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Fletcher's farewell present a little late

Martin Gough | 23:32 UK time, Saturday, 21 April 2007

Martin GoughBarbados - Duncan Fletcher was never going to play a high-profile role in his farewell game, even before Brian Lara hijacked it.

After six weeks of disappointment, England finally provided him with a World Cup performance to be proud of but it was much too late to secure a semi-final place.

Michael Vaughan’s men looked out of it when a woeful start from their the opening bowlers allowed openers Chris Gayle and Devon Smith to return to form and add 102 together in the first 15 overs, setting West Indies on course for the 300 mark.

But finally, after the stumbling displays of the last six weeks, England showed some aggression at the top of the order.

Ravi Bopara, who arguably should have been moved up to three a fortnight ago, helped Vaughan take England to 100 after the first 15 overs.

Vaughan demonstrated some wonderfully uncomplicated stroke-making in his 79 and Kevin Pietersen hit his first century as part of a one-day victory, an indication of his increasing maturity.

Pietersen reaches his centuryAgain, Pietersen got out with the job not yet finished but Paul Nixon again did exactly what he was brought into the side to do, nudging, sweeping and managing England into position before an assured World Cup debut from Stuart Broad finished matters.

Vaughan’s first fifty in a one-dayer for 21 months may have eased pressure on him to concentrate on Test cricket in future.

Dwayne Bravo’s second athletic run out started the usual England mid-innings collapse, with four wickets falling in nine overs for the addition of 34 runs.

But, unlike in previous games, they were up with the pace and a self-assured seventh-wicket stand between Pietersen and Nixon kept them there.

England looked to have given the game away in the first hour, James Anderson and Liam Plunkett conceding five wides in the first two overs.

Anderson appeared ready to fly home while Plunkett, back in the side for the first time in a month, struggled to gain a consistent length and saw Chris Gayle smash 21 off his fourth over.

Broad, in his first game of the tournament, also had a difficult start, Gayle punching and cutting two boundaries in a first over costing 11, but he recovered well.

West Indies captain Lara, playing his last ever international, commanded a standing ovation from the 28,000 present as he came in to bat, while Fletcher stayed in the shadows.

He can now hand the job of building England into a World Cup contender in 2011 over to Peter Moores.

England performed with the pressure of qualification off their shoulders, but they must have wondered what a difference a result like this earlier in the tournament would have had on their fragile confidence.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:45 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Caro wrote:

What's the point of finally playing well when it's irrelevant? Just to show that you can actually do it but couldn't be bothered before? Or because they can only really cope when the competition is their own standard? Much weaker and they can't be bothered, much better and they too "fragile". I think it's their egos that are the fragile bit!

  • 2.
  • At 01:31 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • George wrote:

Personally, I enjoyed the game (listening on TMS) - admittedly I'd prefer England to have been playing with a semi-final place already guaranteed, but at the moment we're not at that level.

With that in mind, I was pleased the team played a bit better, perhaps because they were more relaxed. Certainly Vaughan seemed to play a lot more freely - what with his bowling, too, I would have given him Man of the Match.

We don't seem to know how to play ODI properly, and hopefully Moores will sort that out. The win today may have only been against a poor Windies side, but it was still a win, and showed that we can play cricket to some extent. Best of all, it was a great match!

Having watched the highlights on BBC One, though, I'd like to suggest that Derek Pringle steers clear of television in future. Apart from the fact that he looked uncomfortable in front of the camera, he lacked any kind of charm or charisma and was just too negative.

We'd just had an exciting match, with a great atmosphere, saying farewell to one of the world's greatest ever batsman; England had managed to win in a thrilling finish against a Test-playing side, and Pringle decided to just moan about everything and everyone. England? Could only beat the West Indies. Pietersen (100)? "Quite good" but shouldn't have got out. Nixon (vital 38)? Shouldn't have got out.

Cheer up, look at the positives and enjoy the moment! Follow Aggers' example...

Why, oh why, couldn't either of these teams play like this sooner?
Good point, by the way, Mr. Gough about the move of Bopara up the order. Things like him coming in behind Flintoff in the order in previous matches, have had thousand of England fans wincing in disbelief, given the scores that Flintoff's been getting recently. We will miss some of Duncan Fletcher's achievements, such as the 2005 Ashes series, but not ones like his selection of Giles and Geraint Jones for the last ashes tour, or batting Bopara down the order until it was all over... (Unless Bopara himself requested to play down there, being nervous of the big stage, and it is only now that he has been able to be coaxed up to number 3.)

