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England pay for poor preparation

Martin Gough | 09:04 UK time, Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Martin GoughBarbados - Reviews of the 5-0 Ashes Test series whitewash earlier this year laid blame mainly on poor preparation and selection for England's woes.

Does the same apply to the World Cup, after defeat by South Africa on Tuesday ended their hopes of reaching the semi-finals?

And how can a team that beat world champions Australia in three successive matches on home soil in February now appear so poor...?

Scratch the surface of England's one-day side and you quickly expose the Commonwealth Bank Series victory as a blip.

Australia, complacent after heavy early victories, had already begun extra fitness training and hence were below their best.
And those four wins made up a quarter of England's victories over the last 18 months.

While the short-term preparation for the World Cup looked well thought-out, long-term planning has been completely lacking from England's one-day side.

Over the last 18 months, comprising 42 games, 36 players have gained caps.

In case the task is too much for next week's pub quiz, here are some of the more difficult-to-remember ones: Tim Bresnan, Alex Loudon, Kabir Ali and Shaun Udal.

Many were brought in for a look then discarded when they failed to impress. Most of them were county all-rounders, not selected specifically for either batting or bowling.

Meanwhile star Test spinner Monty Panesar was not even given a chance until January.

Going into the match against South Africa, Panesar was England's second-most economical bowler - behind Andrew Flintoff - and had taken seven wickets from as many games.

There are arguably only two players among that 36 not in the World Cup 15 who would be in the Caribbean in a perfect scenario.

Pace bowler Steve Harmison retired from the one-day game came after he struggled for form with the white ball and endured a difficult Ashes tour, but he could have been a valuable asset at his best.

Marcus Trescothick's stress-related illness prevented him from taking part, although he is the only full-time opening batsman capable of exploiting the early fielding restrictions as most sides do.

Many lobbied for the inclusion of Mal Loye, whose attacking style only came off three times in seven matches in Australia.

That would probably have meant dropping Andrew Strauss, who endured a difficult winter in Australia in both Test cricket and one-day internationals.

As it happened, when the World Cup started, Strauss was initially axed from the starting line-up to accommodate Kevin Pietersen, with Ed Joyce keeping his place.

But Strauss has 14 one-day half centuries to his name, and did not need to be thrust into the cauldron of a Super 8 match against Australia having missed all four matches against non-Test nations.

This is the first time since the four-year cycles of the Ashes tour and World Cup fell into synch in 1999 that England have managed to get past the first round.

Throw in a packed English summer in 2006 and October's ICC Champions Trophy and it is little surprise that players have looked jaded.

In the same period, World Cup semi-finalists New Zealand played just 20 ODIs, and five Test matches - about 40 days less just in terms of playing, let alone travel and practice.

Then there is the effect of the Ashes whitewash itself. England were not just beaten but broken by Australia.

The one-day series win and a well-orchestrated build-up left them in good spirits going into the opening game of the World Cup.

But a dispiriting defeat to New Zealand opened all the old wounds and it was downhill from there.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 11:28 AM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Sam Ambrose wrote:

Fletcher and Vaughan must leave with immediate effect. I believe England would benefit from having a seperate one day and test coach, They are obviously completely different formats, so it would keep the tactical and other preperations fresh, and the players mindsets and focus would be considerably enhanced. The opening patnership must be a left/right hand combination to confuse the bowlers and lay a solid foundation; crucial for success. England should maybe try a big hitter with tres (i.e. flintoff) at the top of the order. K.P. at three, get shah in there, plus get some decent bowlers in there, i.e. hoggard and harmison. Finally, start showing some bloody pride out there!!!

  • 2.
  • At 11:28 AM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Neil wrote:

We keep going round and round saying the same things about preparation.

Who is at fault for this? Ultimately i feel England are playing too much Cricket and are simply unable to settle a team due to tiredness, stress and injuries besetting the team.

The balance of the one day team was all wrong and this showed up horribly against South Africa.

I do feel England have the talent to be world beaters but at the moment the pressure of too many games and lack of leadership in terms of looking after the players is causing mayhem.

Someone needs to sort this debacle out as if we are not careful one of the most talented era's for english cricket will be gone.

It is years since we have produced players of the ilk of Flintoff, Trescothick, Strauss, Bell, Bopara, Panesar and of course Pietersen. England are blessed with talent and have the likes of Broad and co waiting in the wings. Unless however the ECB wake to the schedule and the leadership issues this talented generation could well be wasted.

Lets ask ourselves, in the last 25 years England would have given anything to have the team nucleus they have now. Only back to the days of Gatting, Gower, Botham, Willis can i remember a team that had as much talent. Personally i think the current team far exceeds even the teams of 1985 etc who last won the ashes in Australia.

Please someone wake up and smell the coffee

  • 3.
  • At 11:29 AM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • RMMackay wrote:

Figure out why,when England and Aus. both had packed summers one side prospered and the other failed dismally and you should achieve a road forward

  • 4.
  • At 11:32 AM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • RMMackay wrote:

Figure out why,when England and Aus. both had packed summers one side prospered and the other failed dismally and you should achieve a road forward

  • 5.
  • At 11:34 AM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • RMMackay wrote:

Figure out why,when England and Aus. both had packed summers one side prospered and the other failed dismally and you should achieve a road forward

  • 6.
  • At 11:36 AM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Roger Hiscoe wrote:

I dont get why everyone is so disappointed with England, we are rated at No 6 in the world we will finish off in 5th or 6th place. Also South Africa is No 1 so should beat England.

