World Cup exit shines light on England's one-day woes
"We thought 275 was chaseable. We shall have to look at the data."
Sydney: "We thought 275 was chaseable. We shall have to look at the data."
With those words, uttered following a defeat by Bangladesh in Adelaide on Monday that knocked England out of the World Cup, Peter Moores appeared to write his own epitaph for his second spell as coach of the national side.
It did not require great statistical analysis to understand why England had gone down by 15 runs to Bangladesh -- long regarded as the whipping boys of international cricket but now victorious over England at two successive World Cups.
The simple truth is England were yet again out-batted and out-bowled.
But Moores's words appeared emblematic of an inflexible England set-up, where too many players were unable to think on their feet.
How the tournament was set-up, with four teams from each of the two pools of seven going through to the quarter-finals, ought to have made it all but impossible for a leading team to fail to reach the last eight.
"We would have to have an absolute stinker not to make the quarter-finals," said England paceman Stuart Broad back in January.
And that is what England had.
Monday's loss followed crushing defeats by Australia (111 runs), New Zealand (eight wickets) and Sri Lanka (nine wickets) and meant there was no way England could go through to the knockout phase.
Their only win of the tournament so far has been against Scotland, a non-Test side.
Now England, one of the world's wealthiest cricket nations, will head into Friday's final 'dead' pool game against Afghanistan -- who've also beaten the Scots -- with exactly the same number of points as a team who mainly learnt how to play cricket in refugee camps.
- 'Wrong team' -
Yet England's latest World Cup exit -- far worse than the previous nadir of 1999 when the then hosts crashed out in the first round on net run-rate even before the tournament theme song had been released -- was no great surprise.
"Eng had the wrong team, the wrong style of play & everyone could see it, tonight's result not a shock," tweeted Australia great Shane Warne and it was hard to disagree, with their inherently cautious approach in marked contrast to that of leading one-day teams.
Even though it pioneered the staging of one-day and
Twenty20 games on a professional basis, there has long been a snobbery about the limited overs format in England, with many cricket lovers insisting it's not the real deal.
Yet there need not be a contradiction between Test and one-day success -- Australia had plenty of both while winning three consecutive World Cups from 1999-2007.
Although England have never won the World Cup, they did appear in three finals between 1975 to 1992.
But England have been trying to play catch-up in one-day cricket ever since being on the receiving end of opener Sanath Jayasuriya's 82 off 67 balls in a quarter-final loss to Sri Lanka at the 1996 World Cup.
The 1990s and early 2000s also saw England well-beaten in several successive Ashes series by Australia.
That led to a renewed focus by officials on Tests with the impression given that ODIs were little more than money-spinners.
"This is not just about this tournament," said under-fire England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton on Monday.
"It goes back to a domestic structure, and putting an emphasis in this country more on Test cricket than one-day cricket and that has to change," added the former England wicketkeeper, instrumental in the decision to recall Moores and effectively exile star batsman Kevin Pietersen last year following England's 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia
England, however, didn't make the most of what resources they had after a warm-up tour of Sri Lanka generated further problems when in a major U-turn, they dropped Test skipper Alastair Cook and brought in Eoin Morgan as captain in his place.
It made little difference, with Morgan's nought against Bangladesh his fifth duck in nine innings.
Alex Hales, a dynamic opening batsman of the kind employed by many top one-day sides, didn't play at the World Cup until the Bangladesh game -- and then as as a number three.
Meanwhile England's most experienced bowlers, Broad and James Anderson, were their most expensive with averages of 78.66 and 56.75 respectively and defenceless when the ball wasn't swinging.
The next World Cup, in 2019, is in England but 'home advantage' may count for even less than it did in 1999 unless Monday's events shame the side into a new approach.