Proposed one Day series team for West Indies tour of England (only half joking)

1) Trescothick (hopefully, but try someone like Sussex's Montgomerie instead, if not, as he looks to be in the runs at present in the four day game)
2) Strauss/Loye - unless someone out there can suggest a better option?
3) Bopara
4) Pietersen
5) Collingwood? (if the schedule allows)
6) Read, Foster, or Prior (wicketkeeper)
7) Michael Vaughan
8) ???/Panesar
9) Flintoff?
10) Anderson
11) Stuart Broad/Mahmood

Given Flintoff's lack of batting in one day matches these days, I have included him in the side on the basis of his bowling. Michael Vaughan, on the basis of the fact that he was the most devestating of the England bowlers today gets the all-rounder's slot, and coming in to bat at number seven the pressure should be well off of him. I'm not certain who should fill the number 8 slot. Presumably Panesar can play on pitches which take spin, but another seamer- maybe Gough?- for pitches that look less spin friendly. Given that england are supposed to be looking to the future, Bopara or Pietersen could be made captain, since there are other, wiser, heads around to advise them. Strauss has plenty of experience as vice-captain, and I think it best that Flintoff be left to get on with his bowling and to try to get his batting in order. Any one day bowlers available to England with better skills than Flintoff would allow Flintoff to go away and concentrate on getting his form back, and test cricket, of course... I'd give Broad the nod ahead of Mahmood at present, given that Stuart Broad did relatively well in trying to keep the West Indies under control today (he only went for just over 5 an over, as compared to Plunkett's 10 an over). It would be nice to retain Nixon in the side as keeper, since he is obviously a fighter, but at some point England are going to have to start loking to the future in the keeper department as well, since Nixon isn't going to be able to go on forever, alas.

Final thought on Duncan Fletcher: Does anyone suppose that he will end up punditing for Sky-Sports or TMS as one of their 'match sunmmarisers'?

  • 4.
  • At 01:50 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Jack wrote:

KP has developed from top class to world class, and arguably world best. Great player, amazing to watch.

We finally found a keeper capable of batting and who is full of beans. On paper old, but years of energy to come.

Bopara is a great find, mature.

Collingwood could be a captain of the future.

Definitely a lot of positives.

  • 5.
  • At 02:26 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • briggsy wrote:

How did I know that Vaughan would finally come to the party when the pressure is off?? Fantastic innings, looked like his old self, but unfortunately it counts for zip!

KP - fantastic again. The way he keeps it up when all else fails around him really shows what a top player he is.

Yes a lot of positives, but I am afraid you can't disguise that we are a team with no plan, out of form players and are a world apart from the top sides in one day cricket. We need to build toward the next world cup from here and I'm afraid that means harsh decisions.

Vaughan has to step down - no way his knees will hold out and he should concentrate on test matches which suit his style. Nixon, though a revelation in this tornament, will not make it to the next one. Bopara, broad, bell must be given a run in the side and I hope Peter Moores has something up his sleeve from the academy.

  • 6.
  • At 02:26 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

A win over a team that also didn't make the world cup semi's is hardly an indication of changing fortunes. There is an awful lot of work to do on the psychological aspect of the English team. If they don't think like winners, and train like winners, then they will remain losers on the scoreboard more often than not.

  • 7.
  • At 02:32 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Eric wrote:

I think KP deserves a bit more credit than he receives on these forums. His critics were out in force before this game, and a few will probably still find fault with this latest effort as he got out on only 100 this time.

The fact is that he is England's best batsman by far, who's managed to top the averages in just about every series he's played in despite being an attacking, big-hitting batsman. Yes, England won the CB series without him - because Collingwood and Joyce hit a string of centuries. How often do Collingwood or Joyce hit centuries? I fail to see how this makes him less valuable, or less of a "team man", when he's just averaged 55 during the World Cup. After topping the averages during the Ashes.

Because he comes across as a bit of an idiot at times, and is South African, he cops far more flack than any Englishman in his situation would. England are lucky to have him.

  • 8.
  • At 06:11 AM on 22 Apr 2007,

England have finally given a good account of themselves and beaten a team who are on par with them. It shows that the semi finalists are far ahead of the rest of the pack. We can now sit back and enjoy three good games of high intensity cricket and about time too after a long drawn out yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.
I am looking forward to the drean final of the mighty Aussies and the raring to go Lions.
The best team on that day shall lift the cup and all the glory that goes with it.
I appeal to the finalists to give us a good game which has been missing in this edition of the world cup.
All the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Simple answer here is that a win against Sri Lanka was all it would have taken to get in. Even a team playing this badly could have done it.

I was at the first game versus New Zealand and Fletcher must hold 95% of the responsibility for a flat and very unprofessional performance. This team under performs because it was poorly prepared.

  • 10.
  • At 06:56 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Aj wrote:

Lets face it, our cricket team had a shocking worldcup. They havent beaten any good teams(excp. struggling WI). Biggest failure for me was lack of discipline by the batsmen and lack of control by bolwers. Excp. KP, all of top order failed. Batting failure is mainly due to way Bell and Vaughan played. They both didnt know whether to attacking or defensive mode of cricket. I partly blame this to england backroom staff. We all know Vaughan is a good test crickety player, so England should asked Vaughan to drop anchor play like he does in test cricket other players playing arround him. Like Kallis or Arnold for SA and SRI respectively.

