Who would have thought that reigning champions in both ODI and T20 World Cups, England, will be fighting to avoid bottom place in the points table 15 days into the competition? However, that has happened with the England cricket team in the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India as the Jos Buttler-led side has failed to live up to the expectations in the tournament so far. Captain Buttler at the start of the tournament said that they are not defending anything and will be attacking but his team hasn’t walked the talk and has looked like a shadow of the team that played the ODI format in the last eight years since the World Cup 2015 debacle.
Loss of form to key players including Jonny Bairstow at the top, Buttler himself and the two supposed lead bowling all-rounders in Sam Curran and Chris Woakes who were shown the door after just three games and just double-mindedness of how to approach the format in a tournament like World Cup seems to have gotten to this England team’s nerves. There’s a stark difference between the side that played the 2019 World Cup and won and the one which is currently gasping for breath in the tournament.
How many of these players played the ODI format regularly between then and now and together? T20 format, leagues and Test cricket took the majority of the key players and what was left was fringe. England played 23 assignments/series between 2015 and the 2019 World Cup which saw them revolutionise white-ball cricket but the number reduced to just 14 in the last four years. But that’s done now and there is still chance for England in this World Cup, it’s just that the desperation stage has arrived for Buttler and Co.
England have just two points in four games so far and will need to win all of their remaining games. England are yet to play Bangladesh, India, the Netherlands, Australia and Pakistan. If they are able to beat all those five teams somehow, they will have 12 points and NRR might become a deciding factor, which took quite a beating for England against South Africa on Saturday, October 21 in Mumbai.
A team needs seven wins to qualify for the semi-finals but if they win six then NRR will be a deciding factor. The likes of Australia, Pakistan and South Africa are very much in contention with India and New Zealand favourites to make it to the top four. England can still do it as they have the team to destroy any other team on a given day but looking at the current form it’s looking rather difficult. But if it does happen, we have riveting 25 matches left in the group stage.