  • 7.
  • At 11:37 AM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Stuart Murphy wrote:

We've never been a great 1 day side. The last world cup we did any good in was 15 years ago. Was anyone really suprised we did poorly this time? It's all very well saying Fletcher should go but we need to look at the attitiude and performance of some of the so called best players to see they didn't get up for it when needed. Choked like a dieing chicken

  • 8.
  • At 11:44 AM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Murph wrote:

We're paying the price for concentrating on the test side. We're still a good test side despite the Ashes drubbing.

I think too many excuses are banded about; too much cricket, too little cricket, in reality we simply don't have good enough players. Our openers are not average, our pace bowling is Flintoff plus anyone who is having a good day, and Monty is is just starting out. First of all we compared to other nations less favourably because the team doesn't hold as many one day caps as opposotion, then we're knocked out because we're jaded and have played too much.

Come on, we're just not a top 5 or 6 one day side.

  • 9.
  • At 12:01 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • daniel jewel wrote:

How about the fact that the team were awful and not good enough? Stop always trying to make excuses. The weather, the preparation, the food, the shoes were a size too small, the hotel rooms weren't big enough. It isn't going to wash. England were simply not good enough.

  • 10.
  • At 12:09 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • huzup wrote:

no one cares or remebers that ODI series win, we went to retain the ashes and we lost them.FACT!
dont blame fletcher or graveny,blame the players - some of them are just not good enough for ODI's,when something is done about that,maybe there'll be hope, but it'l be the coach getting the sacking and the players inabilities will be looked over

My side (when fully fit) would be - in batting order
1. Mal Loye
2. Ravi Bopara
3. Kevin Pieterson
4. Andrew Flintoff
5. Paul Collingwood
6. Vikram Solanki (possible opener too)
7. Paul Nixon
8. Jamie Dalrymple
9. Monty Panesar
10. Stuart Broad (why was he not selected!?)
11. James Anderson

justification - bats to number 8, 7 bowlers there (8 if you count KP, he does bowl in ODIs), the openers are aggressive shot players - people looking to get 50 runs in the first power plays - no "just test-match players"
they will never listen - too big ego's - people beng picked on popularity rather than talent - wrong mentality when it comes to ODIs,too conservative rather than the Aussie and SA aggressive style

  • 11.
  • At 12:13 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

Can anybody please tell me why Michael Vaughan chose to bat on a fast pitch against a team with much better batting averages than us and 5 quick bowlers?

  • 12.
  • At 12:18 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Schrodingers Cat wrote:

It must be horrible going from The Ashes, to a folllowing triangular series and then on to the World Cup. I guess that explains why the Aussies are on the verge of winning it after playing the same tournaments as a one day series against New Zealand.

The bottom line is we are an England cricket team that somewhere along the line traded in its guts for a big old bottle of The Yips.

  • 13.
  • At 12:28 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

Hmmm - I am from N Ireland so I support Ireland of course but have long supported English Test side. A comparison of the two sides I think highlights the incredible team spirit and motivation of one - Ireland - versus - the almost zero team spirit and lack of cohesion in the other - England. When you compare the enormous technical differences between the two sides the closeness of their final positions will be unbelievable to most English cricket supporters.

I think the trouble now goes beyond the One Day side and the Test Side will have similar problems although plainly there are some technique or technical problems with One Day cricket that don't apply.

There are plainly some deep rifts in the English camp and also some lessons that should have been learnt that haven't - like you try not to have Pietersen and Flintoff bat together (what is their highest partnership?).

I guess it comes down to Vaughan and the treatment of Flintoff. It was a mistake to have Flintoff captain of any team - Strauss was a perfectly good captain. Doubtless the Lancastrian feels slighted by the non-performing Yorkshireman.

If Strauss had been established insead of Flintoff then there would have been no need for Vaughan whose contribution has been near zero anyway and a more aggressive batsman could have been brought in and perhaps a happier Flintoff.

So I think Vaughan should go now from all English cricket until he can justify his place in the side although he isn't by any means the only problem. (He should have stood himself down for the World Cup.)

England also need to have at least one of their Test opening bowlers in the One Day side. Anderson and Saj are just too inexperienced to open in a serious One Day match against world class players.

Whatever, one would assume that yesterday's humiliation was so complete there are going to be significant changes.

It was what one might call a "Pakistan" moment. It's funny how this World Cup has had many such "low-lights" for quite a few teams and very few highlights. England were only ever going to get to the semi's because of South Africa's such moment against Bangladesh so it's probably good they have not got there as they would not have given the opposition any sort of game.

Maybe the good news is that this is so bad someone will do more than just paper over the cracks - or - will the blame just be laid at one person's door.

  • 14.
  • At 12:33 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Huw L wrote:

I would certainly agree with the selection issues. I know its a debatable point but I think recent events have proven one man's leadership ability is of greater contribution tot he team than an ability to score effectively. This is exacerbated when the performance form the remainder of the team is hardly electric!

However if lack of preparation and match practise was an issue for the test side, playing 42 ODIs over the last 18 months must suggest thats not the issue here. England never seemed to turn up mentally, folded when under any pressure with weak batting and / or ineffective attack. How can that be dealt with?

