup, lest one forgets, Roy also had cracked ODI centuries in South Africa and Bangladesh this year in his last 6 ODI innings.
England just weren’t prepared for the ODI World Cup
The preparations of England for the 2019 World Cup and the 2023 World Cup were contrasting. The team that went into the 2019 WC had played a lot of cricket together and there was years of planning. The team that went into the 2023 WC seemed like a band that was recalled for one last show.
Since the start of 2022, England have played only 28 ODIs, much fewer compared to India’s 49 or New Zealand’s 40. England just didn’t get much games for experimentation of various combinations and players – as India and New Zealand did. Of course, the glut of other formats had meant ODI cricket took a back seat.