British media blames Eng WC exit on tiring int`l schedule

Updated: Mar 27, 2011, 16:14 PM IST

London: "Donkeys on their last legs plod home" -- read a headline in the British media as it blamed hectic scheduling for the cricket team`s quarterfinal exit from the World Cup and called for skipper Andrew Strauss` ouster.

The injury-ravaged England -- which lost key players such as Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad in the middle of the event --were handed a humiliating 10-wicket defeat by Sri Lanka in the quarterfinals last night.

"This was a big game, but if they were unable to draw on hitherto admirable reserves of never-say-die spirit, it was largely because most of them were (mentally at any rate) on their last legs already," the `Sunday Times` said.

England have been on the road for almost six months now and besides injuries, the team lost all-rounder Michael Yardy to depression during the World Cup.

`The Observer` said the English looked "careworn" during the mega-event during which they endured a roller-coaster league campaign -- beating South Africa, tying against India while losing to minnows Ireland and Bangladesh.

The newspaper said the World Cup ouster "offers Strauss an exit strategy but there is no obvious replacement."

The `Sunday Telegraph` also called for Strauss` removal, saying Alastair Cook should replace him.

"England have lost captains after the last three World Cups (Alec Stewart in 1999, Nasser Hussain in 2003 and Michael Vaughan in 2007) and it would make sense now if Andrew Strauss were to step down as one-day skipper. It is a natural staging post," he wrote.

The newspaper came down heavily on the England and Wales Cricket Board for making, what it called, tiring schedules meant just to mint money.

"Simply for money. Simply to fill the coffers of Cricket Australia, and then those of the England and Wales Cricket Board in return," he wrote.

However, there was some support for Strauss with former all-rounder Andrew Flintoff saying he should be persisted with.

"Andrew Strauss is the right man for the job," he wrote in the `News of the World`.

"It`s all very well former players jumping on the bandwagon and having a go at the current crop but the fact is we`ve been a poor one-day side since 1992. We got to the World Cup final 19 years ago but we have done nothing since and it`s (coach) Andy Flower`s biggest job to fix that."