  • 15.
  • At 12:41 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Joe Soap wrote:

Well, we all hoped beyond hope that our fears that we really are a poor one day side would be proved wrong when it really mattered but they were not . In fact South Africa may have, at the same time as dealing a killer blow, given English cricket the kick up the backside it needed.

The only people that do not believe the structure of our game is wrong are the 1st Class Counties, who have a vested interest in leaving things as they are and the ECB who are too weak to stand up to the counties.

Competition at the highest level of our domestic game is sadly lacking . It is quite possible for a side to win the Championship and loose several games along the way, so rather than battle out draws they can just give in and get on the road to the next game. Our various competitions do not make it absolutely vital to win every game and so our players become complacent.

The whole structure of cricket in UK from club colts through to the National side needs a drastic overhaul and massive change. There are too many average players being paid to play averagely, and they bring the others down to their level, rather than the better players making the poorer ones better.

We also have to do something about the international schedule which does affect us more than any other nation. We are the only country that plays international matched May to September. We therefore never get a break. All other countries except the one or two touring in UK in our summer do get a prolonged break. That has to change as our players will get burnt out very quickly. Consider Trescothik and maybe Flintoff to name but two obvious casualties. You could name the whole squad.

We need to listen to those who have played International cricket for England over a long period and ask them what they feel should be done. Most of those who make sense on this topic are outside the establishment and have no axe to grid, no bias towards their county or county balance sheets. We must act and act fast or there will be more Ashes humiliation, more World Cup humiliation and who knows we may even struggle to beat Ireland.

  • 16.
  • At 12:45 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

I still don't buy the Aussies excuse for losing the CB series. When they lost the Ashes it was because they'd apparently been focusing on India. Extra fitness training should improve not diminish performance! Defeat hurts them as much as anyone so naturally they look for excuses as all teams do.

I do agree that England were underprepared for the World Cup. Some superb individual performances created the blip that was the CB series win, but the chopping and changing over the last year or more has beggared belief. Why did they not just give the (highly sucessful) test team a run in the one dayers over the last 1/2 years. For example how could Hoggard possibly be any worse than Bresnan, Tremlett etc.

  • 17.
  • At 12:55 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • LEE FIRTH wrote:

I think that the england 1 day team has never been the upmost in fletcher's mind hes only a test tactitian and not a bad 1 at that but i think that england are stuck bk in the 80s wen it comes 2 limited overs cricket as we seem to think that we can win a game in the last 10 overs(batting) our pace attack leaves a lot 2 be desired apart from anderson occaisionally mahmood is not a 1 day bowler yet - fletchers thinkin is that we have 2 have bowlers who can bat thats the wrong way to go bout it the reason we have batsmen is to do exactly that not rely on 9 10 n jack CHANGE IS NEEDED !!!!

  • 18.
  • At 12:57 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • LEE FIRTH wrote:

I think that the england 1 day team has never been the upmost in fletcher's mind hes only a test tactitian and not a bad 1 at that but i think that england are stuck bk in the 80s wen it comes 2 limited overs cricket as we seem to think that we can win a game in the last 10 overs(batting) our pace attack leaves a lot 2 be desired apart from anderson occaisionally mahmood is not a 1 day bowler yet - fletchers thinkin is that we have 2 have bowlers who can bat thats the wrong way to go bout it the reason we have batsmen is to do exactly that not rely on 9 10 n jack CHANGE IS NEEDED !!!!

  • 19.
  • At 12:59 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Jerry Wells wrote:

Team spirit

We cannot be surprised at rumours of a split within the England camp if we just think about the number of ex-captains in the 15 strong squad in the West Indies.

We have Flintoff who was captain then vice captain and then just a player! Here was a classic case of ignoring the Botham lesson from the past where brilliant all-rounders do not make good captains. Making a frontline bowler a captain never really works anyway.

We have Strauss who was captain and then just player. Strauss for my money did a decent job as captain during his short tenure and, more interestingly, having the responsibility of the captaincy did not affect his personal game.

We have Vaughan who is currently Captain and who with very few exceptions, has consistently failed with the bat since he was appointed. Even during the 2005 Ashes victory his contribution as a top order batsman was inauspicious.

So we have people who were captains and maybe still would like to be and somebody who is captain when he shouldn't even be in the side. This cannot be the best of environments for the other players who need to be able to respect the leader and take guidance from him in their own difficult moments.

The ECB have made some strange decisions over the last couple of years and if we are talking about change then I would look first at the managers, then the coach and then the players if England are to get anywhere near the Aussie standard.

  • 20.
  • At 01:19 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

Bo! England are wack. End of. Ireland all the way. Green Army!

  • 21.
  • At 01:40 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • AH-1701 wrote:

I like one the headline on the sports section: "Vaughan's captaincy does not match the hype." Why the understatement ? Quite frankly, his playing ability does not match the hype either! Can any captain from the other teams in the Super 8 actually say that they ever rated Vaughan as a player of quality ? Most opening bowlers saw him as an easy wicket - in the bag within the first few overs.

  • 22.
  • At 02:05 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Rod Smith wrote:

Surely England's biggest error was bringing back Vaughan as captain. Flintoff had led the team to three one-dayer victories in a row in Australia. He must have been mightily aggrieved to lose the captaincy. Martin calls the three wins a blip, but it's extremely difficult to beat Australia on home turf, especially in one-day finals.
Admittedly "Freddie" later blotted the copybook socially, but after his captaincy dumping. Why on earth did they change a winning combination? The morale was high.

