England leave World Cup in shame – Change has to happen now

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…

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A (Not Very) Brief History of 2013, Before Everyone Else Attempts One…

After the dizzy heights of national pride experienced in 2012, you would be forgiven for thinking that 2013 would be a bit of a let down. Like a hangover, if you will. If we’re honest, things didn’t start too well as it was discovered that Iceland had been feeding us horse instead of beef in their lasagne dishes and the like. Easy mistake to make, obviously, both cows and horses have four legs, and are relatively large, so why not? By that logic, don’t be surprised if you see a Rhino Moussaka pop up as a ready meal some time soon…

The state of affairs didn’t improve when the goings on of some of Britain’s most famous TV faces from the 1970s were found to have involved a large quantity of utterly deplorable child sex offences. I’m sure the world has heard enough of Jimmy Savile’s name over the course of this year, but nothing ruins a reputation more than being a serial sex offender. It’s all well and good when you’re dead, it’s almost like you think you got away with it… but the world will always know now.

While I’m on the subject of certain dodgy individuals in positions of power, the Catholic Church was forced into choosing a new Pope after the bizarre resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in February. Unless I misread somewhere, the job of the Pope is held until you’re dead. A bit like paying taxes or sitting in front of the television waiting for a weather report to be wrong, just so you can write in and complain. (If there’s anyone out there that actually does that, PLEASE don’t bother…)

It seemed that the only good news in Britain came from sport. The British and Irish Lions rugby team actually beat Australia over the course of three matches, and a (currently) British man ACTUALLY won Wimbledon. Even the English cricket team won the Ashes, but then lost it again. We can gloss over that for now…

In other news, a baby that is more powerful than any single one of us (despite the fact that he is barely six months old as I write) was born. It’s not as if you couldn’t have heard about little baby George, because his name was all over the place. The media took it upon themselves to speculate about every last detail, and the sheer boredom that can come with six hours of broadcasting with no real news took its toll on journalists, as well as anyone that would’ve bothered to have sat through the running commentary of poor old Kate’s labour. To any women reading this, imagine if you were going through childbirth and there were copious amounts of cameras outside the hospital trying to predict what was happening at every given moment. Madness.

In the rest of the world, Robert Mugabe “won” the Zimbabwean election, while Kim Jong-Un got his uncle executed in an attempt to prove his worth on the world stage. Vladimir Putin was caught on camera topless for no apparent reason yet again, Barack Obama has been pretty quiet, and Boris Johnson continues to live in his own little world. As per usual, then. 

Somehow, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) made such strong gains in local elections this year that they were the third largest political party existing at that point. Until they were uncovered as racists, sexists, homophobes etc… but they still remain more popular than Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats. Which isn’t all that hard, but still.

In other news, Miley Cyrus thought it would be a good idea to use a foam finger in the complete wrong way and appear naked in a music video in order to get attention. A song raising an important issue in nature became very popular, making people think about what a fox might say. To this day, no one knows. A woman threw eggs at Simon Cowell and the X Factor song got to Christmas Number 1. Shock, horror etc…

One of the greatest figures in world history to have ever lived died in December as well. Even the great Nelson Mandela couldn’t have everything his own way at his own memorial service when a fake sign language interpreter managed to get through every bit of security going to pretend to know how to sign.

In short, then, 2013 hasn’t been all that great for the world. But the one solace that we can take from this is that Justin Bieber has said he’s retiring. If that isn’t something to be joyous about, I don’t know what is. Happy 2014, everyone.