If Vaughan play in defensive manner KP should of promoted to play at No 3. followed by Bopara.
Sencond problem was Flintoff form. he was great with ball. batting? didnt do anything. so he should of batted down the order. or really up order in a hit hope style. like shahid afridi. No pressure just make 30 to 50 runs in quicktime during powerplays.

Final throughts about bolwing, one word to describe it : Rubbish. They all lacked control. too many wides, no balls and 4 balls. This shows one thing bolwers are not playing enough one day game or selectors were picking wrong players. England has gone for test quick bowler types. They should of picked bolwers for accuracy. Broad should of given more chances.

Just imagine Vaughan had played the way he did in this match in the previous matches, then England would surely have been in the semis.

  • 12.
  • At 07:41 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • LEONIDAS LOS wrote:

What a thriller! The game proved that England have the batsmen - they need consistency and the bowlers to help the batsmen and no doubt this will be addressed.
As for Nixon, though 36 years of age, I would have him in a side any day. He's fit, he's responsible, he's motivated, he lives for the game and the team, he's not a bad keeper and he can bat!. An exemplary professional..
Glad Vaughan finally got a decent knock.
As I have said much can be learnt from this series, built upon and improved.
A fitting farewell to Duncan Fletcher whose contribution should always be remembered as being significant - well done boys for doing this for him.
Finally what a nice touch - the guard of honour for the prolific Brian Lara - all good stuff for what proved to be a most entertaining game.
Everyone a winner even the losers but more especially the game of cricket.



  • 13.
  • At 08:07 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Rob Whittle wrote:

Michael Vaughan. Great knock with to pundits in their pace. This man's career could have been over a year ago. You have to admire the strong will of this man to get back to near form with 79 fluent runs, two big sixes and a match winning 3-39. This is not a man who gives up when the chips are down, lets pundits hound from arm chairs and ivory, or cries in his beer in a pedalo.

This man is a class act and as Pieterson realised their are many sides to this man, including a closet fluent strokemaker. We would all like Vaughny to play his shots more. As we have seen in the past Vaughan is a man who can make an big anchor innings in Tests.

Yes his one day batting was poor, and has been poor over the tournament and in his career and perhaps he should have batted at 6 or 7, moves Bopara up for powerplays, and payed his shots in the tail of the innings.

My point is that without Vaughans captaincy, with Flintoff in personal meltdown, Strauss out of batting sorts; England cound have left this World Cup in position No8 after Bangladesh/Ireland and WI, rather than No5. As a one day side we have to be realistic we are not strong enough to be in the top 4. It was unlikely we were going to get past the semis or 4th position. This must be the ODI/ next world cup goal of the new coach and unlike Fletcher, Moores has a good reservoir of players to develop into a unit.

I agree with comments here, Pringle makes a poor negative commentator who puts a "Death Wish" on players performances.

Whatever the weaknesses in the current England side, fans love tryers and England wins. Vaughan and co managed this against West Indies, and pouched the 301 result.

  • 14.
  • At 08:33 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • buzzle wrote:

vaughn should have been man of the match for his 79 runs and three wickets

  • 15.
  • At 09:13 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • IceMan45 wrote:

While it was good to see Michael Vaughan scoring runs for once and England actually winning something, I really hope that this, like the CB series fluke, does not make everyone in England think; 'Oh... we're okay after all... nothing to worry about... look; we won!'

This is not the case; things are far from okay. Sure, England beat the West Indies, but this is a side who's problems are even greater than theirs, and even then, the win was not exactly stunning; the match could easily have slipped the other way had Pietersen performed one of his stupid shots. There are still serious problems to be solved within the English side, and the solution needs to be found quickly. Winning matches when it is irrelevant to the outcome of a competition is, well... irrelevant.

On a related note, it was a shame that Brian Lara's last ever match ended in such a fashion; such a legendary player deserved at least a good knock at the crease, and preferably a victory, but oh well... spilt milk and all that; he will be missed.

  • 16.
  • At 09:27 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • nasir wrote:

i'ts really a sad day for cricket .Without lara WestIndies team will never go anywhere high but they are in the last three with bangladesh and zimbabwe permanently.

  • 17.
  • At 09:49 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Will Lin wrote:

After 6 weeks, tons of one sided matches, empty stadiums ... we finally had a great match.

Near full house, Gayle back to some form, Vaughan looking fluent, KP making a ton and the game went to the wire.

Okay so Lara got out in the worst possible way
and, being honest, these were two "average" sides.

Still it was a welcome relief compared to so many other matches and have England found an allrounder?

3 wickets & a half century
step forward England's new find ... Vaughan!