  • 23.
  • At 02:57 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • tom wrote:

Preparation? Might have something to do with it. But truth be told that England is in many respects just not as good as other teams.

As an Englishman who played grade cricket in Aus I am pretty confident I can tell you the reason - the counties and absence of a decent feeder system. As reason referred to by almost every recent England International yet largely ignored by the press and totally ignored by the counties.

The gap between county and international is too vast, counties blow so much development money on outsiders and with 18 teams playing, it is impossible to gauge who is good enough to step up to test level from such a mediocre system.

It is so frustrating to support England when you see the professionalism and pursuit of excellence that other countries apply to their sporting systems compared to the "if it aint broke don’t fix it" "blame the coach, preparation, lilly livered players" mentality that applies here.

Until we reform the feeder system we will only ever have occasional success and regular heartbreak.

  • 24.
  • At 03:22 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Jeremy wrote:

Let's try to cheer ourselves up by looking forward to a post-Fletcher and Vaughan England one day team. Here's my attempt (assuming all are fit, not mad and available for selection):

Marcus Trescothick
Matt Prior (wk)
Kevin Pietersen
Owais Shah
Paul Collingwood (Capt)
Andrew Flintoff
Ravi Bopara
Stuart Broad
Simon Jones
Steve Harmison
Monty Panesar

Let's get some attacking batsmen and some wicket-taking bowlers into the team. It is not rocket science.

  • 25.
  • At 03:25 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Jas Singh wrote:

I'm not sure that anyone of us should get overly carried away with England losing against what is a very well drilled and led team from SA. We were never going to win the WC. I think that, however, in order to give your team the best possible opporunity, you have to pick your best team. I am sure that I along with all other true fans know that most of our players are world class in nature, so taking away this fact, what do you have left:

1) Captaincy is everything. Bringing back a player whose both out of touch, as well as having an obvious serious injury, is folly at its best. Having him around when he's not playing isn't a good idea anyway.

2) You can 'blood' your inexperienced players against weaker teams, but don't dare do it against the likes of Aus and SA.

3) DF seemed not to have any answers to what to do. Bless him, but DF really needs to go sooner rather than later;

4) The choice of Nixon was a step back too far. You might have well picked Alan Knott to wk! I feel really sorry for the likes of Mat Prior and Chris Read. DF has really damaged their confidence.

5) FF really looked jaded and without any answers to both Smith and De Villiers.

I know that these points have been made before. As I coach junior cricket, I always remind myself that winning is a habit, one of which is totally lost upon this bunch of over-paid prima donnas.

  • 26.
  • At 04:10 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • nick wrote:

get rid of test selectors, and bring in I T Botham at least he as some passion and has
a great cricket brain, it should be a great honour to play for england,and at the momeant it is just a job.There also should be a sytem where the young players coming through should play 1 day and push for the full test side with should keep the test side boys on there toes.

  • 27.
  • At 04:19 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Rob Payne wrote:

Personally I don't hold with the theory that we have a wealth of talent in our one day side and that a new coach would actually improve matters greatly. I feel we have a more fundamental problem with English Cricket, one which has held back our national team for the last 20 plus years.

The problem is the County structure which is now so out of date it is embarrassing.

The quality of our County Cricket in both forms of the game is so far adrift from international cricket that the leap is just so great to fill. We have been reliant on the skills of Fletcher to pick out 'hidden gems' from the County game on the basis of 'temperament'.

A season in county cricket is a mindless slog of games in many different formats where most of the games (possibly 20-20 aside) meander aimlessly through drab averageness. Times have changed since the days when the make up of a county side would contain the likes of Botham, Garner, Marks & Richards at Somerset or Broad, Robinson, Randall, Rice, Hadlee, French and Hemmings at Notts (not a bad nucleus!)

Since the advent of central contracts the best 12 or 13 players in the country hardly play for their county. Since the increase in International fixtures, the window for the top international players to play here has become so small that most do not try and play so we are left as a breeding ground for 2nd and 3rd rate Australians to round off skills already honed in Test Cricket.

Therefore in the county game, most bowling attacks contain at least two bowlers who can easily be got at.

Whilst those of you at Derby or Northampton would probably disagree, the answer is pretty clear. We have too many teams, playing too many games. The focus has to be on improving the quality of matches, in front of bigger crowds and make sure the games are played at much higher intensity.

I would propose in the short term that one of the one day competitions is changed to a representative regional competition involving eight teams...

Durham & Yorkshire - (Headingley)
Lancashire & Derbyshire (Old Trafford)
Nottingham, Leicester & Northants (Trent Bridge)
Somerset & Gloucester (Bristol)
Warwickshire & Worcester (Edgbaston)
Kent & Sussex (Hove)
Hampshire & Surrey (Rose Bowl)
Middlesex & Essex (Lords)

Selectors would pick players on a form basis with a quota on international players of 4, leaving seven England eligable players in each side, one of whom must be captain. The format would mirror International Cricket. Centrally contracted players MUST play in at least 75% of the games.

It won't happen of course because 17 counties will all be looking at self interest first.

  • 28.
  • At 04:24 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Mark Lewis wrote:

There's a lot of passion about the England performance (or lack) in this WC. But rather than reaching for the gun right away, we should consider the root cause of the problem.

