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Batting, bowling or both: Why is England struggling in World Cup 2023?

CWC 2023: Why England Cricket Team is struggling in batting and bowling department? What's the reason for England's poor show at CWC 2023 so far?

Jos Buttler-led England is out of the semi-final qualification race Walking Wicket (Images: ©ICC/Twitter)
England is all but out of the semi-final qualification race (Images: ©ICC/Twitter)

Jos Buttler-led England are staring at one of their worst-ever performances in an ICC tournament as they continue to languish at the bottom of the points table in the ongoing Cricket World Cup 2023 being played in India.

Coming into the event, England were touted as one of the favorites, thanks to the way in which they played the game over the past few years and also due to the fact that are the defending champions. England, under Eoin Morgan, had won their maiden World Cup in 2019 at home, but coming in to the 2023 edition they have not been able to replicate their past performances and they definitely don’t look like a world champion side.

In the opening game of the tournament, England were up for a thrashing as the runners up of 2019 World Cup, New Zealand, handed them a nine-wicket defeat. From then on, the English side under keeper-batsman Buttler went from bad to worse. They have won just one game out of the six they have played so far and what is more disappointing is the way in which these losses have come.

The English fans didn’t get to see any fight from their favorite side, something which has been their USPs in the recent times. It seemed as if England meekly surrendered against strong teams like South Africa and India, before losing to Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, the sides that England was expected to dominate in this format.

CWC 2023, Sri Lanka vs England_ England lost to Sri Lanka and their 4th game out 5 in CWC 2023 _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©Twitter)
Except for Malan no other english batter score ton in CWC 2023 (Photo: ©Twitter)
What was reason for this debacle?

England had changed their approach to white-ball cricket after a shocking early exit in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, where they failed to reach the Final Four.

From then on, England’s batters were asked to go for the kill from the word go and more often than not it fetched them favorable results in the large part of the last decade. It is with the same fearless approach that England won its first-ever World Cup, albeit at home 4 years back.

Nothing much has changed when it comes to the approach of England in ODI cricket, and they play with the same attacking mindset even when a wicket falls. However, this approach hasn’t worked out for them in the ongoing World Cup as their free-flowing batters were more or less found wanting in the slow wickets of India.

Jonny Bairstow, a pioneer of England’s Bazball approach found things hard in this tournament as did their most dependable batsmen Joe Root, whose technical soundness didn’t fetch success either. Apart from them, the form of Buttler and Ben Stokes have also been a big letdown and these factors coupled with England’s timid response as a team has taken them nowhere in this World Cup. Young dashing batters like Liam Livingstone and Harry Brook, who were expected to carry England’s aggressive expedition, have yet to find their rhythm in the tournament being played in India.

Only Dawid Malan with his 140 and Root’s only 50 plus score can be seen as a positive, in an otherwise forgettable collective batting effort from England.

This makes the fans think whether England should try a different approach and try to adapt as per the game situation? Sides like South Africa and India have done that really well in this tournament. The Proteas have been the best striking team this World Cup, but they rarely played rash cricket unlike England and that has worked wonders for them.

Cricket experts around the world have been asking the same question to the English team with respect to their approach for this tournament. In their recent game against India, England lost by 100 runs while trying to reach the target of 230 set by the home team. One of the reasons for the loss is lack of the ability to take the game deep. England have been found wanting on several occasions throughout this tourney and this game was just a good example of this issue.

Cheteshwar Pujara, India’s Test batter, who is also a part of the expert analysis team of Espncricinfo, also raised the same issue during one of the shows. Pujara said, “I’ve been saying this. Is it the right approach that England is having? Is the brand of cricket which is more important than the result because they have been saying, even if we go down, we will still continue playing this way. So is it the right approach? Because I have my questions. I have been saying this. You as a team, the result is more important. How do you achieve it, it hardly matters.”

Their performance on Sunday pretty much sums up their dismal show in ICC CWC 2023 in India and this should be a time for retrospection. England should also mull over the fact that Bazball or any other style of batting will not work every time and in every condition. There should be a method to the madness and currently England doesn’t have one. This dismal performance has put them at the risk of not qualifying for the ICC Champions Trophy as well.


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