  • 18.
  • At 10:08 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

A facile victory in a meaningless game. Hope Vaughan's stellar performances with the bat and ball aren't misrepresented and used to let him continue in the One dayers. He must not play another ODI. Period!

  • 19.
  • At 10:11 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • David Brown wrote:

My hope is that England can fans can remember something of this tournament before throwing themselves into the regular English habit of chanting "we're going to win the world Cup!" that begins 6 months before any sporting tournament begins, and usually 6 months after it became clear to the rest of the world that England aren't up to speed.

More realistic expectations might take some of the pressure off players, and allow them to for once deliver.

  • 20.
  • At 10:55 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

If only we'd played like this agianst South Africa we could have reached the semis and then you never know we could have repeated our late charge from the CB series and won the world cup. Then again would England have deserved to win the world cup playing so poorly earlier in the tournement?

  • 21.
  • At 11:14 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Fiona wrote:

I see with a meaningless win after weeks of dross , English fans have returned to the familiar "cloud-cuckoo land" of "we're soon going to be world no.1" "On our day were as good as anyone", and we "love tryers" from Rob Whittle.

All it takes is for the teams ranked 1 to 6 to drop dead and we'll be there! Better hurry though, before Ireland overtake us!

  • 22.
  • At 11:24 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Oakhamite wrote:

Does anyone agree with me that the BBC late night TV programme was pathetic. They showed some WI 4's, a brilliant catch, and some England fours, then the final shot. Before and after that it was pure rubbish waffle. There was absolutely no sense of occasion or of what must have been a wonderful nailbiting match. Shame on you.

  • 23.
  • At 11:45 AM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Imran Hanif wrote:

I just wanted to say I am pleased that our boys are coming home on a thrilling win. Its times like this when you see old legends bowing out the new upcoming superstars spring up. I have firm Beleive in my ability as a world class batsman. I'm 21 and just finshing off my Degree in Medicine. Very shortly i will make myslef available to trial for ENGLAND, and prove to the world why i am proud of being English.
Damn sure i will strengthen that middle order!

  • 24.
  • At 12:02 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • andrew croy wrote:

What a bunch of negative comments, were any of you there? was anyone in the stands and felt the atmosphere...... the drums the trumpets the conchs.the deafening roars and vibration of the building when a wicket fell or a boundry scored. the excitement up to the very last ball...meaning less? get a life. This was entertainment at the highest level. this is how cricket was meant to be played.

  • 25.
  • At 12:23 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • rod wrote:

what a load garbage....

a pointless game with no meaning nor relevance to the world cup

too little too late

sack them all i say, and do you think the australians, kiwis, saffas and sri lankans really care ?

pathetic losers that's how they see it, and i agree

i am embarrassed to be a supporter but more disappointed in the drivel posted on the blogs about "good to end onb a high note" and "at least we went out with a win"

we lost guys we didnt make it to the semi finals and we are NOT competitive.

utter garbage

  • 26.
  • At 12:44 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • keith stirrup wrote:

next to go -------vaughan, not fit
ditto----------- flintoff, done nothing
ditto-------- nixon' good but to old
in fact let,s start from scratch what we need is fresh blood,pietersen as captain'then tallent there's plenty out there.

  • 27.
  • At 12:49 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • steve baker wrote:

I can't believe how you lift them so high and drop them down so low. It's a wonderful result, great for Dunc and English cricket but we could have won any of the last few games.

Now with a one ball, one wicket win, you praise them out of this world. "Vaughan demonstrated some wonderfully uncomplicated stroke-making... Paul Nixon... nudging, sweeping and managing England into position before an assured World Cup debut from Stuart Broad finished matters."

Well written by people who were questioning England only days before. Well done England. If only for silencing some critics.

P.S. Do you really think they went out to play in Lara's final match thinking they couldn't win?

Steve Baker

  • 28.
  • At 01:13 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Markymark wrote:

I really can't believe the vitriol aimed at Flintoff. He has clearly been England's best one day bowler throughout the World Cup Series, and his batting has been where the fatigue of a long hard winter has been shown. The guy has been a monument for English cricket over the last few years. Personally I would rest Flintoff for the test series against the West Indies, because he needs a break, but he is fundamental to the progress of English cricket over the nxt few years.

Squad for the first test; Vaughan (capt), Strauss, Bell, Pieterson, Collingwood, Joyce, Bopara, Prior, Plunkett, Panesar, Harmison, Hoggard, Dalrymple.

Tresco needs time, but maybe play him in the one day series this summer.

They key lesson of yesterday is that Australia may be the best and most exciting team in the world, but that does not necessarily make for great entertainment for casual cricket fans like me.

Yesterday's game was meaningless in the context of the competition, but hugely exciting for viewers and listeners. At various stages the game seemed out of reach of one or other of the teams, but when that penultimate ball was bowled, either could still have won it.