Yes, DF is a good coach and has moved the test game forward and probably at the expense of the ODI game. Certianly MV is out of form and unsuited to one dayers.

But the responsibility lies with the ECB. The structure of the county system does not allow proper feeders to the international side. There is no leadership from the ECB in delivering a world class performance culture right through the game.

Having experienced both, it is clear that SA and Aus take a very different view. Their structures are set up to capture and develop talent with single purpose of delivering that up into the national side. The culture is focused on outcome- on winning. Their planning and selection encourages stability. Their coaching focuses on the whole team delivering.

Driving this kind of performance culture works -just look at how much improved SL's has been in this World Cup.

In short, don't shoot the coach or the captain. Ask the ECB to do its job.
Get them out of the comfortable club house and get to work building a structure for English cricket that is focused on winning, not hoping !

  • 29.
  • At 04:28 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • MJCL wrote:

It seems English sport not only quite often overrates itself but also, when results inevitably don't match expectations, scapegoats are called for without any examination of the real underlying problems.

Looking at the English squad going into the world cup only the most blindly patriotic and optimistic of supporters could have backed England to win. the averages and experience spoke for themselves, Vaughn wouldn't make it into any the Kenyan batting line-up and the bowling attack about as effective as a cling-wrap condom. The genuinely world-class players were either over-worked (Flintoff), unpredictable (KP) or untested (Monty). And just like the second test of the ashes, it was often the players rolling over on the field that led to such dismal performances (eg Mahmood's boundary fielding against SA) and this raises even bigger questions about Vaughn's captaincy.

Whilst the Ashes victory in England was less than convincing Fletcher has turned around much of the English game, often without credit. He is not the only selector and cannot play for those who are picked, especially under the pressure created by a sporting media too ready to tell the public what they want to hear and then castigate anyone when it doesn't come off as they'd hoped.

uh, what happened to your blogroll?

  • 31.
  • At 04:34 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Philip Rush wrote:

There is only one man for the job and his name is Mark Alleyne. He has been the most successful one day captain in England, managing a team which proved far greater than the sum of its parts, Gloucestershire.

His teams bat and field aggressively, are stingy with runs and rarely if ever give up.

His bowlers are superficially unexciting (with perhaps the exception of J Lewis) but they manage the pace of the game perfectly.

Appoint Alleyne as one-day coach immediately, and then think about a completely different management for the Test matches.

  • 32.
  • At 04:39 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Peter Smith wrote:

I new positive approach is needed, How about somebody to take over the one day team with the view to eventually taking over the test mantle from Mr Fletcher of whom I have no complaints with test match cricket, but in his time in charge we simply have not improved one bit in one dayers, Somebody with a bit of bottle somebody for the long haul, Maybe somebody like Nasser who cares deeply about the state of our cricket teams

  • 33.
  • At 04:44 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Steve Hope wrote:

England are not that far away from having a good cricket side. What they need to do is get 9 more South African born players. They then need to convince South Africa to play 11 English born players - and hey presto, the tables will be turned.

  • 34.
  • At 05:26 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • dt wrote:

i agree jeremy nice team although i may move ravi up the order

  • 35.
  • At 05:29 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • anthony wrote:

It's not a question of 'who?' to captain and manage England - it's a question of 'what is required?' first - and then pick the right man.

The job in hand requires similar skills from both men. They have to manage a group of players some of whom are massively egotistical, some of whom are quiet, and some just plain thick. As individuals they earn a LOT of money. Win or lose - they WIN. Some of these men earn as much in one year as a normal fellow would earn in 15 years. A few years in the England team sets them up for life - so they really have nothing to lose, and nothing to win either.

Faced with this very demanding management job, whoever is captain or coach is needs to be a consumate politician, motivator and skilled tactical thinker, and above all a disciplinarian who will not think twice about dropping under-performers - not just for one match (Flintoff's penalty for making a total arse of himself) - but sending players home from tours and not pickng them for 1 year or more.

The only thing they have to play for is a place in the England set-up. If that is denied now and again from certain 'sacred cows' (I am talking about Flintoff) then it will encourage the others to take their jobs a little more seriously.

No organisation flourishes in a laissez-faire environment unless it's a social club. The England tour to Australia turned into that with the wives and girlfriends out there and the World Cup was just another holiday.

England cricket needs discipline - pure and simple.

  • 36.
  • At 06:25 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Mike Briley wrote:

We have, undoubtedly, some talented players in the current side. It appears to me that we tend to play as individuals rather than as a focussed team. If Fletcher and Vaughan are unable to gel the England ODI team into a cohesive unit then BOTH should go, and go now. Our tactics seem limited and dependant upon a few key players scoring all the runs or taking all the wickets. Too many 'bit and pieces' players. Perhaps we should look at the other international sides that are doing well where the test team and ODI team are virtually the same. A review of our Power Play tactics, also, would not come amiss.

  • 37.
  • At 06:50 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Warren wrote:

In all the discussion and debate over the recent England debacle, nobody has mentioned the imposter David Graveney - he who has never played cricket for his country, yet feels himself eminently qualified to select international players. Lets ask the question "How did he get the job? I suspect its the name and influential family members within the cricketing establishment at Lords.Nepotism is alive and well in this country.

He should have gone after the Ashes disgrace but has survived to swan around the Carribean. If this was football he would have gone long ago.

