British press slams `shamed` cricketers after Irish loss
London: England`s "shamed" cricketers came in for a slogging in the British press on Thursday after they crashed to a humiliating defeat against minnows Ireland in their World Cup match in Bangalore.
"England shamed by O`Brien," the tabloid Sun said in its headline.
"England were left looking like a pub side as Kevin O`Brien smashed the fastest ever World Cup century," the paper claimed.
England looked to be cruising in yesterday`s Group B match after accumulating 327 in their innings and reducing Ireland to 111/5. At this point, odds of an Ireland win were as long as 400-1.
However, pink-haired all-rounder O`Brien, who had never reached fifty in his nine previous World Cup innings, blasted a scintillating century to turn the match on its head.
The Telegraph`s editorial attempted to put the shock three-wicket defeat into context.
"Over the years, England`s national sports teams have been on the wrong end of some infamous defeats," it said.
"Until yesterday, America`s 1-0 victory in the football World Cup of 1950 was probably the most notorious. But the extraordinary triumph of Ireland`s cricketers in their World Cup group match in Bangalore must rank alongside any sporting upset of yore."
Richard Hobson, writing in The Times, lauded the swashbuckling batsman`s unusual style.
"With dyed pink hair, Kevin O`Brien looked more like the frontman in a punk rock band than a cricketer yesterday and there was a strong element of punk about the innings that has left England clinging to their World Cup place," Hobson wrote.
"Bold and brash, raw and uninhibited, it was the equivalent of a snarling, two-fingered salute to the mainstream," he added.
The Telegraph`s Simon Briggs highlighted O`Brien`s unorthodox journey from club cricketer for the Papplewick and Railway Union teams to World Cup matchwinner.
"If it is a long way from Papplewick and Railway Union to the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, the shift from club cricket to the World Cup must be bigger still.”
"But on the evidence of this insouciant innings, no one has told Kevin O`Brien, England`s demolition man," Briggs added.
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew predicted England would find it hard to regroup after the breathtaking defeat.
"We`ve had a week of superlatives in Bangalore – the greatest matches, the greatest centuries in England`s game against India, but clearly as a one-day innings Kevin O`Brien`s magnificent 113 from 63 balls is up there with the best of them.”
"England will be devastated by this result, (they) look like a team that will not go any further than the quarter-finals," Agnew said.
The Guardian`s Kevin Mitchell echoed Agnew`s concerns.
"Nobody in the aftermath on Wednesday seemed able to put a name to the malaise," Mitchell said.
"It was not tiredness... or was it a lack of diligence on the practice field, said those close to the action. However, through the prism of television at home, the image was clear enough in their body language."