It has taken two average teams, playing a game in which neither has anything to play for, to remind us of what it really means to watch sport.

What a shame.

  • 30.
  • At 02:01 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • geneva lynn wrote:

Despite many pros & cons sorrounding last 03 weeks at world cup, still England has every right to enjoy the tremendous win vs. WI, & to compensate the similar win they missed in front of ruthless SL bowling attack, few days back.Most remarkably Mr. Decent, Michel Vaughan displayed a true batsmanship.Englishmen keep it up..we need you at the apex of world cricket with disciplined gentlemen behaviour... good luck to English team & to Michel

  • 31.
  • At 02:31 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Peter, Audierne wrote:

Great - exciting game - England were involved in two so were good for the tournament. Can't think of many other positive things to say about the team though, after all village cricket is entertaining too. Oh yes,

Nixon - good stuff

KP - excellent - nearly there, now. If he had managed to carry his bat to the end it would have done him and the fans a lot of good, but I hope he will take stock and become even better.

Shame losing out to SL as England would be in semi's now if they had won.

I'm struggling now, as I don't think England have been that good an ODI side. MV played well in one game, was a relevation actually, though not when the chips were down as one comment says here, but after they had all gone. Shame.

Need to build a new ODI team with KP batting, Nixon behind stumps and Fred bowling. Broad looks like he has what it takes, but after one game..... I'm sure there must be others but isn't that what selectors are for?

Why let the coach go? Why not Manager, Slectors, Captain? Whatever, must be careful not to throw the baby (Test Cricket) out with the bath-water, and place good performances in games like this in context.

  • 32.
  • At 02:39 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • philmetcalf wrote:

again pieterson did not see the job finished got out to a rank bad shot

  • 33.
  • At 03:00 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Stev666 wrote:

Colin crofts recent article on the state of the WI team and management was very interesting, and perhaps one or two parallels could be drawn with Englands current state also.

check out Crofts column if you havent already a good read, and a pretty good assesment I thought.

Dont really agree with Boparas promotion up the order to three, looked a little out of his depth to me. Its all very well coming in at six or seven in the last ten overs, and thrashing a decent 30 odd when there is less pressure, but top order batting at the start of an innings is something else entirely, and it came as no surprise to me to see him struggle a bit. Maybe in time he will adapt to the role, still being a young player and all, so perhaps a few more knocks at three might help to at least give a proper assesment of the guy. But for me it was more an act of desperation than anything else, And Dalrymples inclusion is sheer farce, no disrespect to the player but he looks well out of his class at this level.

I hope that this recent display wont be abused by the English management, they would be very niave to think that one decent game can gloss over what a poor showing this has been. And for me fundamental changes in back room staff and a fresh mental approach needs to be taken if we are to come good in a one day sense. People like Mr Morgan and Mr Graveny need to take a long look at themselves and perhaps question whether their continued involvment in the England setup, they seem to take a very anonymous role moving about in the shadows, I would at least like to see them take some of the responsibility and well earned criticism. Morgan selling cricket to sky for me was one of the biggest and most disapointing things to happen to English cricket, they seem to be more interested in finances than actual cricket. Much like the administrators of the WC.

  • 34.
  • At 03:42 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • John Benyon wrote:

We are still too reliant on KP - we need at least another 3 world class players - where are they??

Just a quick note;
Whilst it was great to see England win a match (and I would certainly agree that it must have been fine spectacle of entertainment, going down to the wire like that, for a neutral observer's point of view), even if England had beaten sri Lanka, Sri Lanka would still have had 8 points, England six, and New Zealand and South Africa 8 as well, so England could still not have gone through.

  • 36.
  • At 04:09 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Rick wrote:

In all fairness England achieved exactly what should have been expected of them, a fifth place finish from the fifth ranked team in ODI's
When I actually think about it the expectation built up was based on very little grounding, however it does prove for me that england are only 1-2 players short of being a top 4 team and whats more those players may be already in the team but in the wrong order

  • 37.
  • At 04:28 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Mike Jackson wrote:

If England had worked towards fielding two National teams ,one dedicated to TEST CRICKET and one to ONE DAY INTERNATIONALS,they would not now find themselves outsted from the current World Cup.They need to also develop 20s Cricket to realise the potiential of this form of Cricket.

  • 38.
  • At 07:12 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Laurence wrote:

England did well to win and I agree it was too little too late. Now Duncan Fletcher has done the correct thing and resigned, can David Graveney do the same as well? If we are going to have changes in the England set up, lets make them wholesale and start again!