Am sure however, that Morgan of the ECB - another great test player - will jump to his defence with mealy mouth platitudes.

Perhaps one of the press Gurus would like to comment on this.

  • 38.
  • At 06:56 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Darryl Squires wrote:

It has nothing to do with lack of talent or cricketing preparation. We have enough talent and we have just won a series against the likely winners of this tournament. So we should be doing better.

I am fortunate enough to know a number of players (not English) and back room staff who were at the opening ceremony of this world cup. After the main ceremony the Australians stayed for a while but to a man had left by 10am. Closely followed by South Africans...

One so called major team was left at the bar and were not shy about knocking back the beers!! Including the captain! And so we hear it continued throughout the tournament.

That my friends is the real reason. We have the talent and we had the same preparation at the likely winners but we do not have the professionalism or discipline.

  • 39.
  • At 07:34 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • TY SAMUEL wrote:

England is just a hyped about team. The only thing they are all capable of doing is (including the media) HIGH ON TALK AND LOW ON PERFORMANCE. They themselves make up stories of world class batters & bowlers with Flintoff tell the truth they are really no match and now they (England) should be considered minnows not Bangladesh or Kenya. Even that chap Bopra's Fluke of a chance against Srilanka suddenly made him a world class player..Muralitharan has scored a 50 in the past does that make him a world class batter come on England first perform and then Talk....

  • 40.
  • At 08:09 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • Freddie wrote:

Another inept display by a poor England sie. they only play well when Vaughan isn't in the side, get rid of him, and Fletcher. The bowlers are rubbish getting hit on average for twelve an over. It's no good people saying Vaughan is a good captain, he's not, if he was that good we would have won. I wish Vaughan would stop coming out with all this 'spin' about, we must take a look at ourselves etc etc, we know what the problem is, your not good enough.

  • 41.
  • At 09:06 PM on 18 Apr 2007,
  • David Jeans wrote:

Watching England from NZ has been painful! The Aussie commentators said at one point "They play a lot of one-day cricket in England". The problem is that England players don't because of central contracts. Don't get me wrong, central contracts are a good idea. As someone who comes from Sussex I remember someone like John Snow being blunted by playing far too much county cricket. But the balance has now gone too far the other way - the England team looked to be far from match sharp, especially at one day level. Mind you the Test side had had far too little cricket before the 1st Test in Brisbane and it showed. If you are experienced like the Aussies it doesn't matter, but the England team is not experienced.

  • 42.
  • At 01:53 AM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • albert wrote:

hard to believe the cricket loving public ( the wage payers) are constantly ignored by the powers that be.
Simple facts dictate, we as the inventors of the games of both cricket and football have for long periods failed to be inovistic in our approach to the games, clearly defining what we the paying public want. Could that be sumarised as ..

1) entertainment
2) to win

few can deny the fact we get great entertainment from our club soccer and county cricket, but what happens when it comes to our national teams ?

The facts speak for themselves, without foreign players, our games would be "boring" the "stars" of county cricket and premier league soccer are in the main "foreigners" who need our game and our money to be enticed to play here.
There in is the problem, our local teams do well, because of foreign players and managers, our home grown players may benefit by the skills of the foreign players but often become overated and over paid !

can we honestly say a world eleven cricket or soccer team would have an englishman amongst the top 11 ? (or top 20 man squad for that matter )

two of our best go to spain, play for real madrid and can't get a regular spot in the first team. None of our cricketers can regulary get a place in an australian state side.

exactly the opposite happens for smaller countries who develop their sports talent on the back of the english sports system......witness the amount of aussies playing in english soccer,rugby and cricket teams,

so where do we start ?
it is my belief (after being a fan for over 50 years) we start with the TRUTH.........
that is our expectations are simply too high under the existing systems and methodology. We expect and demand our "rights" to rule and the truth is, it aint going to happen!

when was the last time any english team at any sport "dominated " ?( darts and snooker maybe)

we have seen other nations, Australia, West indies in cricket, Brazil, Italy in soccer do this.( England did not dominate in 1966)

I for one would not doubt the will to win of John Terry and his team, Michael Vaughan and his on my second point "to win".....where are we going wrong ?

and the answer is ......the systems and methodology !

our primary objective is to WIN....or is it? because if this is the objective, then entertainment must suffer .....why ?

we constantly rely on a small group of players, perhaps as small as 6 people, give them superstar status and expect them to perform way behond their levels of endurance and concentration,
in both soccer and cricket, we expect our players to perform week in and week out at the very peak of their abilities and then to go on and perform at international level usually without any great team preperations. If and of course this is a big If, we developed the mentality of the great managers and looked to develop a "squad " of inter changable players,( remembering we have a far larger pool ) say limiting each to a maximum of say 50 actual games per year regardless if this is for club or country, then we would have a chance of maintaining a group of our very best, at peak levels,

within a group or squad, competition for places would be fierce........given the squad was say 24 players.
club managers and national managers would be forced to work together since if a player lets say played for his national team 10 times he would be limited to a maximum of 40 games for his club...

thus the national manger would have the benefit of the cumulative thoughts of the top club managers having an input into his selection and match play.
the national squad would have more quality preperation time,
Of course the coach would need to be an Alex Fergusson or Arsen Wenger to control his players and fellow managers.

