Why have England been inconsistent this cricket world cup?

Things would have been much simpler for England had they beaten BangladeshWhat can we make of England’s performance in the World Cup so far? They labored to beat Netherlands, tied with India, lost to Ireland, came from behind to defeat South Africa and went down to Bangladesh in yet another thriller on Friday. All one concludes is that the Englishmen have been consistently inconsistent. And such performances will not take them too far in the tournament. As it is, they will now have to beat West Indies and hope Bangladesh lose one of their games to ensure the qualification into the quarter finals. In short, they find themselves in a highly precarious situation and will have to play out of their skins from here on.

Against Bangladesh, England flattered to deceive with both the bat and ball, which eventually ended in another shocking defeat for the battered Englishmen. After Shakib Al Hasan won the toss and surprisingly asked Andrew Strauss’ men to take first strike, England had a great chance to bat Bangladesh out of the game. But, they never looked in command during their innings.

They cannot be faulted for adopting a cautious approach at the start. But, the problem was that no one kicked off after getting their eye in. Strauss, Matthew Prior and Ravi Bopara all got into double figures, but no one went on to make a substantial contribution. The only partnership of note was between Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan, who has replaced the injured Kevin Pietersen. Trott and Morgan batted with a lot of sense and purpose and looked on course to reviving the England innings. Unfortunately for the batting unit, both fell just when it seemed that the innings was on the upswing. At least one of the two needed to carry on. Instead, England lost the momentum and it was all downhill for them from their onwards. In hindsight, it was an utterly disappointing batting effort.

For England to make a comeback from there, they needed to put in an extremely disciplined and hard-hitting effort. But, the Bangladesh openers had totally different plans. Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes came out all guns blazing as Bangladesh looked set to pull off yet another upset. Until the pair was at the crease, England looked down and out for the count. But, England fought back well courtesy of some disciplined bowling and fielding and an excellent spell by Ajmal Shahzad. The quickie’s three-wicket burst brought them right back into the game, and with Graeme Swann also supporting him ably, England seemed in firm control of the game. But, when it’s England expect the unexpected.

Shifting focus to England, all they can do now is play out of their skins and beat the West Indies. They need to also ensure that they improve their run-rate as much as possible in case that comes into the equation. Most importantly though, they need to get their mindset right. Somebody needs to come up with something magical or inspirational to get England’s thinking back on track. After all, beating West Indies will not be an easy task for them considering that the Caribbeans managed to crush the Irishmen, who had successfully chased down a mammoth England total and had rewritten history.

A lot needs to go right for England in the game against the West Indies. Also, they need some degree of luck to boost their confidence, which has taken a definite battering. Strauss and Coach Andy Flower need to put on their thinking caps on and assess the areas where England can show marked improvements. After all, they cannot afford any mistakes against the West Indies else it would be all over for England. In short, it’s time for the think-tank to head to the drawing table and start from scratch all over again.

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