  • 39.
  • At 07:57 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Goodie wrote:

England are like all other cricket teams; when we have our best players available and on the field we win a lot more. I can't understand why Harmison, Hoggard and particularly Trescothick (I assume he'd have gone but for illness. Imagine this England team with him in it) are unavailable. Does anyone imagine Hayden and McGrath heading home just before the world cup? Since we headed down under in the winter English cricket has been slated by it's own support and punditry. Since Fletcher came to coach England we have consistently won more than we lost, and we have been privileged to have such an excellent coach, I feel ashamed of idiots like Boycott who should know better, and Pringle, who was an embarrassment to any self respecting English cricket fan as a player, has proven himself to be head and shoulders the biggest idiot pundit of them all.
Even Atherton who was a great player without being spectacular, has jumped on the bandwagon. He and his successor Hussain both bemoaned the problem of losing authority because they were not in charge of the one day side, and yet he advocates Vaughan stepping aside on the one day format!
We often use Australia as the benchmark; and so we should. Their captain is captain in all forms of the game, and he is respected as such. Vaughan has been a superb captain and Flintoff a good stand in, but let us stick to one captain. It works for the Aussies.
There is a lot of talent in english cricket. If the test team had been beaten 5-0 with Trescothick, Jones and Vaughan in the team then we'd have absolute cause to worry. A fully fit on form Aussie side is a fearsome unit and it takes the best players on top form to beat them. Losing Warne and McGrath will prove a great leveller in world cricket. England have probably the youngest and most talented squad in international cricket. Most of the current Aussie side will have retired by 2009. South Africa threatened to challenge the Aussies a couple of years ago and lost 5-0 over two series, and they are also a very talented side.
In this world cup, up until now, only one side has come any where close to giving the Aussies a game, who? England.

  • 40.
  • At 08:12 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Sri T wrote:

Though the match was irrelevant in the context of the world cup still i have to say it was an excellent performance from Eng.'s batsmen especially Vaughn and Nixon(Pietersen is by default expected to bat the way he did). Vaughn really pulled off a blinder. Never thought he can bat with such authority. Hope this performance revives his one-day career and he continues to bat freely the way he did. Nixon and Bopara are the finds of the tournament for England.

  • 41.
  • At 09:12 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • sudip bhaduri wrote:

Well Geoff Boycott was spot on- out of the champions trophy quickly, lose the Ashes badly and eliminated from the world cup- knew this would happen after the squads were picked- Giles? Geraint Jones? Plunkett hardly played in Australia and Trescothick's depression totally mismanaged by the so called medical experts who were wrong again( recall Ashes down under 2003!) Fletcher did his time, resurrected the Test team and scraped a win against Oz 2-1( and it was scraped NOT a convincing win)- and why oh why OBEs and open top bus stuff? ridiculous--- anyway i would have chosen Tom Moody as i feel Peter Moores could be the next Steve McLaren..... MY TEST TEAM WOULD BE_: STRAUSS( capt if Vaughan unfit) VAUGHAN/COOK, BELL, PIETERSEN, COLLINGWOOD, FLINTOFF( only if he gets form back with county!),DAVIES or FOSTER,S P JONES HOGGARD , BROAD, PANESAR-- One day team-- STRAUSS, BENING, BELL, PIETERSEN FLINTOFF, COLLINGWOOD, BOPARA, FOSTER,BROAD,S P JONES,HARMISON ( to get his form back !)

  • 42.
  • At 09:41 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Lloyd wrote:

An exciting game, but it was between two poor teams. Hopefully it doesn't mask what a disastrous world cup it was for England. It smacked of the typical football scenrio when a newly relegated club, when the next meaningless game.

Sure England may have finshed 5th, but Pakistan and India being knocked out before the super 8's (who'd have bet England would have beaten either?), and South Africa failing against Bangladesh presented England with a golden opportunity to get to the semis.

Vaughan's innings yesterday changes nothing, he should be dropped for future ODIs and defintely 20/20. He couldn't produce the same when it mattered most, and his record suggested he can't. He should concentrate on test cricket.

Yet again Flintoft batted at 6 and failed, he should be batting that high.

My Marks for World Cup:-
Vaughan 3 - simply annoucing his fitness shouldn't have been the only criteria for his selection for the WC. Poor with bat and in the field and his captaincy not all it's cracked up to be.
Joyce 3 - perhaps unlucky to be dropped when his record was little\no worse than Vaughan. That said never looked comfortable
Bell 4 - two decent knocks (SL & Aust) but otherwise poor
Pieterson 8 - KP was always let down by the top 3, and never able to come into a comfortable position with 2 down and a decent run rate. Nevertheless England's best batsmen by far though failed like everyone else against SA.
Collingwood 7 - Excellent effort as usual, and incredible fielding. Sadly failed in the big games SL & Australia.
Strauss 4 - Should have been in from the start, never had a chance warm up games and came in cold.
Flintoft 7 - England's best bowler, but simply dreadful with the bat. Looks like he's lost motivation knowing he'll never be capt again.
Nixon 7 - made the most of his limited talent. The reverse sweep 6 of Murali one of the stand points.
Bopara 7 - promising debut, certainly should be further up the innings
Mahmood 5 - Has the talent, and variety but needs to find some consistancy.
Anderson 6 - Modest success with the new ball
Panesar 5 - with his limited ODI experience did OK, but plenty to work with
Plunkett 4 - Threatened with the new ball but expensive like Mahmood

Darlymple, Broad, Lewis - not seen enough to warrant any marks.