The hype and politics should be taken completely out of the hands of the manager, he needs to concentrate on what he should be best at.
The head of the governing body should be the mouth piece and must be held accountable as is any CEO for the overall performance of his team of players and staff. would we the fans feel, being told that Gerrard or Rooney cant play this week having played his quota of games, ? or is perhaps being held in reserve for later games ?

Therein is the real truth.............we cant have it all under the present setup !
entertainment AND wins ?....

  • 43.
  • At 02:38 AM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Cal Pitchen wrote:

Unbelievable. There should be no talk about it. Fletcher should leave now. No wonder English sport is in the doldrums. It clings to glories past and treats modern failures as perhaps a blip. Matthew Hoggard's comments about him are deluded!!
If you want to be successful in sport like Australia, like Brazil, like Italy etc, then do like them. After a poor performance in a tournament, the coach is removed, no questions asked!
English sport is living in the past, and even the past hasn't been that flash anyway.
1 football world cup? Big deal. By end of this century Australia will have at least 2.

  • 44.
  • At 09:32 AM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

The team are not up to the job, it is not all the coaches fault, he can't play on the day only advise before hand. A complete overhaul is needed and a 3 tier cricket team starting with 20-20, One day and lastly the Test Match team. Separate players per event and only promoted on merit, "parish green players" left in the dressing room. There is no balance at present the same dead wood doing the motions and getting nowhere. We have county cricketers who would enjoy the oppurtunity of playing and representing their country on special call ups where needed.

  • 45.
  • At 11:18 AM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • NAGARAJ N wrote:

Engaland should go to the basics of Cricket before entering any tournament let alone World Cup

  • 46.
  • At 11:19 AM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Adam Henderson wrote:

I just think,

Micheal Vaughn has underperformed and needs a chance to proove himself, i think that the world 11 woudl be the perfecr place for him to make his glorious return to form.

Micheal is probabaly still the best player in the world and just needs a lift to hit form.

I think he is just better than ponting and that he probably has a better car as well.

Thats just a guess tho.

But is probabaly true.

  • 47.
  • At 12:34 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • roshan wrote:

The reason why England failed is that Duncan Fletcher had favourites and was not ruthless enough.

When England won against Pakistan - he should have kept that winning team as the basis for the Ashes. Instead of which - he reverted to Jones and Giles and Flintoff as captain. A consequence that installed the idea that you had to be a favourite rather than the best person for the job.

Having disrupted the test team - it meant that the one day team was in limbo and lacked direction.

Too much focus was given to the test team rather than the one day team.
Most countries now focus on the one day team as opposed to the test team.

England were the opposite.

Also what needs to happen is that the days of 5 test series should be history. Most countries have 3 test series and 5 one days internationals - England needs to move in that direction.

It needs to live in cricket's 21st century.

  • 48.
  • At 03:37 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Tony Fellows wrote:

Even if England had beaten SA - I still don't think that they would've won the tournament.
Australia are still streets ahead of all the other competing teams and they'll win the World cup yet again.
One day when Australia no longer have Glen McGrath - that'll be when they start losing.

Australia to win by a mile.

  • 49.
  • At 04:23 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • brian wrote:

I'm sure that there a multiple contributory reasons for Englands poor performance but at the end of the day it all comes down to poor performance in batting, bowling and fielding. I can see only two reasons why we have underperformed ( I asumming of course that we can be better than we appear ) and both lead to poor technicque. We either play too many games spending too much time away from home and the players are jaded and need a rest. Or the players just have poor technique, if its the first then we need to engineer a rest for the players , if its the second then we sack the coaches. Certainly the length of the world cup isn't helping I'm not playing and I feel jaded. At least the team will now have a couple of extra weeks rest before preparation must start for the Windies tour. We need to look at the training methods and playing schedules of the top teams and see what we can learn from them . The English game at home can't be so bad or we wouldn't see so many foreign players over here during the summer.

  • 50.
  • At 04:30 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Paul Barker wrote:

Michael Vaughan should never have played coming straight back into International cricket after such a long lay off

  • 51.
  • At 04:30 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Jake 1.0 wrote:

So it seems Fletcher will go with immediate effect and Peter Moores will take over temporarily.

Personally, I hope Peter Moores keeps the job permanently. The last thing we need is a season of uncertainty.

Fletcher has been good for England until now.
Yes he leant to much on unfit experienced players and ended up with an inexperienced side in at the deep end.

If we want a strong test side and a strong one day side we may have to consider two sides or at least one and half!

In the short run Vaughan should stay as Test captain but stood down from One day side.

I don't believe Tres can be included in either form at home until/if he is ready to be tested away from home.

Cook should come back in as opener both in Tests and one-dayers. Strauss should not open in one-dayers and is not certain of his place in the side. I would like to see James Benning kick on this season and partner Cook in the one day side.

England should leave the one-day captaincy until they are ready to name their side.
Not sure we know what our best side is yet but Collingood is an obvious choice at least until Cook is a little bit more experienced.

But let's do this in orderly way. England have made some big mistakes and the rot has set in. But we can recover from this just so long as we learn!

  • 52.
  • At 05:13 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Thomas Scrase wrote:

After the fantastic Ashes series in 2005, I wonder to what extent certain heroes lost their appetite to move on to the next level. The advent of central contracts seemed a truly progressive move. But now, one wonders whether that this has contributed to complacency and poor preparation. Of course ongoing injuries
does nothing for form. I am sure Vaughan would have preferred to come into the World Cup with some large scores at the highest level behind him for example. I also wonder after the cash bonanza of 2005(from record gates and increased TV revenue) why money was not found to keep Troy Cooley in the management set up. Not only did we lose an Ace but we passed it across the table to Australia. It is as if Man Utd would transfer Ronaldo to Chelsea on a free transfer!

