Cricket World Cup: Mike Atherton says England must make changes

Cricket World Cup 2015: England's defeat by Sri Lanka in numbers

England must change their line-up if they are to turn their World Cup form around, says ex-captain Mike Atherton.

Eoin Morgan's side have lost heavily to Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, while only beating Scotland.

Atherton, who led England at the 1996 World Cup, wrote in the Times:external-link "As England's World Cup hopes hang by a thread, doing nothing is not an option.

"Alex Hales must be given a go at the top of the order alongside Moeen Ali, with Ian Bell moving to first drop."

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England now have a week's break before their next game, against Bangladesh in Adelaide on Monday, 9 March.

With their bowlers also having suffered at the hands of Sri Lanka's batsmen in Sunday's nine-wicket defeat in Wellington when they failed to defend a total in excess of 300, Atherton feels that department may need to make changes as well.

He added: "James Anderson looks a shadow of his potent self, unable to swing the white Kookaburra as others have done. This looks, at the moment, like a one-day tournament too far for him.

"Not that Stuart Broad is any more incisive: between them in almost 60 overs they have taken just four wickets at 92 runs apiece.

"For all that Steven Finn has taken more wickets than either Broad or Anderson, he looks very vulnerable. On a quick pitch, he is vulnerable to Chris Jordan; if Adelaide is slow, then James Tredwell will come into the equation.

"It is hard to expect too much of Hales given his lack of cricket, and lack of experience, but what have England to lose except face? He ought to have been playing for a year or two by now."

Listen to highlights from Test Match Special's and 5 live Sport's 2015 World Cup coverage.

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