To be fair, Chris Jordan—the only Englishman who looked like he wanted to win—was not out. His bat was in the air, sure, but the handle was already past the crease when he dove in desperately to keep his team in the reckoning. However, by then, one couldn’t even blame the third umpire for making the decision he did because, quite simply, England didn’t deserve to reach the knockouts. He just did what Nasser Hussain and Artherton in the commentary box wanted to do: eliminate themselves swiftly, smoothly, without question, so that once and for all, this team goes back and rebuilds from scratch.
Jordan was given out, and Anderson fell two balls later to condemn England
to their most embarrassing defeat in a decade. This is a decade in which English cricket has plunged to the depths of back-to-back T20 World Cup losses to Netherlands
, two Ashes whitewashes, a World Cup loss to Ireland, a whitewash as the no. 1-ranked test team, the firing of KP and the dumping of commander-in-chief Cook. In the same time frame, England won a T20 World Cup
, reached world no. 1 in tests, won a test series in India and Australia. But still, this defeat to Bangladesh
at Adelaide will rank as the loss that broke English cricket’s back. Or whatever was left of it.
There are plenty of jokes that can be made about how England invented cricket, refused to win a major tournament and then eventually sucked at it, about how the ECB could give the WICB a run for their money as far as mismanagement and controversies are concerned, about how they dumped the best ODI batsman in the world at the peak of his career (and he wasn’t even English), about how they stood by a choirboy-turned-superhero opening batsman as captain through back-to-back Ashes losses and a home series loss to Sri Lanka
and then dumped him months before the World Cup in which he was supposed to lead, about how they chose an Irishman as their captain and in the process destroyed his promising career, and finally, about how they let consecutive series victories against India give them a feeling of false hope and temporary invincibility. For the second World Cup in a row, they lost to Bangladesh, but this time, they are in no position to pull off a 2011.
In 2011, they lost to Ireland
too, but defeated South Africa
, West Indies and tied against India to let them sneak through to the quarters. The format is the same, but England isn’t the same. There’s no Strauss as a leader, and there’s no Collingwood or KP to shore up the trouble in the middle order. Instead there’s fear, loathing and utter dismay whenever they step onto the field. They aren’t the worst team, but they’re certainly not doing justice to the talent of the likes of Root, Taylor, Ballance, Hales, Jordan and Ali.
They’re also the first high-profile casualty of the 2015 World Cup
. Pakistan saved themselves, West Indies
are still on the chopping block, but England
are no more. Peter Moores
will be fired, and Morgan
will most certainly want to return to Irish cricket after losing 12 of his 18 matches as English Captain.
A correction is needed—not a revamp, restructuring or overhaul. The players have it in them, but there is something drastically uninspiring about watching a talented bloke like Broad shed the tag of an ‘all-rounder’ by backing away with bat in hand before the bowler finishes his run-up. Mitchell Johnson seems to have damaged their psyche more than most expected; Swann retired, Trott retired with a mental condition, and Prior was dropped along with KP, and eventually, Cook. Moreover, Broad—who was one the blonde blue-eyed future of English cricket—is a shadow of the bowler he once was, and bats like he is petrified of a cricket ball. Woakes and Jordan are, at best, all-rounders playing above potential, while Anderson blows hot and cold too often.
English cricket needs resuscitation. They need a kiss of life, before it’s too late, before they turn into the West Indies.