  • 53.
  • At 05:14 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • RJP wrote:

Generally the whole WC has been a painfull experience for the English fan. I am only glad that I did spend thousands to go and see them play so poorly.

Am currently hoping that SA or SL can beat Australia at the end. The Australians have pretty much brutalised everyone in their path. Awesome to watch but not always much of a contest.

The Aus-Eng match was probably one of our best games. If we had managed to squeeze a few more runs out (30-40) we could have made it much more difficult for the Australians.

Was a bit suprised that Fletcher has gone. Think that he has done generally an excellent job with the Test side. We do need a fresh approach for the ODI matches as we have generally looked woeful.

  • 54.
  • At 05:18 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Thomas Scrase wrote:

After the fantastic Ashes series in 2005, I wonder to what extent certain heroes lost their appetite to move on to the next level. The advent of central contracts seemed a truly progressive move. But now, one wonders whether that this has contributed to complacency and poor preparation. Of course ongoing injuries
does nothing for form. I am sure Vaughan would have preferred to come into the World Cup with some large scores at the highest level behind him for example. I also wonder after the cash bonanza of 2005(from record gates and increased TV revenue) why money was not found to keep Troy Cooley in the management set up. Not only did we lose an Ace but we passed it across the table to Australia. It is as if Man Utd would transfer Ronaldo to Chelsea on a free transfer!

  • 55.
  • At 05:50 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Thomas Scrase wrote:

After the fantastic Ashes series in 2005, I wonder to what extent certain heroes lost their appetite to move on to the next level. The advent of central contracts seemed a truly progressive move. But now, one wonders whether that this has contributed to complacency and poor preparation. Of course ongoing injuries
does nothing for form. I am sure Vaughan would have preferred to come into the World Cup with some large scores at the highest level behind him for example. I also wonder after the cash bonanza of 2005(from record gates and increased TV revenue) why money was not found to keep Troy Cooley in the management set up. Not only did we lose an Ace but we passed it across the table to Australia. It is as if Man Utd would transfer Ronaldo to Chelsea on a free transfer!

  • 56.
  • At 06:16 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • brendan wrote:

I as an England cricket fanatic am as upset as the next man about our meek and pathetic departure from the world cup, and am saddened by Duncan Fletchers departure from the job. However his input into the re-birth of cricket in this country with Hussain/Vaughan/Flintoff as his Captains cannot be forgotten. He rebuilt cricket with his astute player "picks" and his quiet management style suited many players and his record is simple, he has been our best "ever coach" that is fact and catagorical. However he had to go, now I cant get over excited about one-day cricket, but our batting performance and the coaching ethos behind it was disgraceful. Nasser Hussain (a big Duncan fan) stated that we were playing a different game to other nations. This spelt out was why Michael Vaughan left 7 overs of medium pace from Pollock/Langerfelt we were so consumed by the PLAN of preserving wickets that we forgot the basics of the game and that is to score more than the opposition, not a hard line to grasp. Vaughan/Bell left, I counted them 3 half volleys an over from each bowler, yes leave one or two but then get on with it. However this may illustrate a more worrying trend in English cricket, with an over emphasis on technique we have forgotten the beauty of attacking the opposition, a team who is afraid to attack will never win, and let us not forget the only time we got any joy/success from the Aussies was when we attacked them. We must attack, have a simple game plan dont get over technical and be brave. This was Fletchers plan and it failed, but the public should never forget what a superb job Fletcher has done for cricket, and the whingeing sky commentators Bob Willis et al, should show some respect to a real cricketing

  • 57.
  • At 08:19 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Glynne Williams wrote:

You have made several good points in your message.

Over-coaching: does it make the players over-anxious? Vaughan said that he wanted players to go out and express themselves but my overview of this interminable world cup is that they are afraid to express themselves - they have seemed hampered by the 1-day game in a way that they are definitely not at Test level. Freddie and KP for example play at their inimitable best when they are free spirits (and what a joy they are to watch when they are allowed to be free )

Mentality and culture: Angus Fraser in the Independent today talks about the general attitude towards 1-dayers (bearing in mind he's on the committee looking at England's recent record): it was test and county that made him proud, not what he did in 1-dayers (I think this the same with the West Indian players from what I can gather). This is a cricket culture thing and you can't change it overnight. Maybe we suffer from inventing the game and it crystallises in a particular way ..... this says to me that change is due at county and ECB level.
Duncan Fletcher going will not change anything on its own. Respect to him - a fantastic coach and what change he wrought in the English game (just in case folks have forgotten, number 2 in the world rather than number 8 when he first came on the scene)!

  • 58.
  • At 09:06 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • tim hughes wrote:


Put simply if England don't have the players they are not going to win.

Duncans only mistake was to make Michael Vaughan captain for the one day series.

Just remember all the start players either not fit - Jones, Trescothick, or players who are completely out of sorts, Harmisson Flintoff Strauss.

I'll always remember him for taking England cricket from the scrap heap to the top.

And finally how many other teams have beaten Australia - and who really cares about one day internationals.

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