England here one day, gone the next

"IT'S A surprise we've been knocked out so early." That was England captain Eoin Morgan's view when asked what went wrong with the latest World Cup campaign that effectively ended with the 15-run loss to Bangladesh in Adelaide.

It was a long way from the view shared by most other cricket fans outside England.

England was clearly in trouble from the moment it turned back to Peter Moores to coach after Andy Flower stepped down following the disastrous Ashes tour of Australia in 2013-14.

With Moores in charge, arguably the country's best batsman, Kevin Pietersen, was never going to earn a recall, and neither has it seemed were a new generation of power batsmen, such as Luke Wright, Ben Stokes and Jason Roy.

Hard-hitting all-rounder Ravi Bopara was chosen in the 15-man squad, as was top-order batsman Alex Hales, but Bopara is yet to play a game in the tournament and Hales was stunningly left out for Gary Ballance, who made scores of 10, 10, 10 and 6 in the first four games.

Questions were raised about the bowling attack, led by veterans James Anderson and Stuart Broad, with critics arguing their best days were well behind hem.

That turned out to be the case, Anderson so far taking 4-227 in his five games, and Broad contributing 3-236.

The months leading up to Cup produced precious little change, Moores and England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton deciding captain Alastair Cook had to go after overseeing a disastrous tour of Sri Lanka that resulted in a 5-2 loss to the home side.

Cook was replaced by Eoin Morgan in December, another curious decision considering the Irish-born batsman was the only player in the England team in worse form than Cook. Morgan made 90 runs in seven innings on the tour of Sri Lanka, and has carried that form on since taking charge of the team, averaging just 18 during the World Cup.

Not surprisingly, English commentators and former players now want action, arguing it is clear the one-day team and game plan is still living in a bygone era.

Downton acknowledged the ECB would "review everything when we get back", but also said, "I've got full faith in Peter Moores. He will stay."

Others were less supportive, former captain Andrew Strauss saying, "The truth is we are not good enough.

"From one to 11, we haven't got the players who can compete with the top teams. We couldn't compete with Bangladesh and we certainly can't compete with Australia and South Africa.

"We have been poor for 20 years and we will be poor for another 20 years unless we change the way we play our domestic one-day cricket."

Whether any positive change will come before this year's Ashes series in England is highly unlikely.

India, meanwhile, made it five wins from five World Cup games by trouncing Ireland in Hamilton yesterday. The reigning champions reeled in their target of 260 with eight wickets and 13 overs to spare.


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