World Of Sport - England shambles was no surprise

Ben Stokes.
Ben Stokes.
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Test cricket is the only cricket that matters. Well that and the Northants Premier Division.

I can’t get excited about the World Cup, quite possibly because we are so obviously useless at the format both in terms of player skills and management/coaching.

It was quite an achievement to be out-lasted by Ireland in a competition designed to ensure the supposed top teams all qualified for the quarter-finals.

It was quite an achievement to appoint a captain who was in even worse form than Alistair Cook.

It was quite an achievement to wreck the confidence of Gary Ballance who had looked like a promising Test player.

But ultimately failure was no surprise.

Listening to England chiefs Paul Downton and Peter Moores after England’s exit at the hands of a far more passionate Bangladesh side was actually quite scary. I haven’t heard so much gibberish since Mark Wright was managing Posh.

Does Moores seriously believe that the likes of David Warner and AB De Villiers worry about ‘stats’ and ‘data’ when they march to the crease?

Of course not. It’s a 50-over match when conditions are set up to favour batsmen quite significantly so ‘see ball, whack it’ is their quite simple and brutally effective method.

I’m sure England have a runs target in mind when they start an innings, but they then get scared of passing it. It would at least explain why Ian Bell leaves the ball outside off stump so often.

The players, some of whom enjoy fat central contracts, deserve all the stick flying their way, but it always amuses me that those who don’t make the squad suddenly become world beaters .

Kevin Pietersen is 34 and in his last 12 months of one-day international cricket he averaged 28. Of course he’s a better one-day player than Ballance, but if you have no hope of winning a World Cup, why not start planning for the next one?

Ben Stokes delivered one big innings in a sub-standard Big Bash competition and suddenly everyone, well everyone from Durham anyway, wanted him in England’s one-day team. His supporters conveniently forget that he’d been hopeless when he was effectively on trial for his place in the World Cup.

The truth is England are not likely to make a big push for honours whether it be in an Ashes series or a World Cup, while they rely on players from the self-serving first-class counties.

When the counties are not helping forthcoming England opponents to acclimatise to English conditions, they are throwing money (most of it donated by the proceeds of England’s Test team) at third rate/past it imports in the hope of attracting some extra beer monsters to a Twenty/20 match.

If Chris Jordan is the best our system can produce then we have serious problems.