Fletcher 3 - inflexible One Day plans, bad team selection and must share the blame for team's poor discipline and team spirit.

Fletcher had to go, a very good test record prior to the Ashes thumping, but awful ODI record.
Time will tell whether Moore is a good choice for the new coach, though his selection seems too expedient, why couldn't we have waited until the world cup finished? Nevertheless he should be given support.

  • 43.
  • At 10:56 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • Rick wrote:

Thats a fair point Lloyd that Pakistan and India both went before the super 8's, but before you assume england wouldn't have beaten them, just remember why they went home before the super 8's.
Also look who qualified for the Semi's. The Aussies were always going to be there, New Zealand are on fire form wise, South Africa are no 1 in the world and Sri Lanka is the only team England could really displace for me, and they just did enough against england to keep them away

  • 44.
  • At 12:02 AM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • JoeySomething wrote:

Goodie - does your post have a point to it? You seem to be openly criticising former Test players (including three former Test captains) without coming out with anything intelligent yourself. Atherton was never in control because of the structure of the TCCB at the time. Hussain resigned the one-day captaincy after the Zimbabwe fiasco. Both knew what they had to work with here - and they are saying Vaughan should step aside because it is time for a clean break, and he is not suited to playing one-day cricket (as Atherton and arguably Hussain were not either). Geoff Boycott - whilst being one of the most outspoken people in cricket - talks sense, and he's right with what he says.

All in all, I am well pleased we won yesterday. It was a challenging target, that we pulled off despite our middle order doing everything it could to lose the match. Great to see Vaughan play his shots for a change, and KP, no matter what anyone says about his attitude, has been outstanding throughout the tournament. Demanding wholesale change is both negative and pointless - most of these players are better than anyone else in the country, when at the top of their game. Yes, Richard Montgomerie might be playing well now (and now Moores is head coach, the Sussex opener might be in with a shot!), but ask yourself one simple question; Montgomerie or Strauss? Bearing in mind Strauss hit two hundreds in the summer of 2005...

Most of this team's failings appear to be psychologically related. Get their heads straight (and maybe Saj's line) and they'll be a decent side.

  • 45.
  • At 12:54 AM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • sparky wrote:

England gave a performance that NOT ONLY Fletcher should be proud of - but one that ALL england fans can be openly proud of.
Not many teams have reached the 300 mark in the World Cup and i know that i really am proud of England1
All deserved credit to KP and Nixon who were both outstanding but it was the whole team that made it work including the low scorers.

  • 46.
  • At 02:36 AM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

I thought this was a great game, with England and Windies at last providing entertainment in this moribund World Cup. The atmosphere was good, lots of noise and exhuberance from an appreciative crowd. It's typical of this competition, stifled by petty regulations from the Jobsworths of the ICC, that both teams were fined for slow over-rates in the best match so far! Please can we be spared Derek Pringle on the BBC, his mean-spirited comments spoiled an otherwise excellent coverage. There is little point moaning about England's alleged poor performance; they did better than India, Pakistan, or West Indies. No small achievement for a very inexperienced side reputed to be weak at ODIs.

  • 47.
  • At 03:36 AM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • craig wrote:

hey rick. australia knowcked south africa off that no1 perch a few weeks ago now. so we can no longer call them no1. and goodie saying how england lost to aus by the least margin of the cup so far (still a comprehensive win for aus) as though its something that england can look back on. england lost by the least of margins because they always play damge control and they will never win playing boring cricket. SA lost by 83 because they played attacking cricket, the only way to beat the best sides in the world. england cannot disguise small losses for aus would have been for more worried in the SA game than the england.

  • 48.
  • At 03:37 AM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • Cyril Horsey wrote:

I hope the England selectors get rid of Vaughan and Bell as openers, their slow starts cost England a few games as far as I am concerned, I was totally frusrated watching them let the ball go by followed by Vaughans classic poses, defensive of course. They should watch the Aussie openers.
I am a Pom and proud of it but the world cup performances hurt. I feel sorry for all the supporters who paid good money to watch this rubbish, a few players excepted.

  • 49.
  • At 06:52 AM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • cricket mad wrote:

I know that we bowled poorly at the start but isnt a good point to make that both teams got to the 100 mark in 15 overs. Goes to show how much of a batting pitch the kensington oval is!
All it had to do with was some inexperienced bowlers on both sides facing some of the worlds best bowlers. Broad v Lara, Plunkett v Gayle.
Taylor v Vaughan, Taylor v Piertersen.

