Following their loss to Bangladesh, England have been knocked out of the ICC World Cup 2015, failing to make it to the quarter-finals. While they were never seen as favourites to win the event, even the most pessimistic of England bashers would not have predicted such a disastrous outcome for England. They will be the only side from the top eight to not feature in the quarter-finals. And while that is a massive setback for England cricket, one must say that the English brought it upon themselves, in a way. Their campaign was chaotic right from the time it kicked off, even before, given the last-minute changes in the team, significantly their leadership.
While it is a fact that Alastair Cook was struggling as both leader and batsman in one-day cricket, the ECB made a big mistake by dumping him just one series before the World Cup. It was a massive decision, and perhaps an influential one in the context of their performance as Eoin Morgan did not get enough time to work his way into Cook's shoes. The decision to drop Cook was the right one, but it came a bit too late, when England had already gotten used to his style of leadership. Morgan himself looked out of place as leader, an indication that he wasn't prepared for taking over the mantle. His struggles with the bat reflected the same as he looked a pale shadow of his real self.
On the field, England were let down big time by their senior players. James Anderson may be a great Test player, but he definitely has a mental block when it comes to playing in the World Cup. He went into the tournament averaging 40 with the ball over three World Cups, and fared even worse this time. Against the top nations, he was never in his elements, and thus England could never allow the pressure to build. Something similar can be said of Stuart Broad. If you take away his four-for, in the game against South Africa during the 2011 edition, he has been a massive World Cup flop. Broad did precious little to change things around this time. In spite of his hat-trick, Steven Finn was a massive disappointment.
England's experienced batsmen also let the side down. Bell got a couple of good scores, but the big knocks needed from him were missing. His partner Moeen Ali came up with a hundred against Scotland, but he had nothing to show against the bigger sides, raising question marks over his batting ability. England tried Gary Ballance at number three, but he was a major failure, and having a non-performing batsman at number three hurt England's chances even further. As mentioned earlier, Morgan struggled to score runs, and added to his duck-making spree. They were uncertain about their number six as well, and James Taylor clearly looked out of place lower down the order. Their batting as a whole was disastrous.
England were also hurt by the fact that they refused to take pro-active decisions. It was clear very early in the tournament that Ballance wasn't the right choice for the number three position, yet England held back Alex Hales till the Bangladesh game, by which time it was too late. Steven Finn too continued to find a place in the eleven in spite of being expensive repeatedly. Like Hales, Chris Jordan too got a chance all too late in the tournament. Ravi Bopara may not have been in form going into the event, but considering his experience, there was no reason for the team think-tank not to try him out. From selection to match preparedness, England drew a blank in all facets.
--By A Cricket Analyst