Some have been calling it the worst ever performance by an England team at a World Cup. Some others might not go that far, but the word ‘disaster’ seems apt.
The post-mortem has already begun into the string of dire performances that led to England’s departure, with several pundits and ex-players crying out for a ‘blank slate’ to be drawn in English cricket, if there is to be any chance of success in the future; following England’s third group-stage departure in the last five World Cups.
The entertaining-yet-humbling 15-run defeat against Bangladesh will tell you all you need to know. Bangladesh went into that game with a sense that they wanted to win more than England, and that translated with their deserved victory.
Peter Moores and Paul Downton have been on the end of stinging criticism regarding their positions within English cricket, as well as fending off a campaign spear-headed by serial critic Piers Morgan calling for the return of ousted batsman Kevin Pietersen, after he was controversially sacked from the national side last year.
Captain Eoin Morgan has said he has “no regrets” about England’s poor run in the competition, and he remains defiant about the success of the coaching staff, shifting the blame onto his players: “The personnel we have are the right personnel. We haven’t clicked. We haven’t had guys in form.”
As for Morgan’s future as captain, he admitted that the decision is out of his hands, having taken over from Alastair Cook in December, with limited success on the field.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan has not held back in his views surrounding the team either, calling England a “punch bag”, and fellow pundit Jonathan Agnew calls for the need to build the team for the 2019 World Cup around promising players such as Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali and James Taylor.
So, what is the answer then? You could argue that further personnel changes within the ECB and the national team setup would bring a long-term benefit, but having an inner stability may also have its merits.
Would Kevin Pietersen’s presence galvanise the team? He is still arguably England’s best player, but the ‘baggage’ that would go with another reinstatement into the team could be too much to handle, and at 34, his time left in the national setup is limited.
Whatever does happen in the near future, it’s likely to ruffle a few feathers in the ECB…