On the other hand I agree that england neede that performance last week. I think Fletcher should have announced retirment before the SA game, because had we played the same way we did agaisnt WI, I reckon the SA result would have been much, much different...

  • 50.
  • At 08:39 AM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • sridhar wrote:

yes if England had only learnt from Australia,Southa Africa and New Zealand then they would have realised the need for momentum at the top.While Vaughan played well for once as we all know he can do the , the top three were playing test cricket.Australia is playing twenty twenty at the top of the order and the results are there for all to see.I still think Vaughan should not be in the one day team.He is a wonderful test player or can be.But his fitness and form have been under scrutiny for so long that if England are serious about their one day game, they must take a hard decision. Sridhar

  • 51.
  • At 09:11 AM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • Nesan wrote:

We salute, dear LARA. We are fortunate enough to see such a wonderful player in our era probably after little master and if not Bradman. Its sad that the WI players have not given him the due support as team members during his later part of his career.

If he is in AUST or NZ team, he would have come parrellel to DON's feats. Now, there is not a single player now who can match his tecnics.

HATS over LARA!, we adore you.

  • 52.
  • At 11:10 AM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • simonh wrote:

A quick glance at the batting averages for last season in informative ......

How many players in the top 20/30 qualify to play for England?

  • 53.
  • At 12:46 PM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • Waynedog wrote:

Why do english fans settle for mediocrite? If this was an Australian, or South African forum fans would be calling for the heads of all of the players. As a culture you are not willing to push yourself and challenge yourself, so why would your sporting teams want to do any different. They have been humiliated by SA, and AUS, only due to the attitude the team takes on the field. English cricket is in a dire situation - no doubt!!

  • 54.
  • At 02:18 PM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • Tony wrote:

The article is spot on. It's instructive that England were only brave enough to show some aggression when the result didn't really count. I agree with those who have lauded it as an entertaining game, it certainly was. Compare it with England's go-slow tactics against South Africa. They had a chance to steal a semi-final spot which they certainly didn't deserve. They needed to back themselves and come out all guns blazing. Instead they poked about and put in a pathetic effort.
Performance under pressure is what matters. I for one am keenly interested to see how South Africa cope with pressure on Wednesday. Australia has been masterfully playing mind games with them at every opportunity. Perhaps the Proteas will show that all out attack is the only way to beat the best?

  • 55.
  • At 07:27 PM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

They have been a bit unfair on Fletcher because considering what England were like before Fletcher got the job people shouldn't say he didn't improve the team slightly.

Most of the team don't really know how to play cricket at times so maybe they should focus on getting players who can actually make a difference instead of picking ones who just prat about on the pitch.

  • 56.
  • At 03:02 PM on 24 Apr 2007,
  • Richard Hudson wrote:

Lets not have any more talk of Michael Vaughan's resignation, while they bandy every name within & out of the team for his replacement, the fact remains there is no one else capable, or with Vaughans cricket brain or presence, to take his place. As for those that dont perform send them back to county to prove there worth there even if that includes the super stars"you are only as good as your last job"

  • 57.
  • At 05:13 PM on 24 Apr 2007,
  • third man wrote:

England should have read Michael Clarke's excellent article on picking up quick singles before the SA game!!

Such a vital part of the game, especially in one-dayers, but a basic skill which England seem to lack. Yet another reason for a change of leadership.

  • 58.
  • At 01:49 AM on 25 Apr 2007,
  • andy wrote:

World cup success....

OK, England were dismal and uninsipring to watch. But we finished we had a ODI ranking of 7th prior to the tournament and finished 5th. Should we be congratulating theam on performing above their ranking? Is this a successful tournament? Only the rugby team have achieved a better world cup result in the last 15 years.

(ducks for cover)

  • 59.
  • At 11:19 AM on 29 Apr 2007,
  • Robbie Mann wrote:

I believe that england should come out onto the pitch with hopes to gain the comfort and support from most of the england fans that were totally unconvinced from the world cup 2007 games. The only players that I believe that should not be in squad is Mahmood due to his lack of good performances, his only key bowling technique is his bouncer that can fool any batsmen, even the likes of mathew hayden! I think if he goes back to county cricket for a few weeks and gets a good set of performances then he should be released upon the team for the greater development of his skills. The issue of Michael Vaughen was elaborated to an extent that I was disagreeing with the likes of Nasser Hussain and Ian Botham about letting him go back to smaller games and consequently dropping him. He is a great player and I believe his performances were just due to his lack of games before the world cup in the west indies due to his injury. He should of though t about his form and whether he is aplicable to bat along side the top order with any quality runs on the scorecard, obviously this did not work out and he was blamed entirly! But I do believe he is a major part to Peter Moores's success against the West Indies this summer due to his key captaincy role amongst the players. Good Luck England you have my utter support whatever happend (try not fall of a pedalo again Freddie, you silly lad)
Robbie Mann, 16

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