So, another England World Cup has ended with a humiliating defeat. However, England thrillingly defeated South Africa and the West Indies, as well as tieing with India. The ignominious ending notwithstanding, this has been England’s best World Cup performance since 1992. Here’s how all 17 players used rated:
Andrew Strauss 7/10
For so long regarded as a batsman too limited for modern ODIs, Strauss’ 158 against India was a stunning riposte: seldom has an England batsman scored at well over a run-a-ball without taking obvious risks. Yet thereafter Strauss struggled, failing to score a half century in the last five innings, and ending with a horrible innings; his first-over dismissal to Robin Petersen against South Africa appeared to weigh on his mind against Tillakaratne Dilshan’s offspin.
As a skipper he both impressed – letting Swann bowl his last over with Sarwan on strike appears a masterstroke with hindsight – and disappointed, as when appearing clueless against Kevin O’Brien and Shafiul Islam. Perhaps this simply reflects the vagaries of his bowling attack. No one would be surprised if he now resigned as ODI captain.
Kevin Pietersen 6
Pietersen’s promotion to opener, whilst an indictment of England’s lack of World Cup planning, was certainly not without promise. In three of his four innings he made starts, with his 22-ball 31 against India suggesting a man who could adapt as well to opening in ODIs as Mark Waugh. But there are now very real questions over whether he will play another ODI.
Jonathan Trott 9
Extraordinarily, Trott was both England’s most consistent player, by far, and amongst their most criticised. Yet in a tournament in which the regular 300+ scores at Bangalore were not matched at other grounds, Trott was little short of exceptional, able to score runs relentlessly, seemingly immune to the struggles around him. For a number three, whose job it is to bring solidity, an average of 60 was quite phenomenal. It wasn’t enough to impress a lot of people, especially Bob Willis, but the England management will appreciate how well Trott played his role. They simply wouldn’t have made it past the group stages without him and, by the end, he was the only Ashes winner still performing at his best, testament to his unremitting professionalism. And to this who lambast his selfishness, what of Ravi Bopara, whose strike rate was 66 against Trott’s 81?
Ian Bell 5
Forced to learn to play in the middle-order despite having a good record in the top three, Bell fared reasonably but no better. His manoeuvring of the spinners was dexterous in the tie with India, yet his form slipped badly thereafter, with innings against South Africa, Bangladesh and West Indies evoking the timid ’05 model, as opposed to the newly battle-hardened one. Promoted to open in the quarter final, where he probably should have been as soon as Pietersen flew home, he began brightly but was dismissed rather tamely. Sadly, it encapsulated his tournament as a whole.
Eoin Morgan 7
Morgan’s fleet-footed 63 against Bangladesh in his first game back was a reminder of his immense skill as a one-day batsman, and confirmed the feeling him replacing Pietersen in the squad was probably a net gain for England. Another 50 followed against Sri Lanka, albeit with some outrageous luck, and the great shame was that those around him didn’t share his penchant for using their feet.
Paul Collingwood 4
Watching Collingwood bat in this tournament, and the winter as a whole, has been a rather sad sight. He has never been attractive to watch at the crease, but it is plain for all to see that the conviction of his willow has gone, as his demotion to number 8 against Bangladesh further illustrated. Cunning wicket-to-wicket bowling helped prolong his career a little but, unless England are guilty of great sentimentality, he will remain stranded on 197 ODI caps.
Ravi Bopara 6
Originally a replacement for Morgan, Bopara’s 60 against South Africa was the sort of mature, under-pressure knock England have spent years worrying would never be seen on the international stage, but this only made his later painstaking knocks the more frustrating. With the ball he was a revelation, especially against the West Indies (2-22 off 8.4 overs), bowling as if he had absorbed all Collingwood’s experience.
Matt Prior 4
Drafted into the World Cup squad ahead of Steven Davies, who did little wrong but was felt to be deficient on slow wickets and behind the stumps, Prior has sadly not justified the faith. Tried as a finisher in the middle-order, he utterly failed to display the necessary nous. So he was then shunted back up the order – only to be dismissed brainlessly against Bangladesh – before a reasonably successful return to the middle order against Sri Lanka.
Luke Wright 6
Seemingly not trusted, Wright was given a chance when England had no more wriggle room against the West Indies – and with a mature 44 and four decent overs, he surpassed everyone’s expectations. May have been a trite offended that Swann was promoted to exploit the batting powerplay against Sri Lanka, ostensibly Wright’s great virtue.
Michael Yardy 3
Though he did very well in the World Twenty20, Yardy is a throwback to the days of Dougie Brown, Matthew Fleming and Mark Alleyne: clearly deficient with bat and ball alike. It said it all that he was comfortably outbowled by Pietersen against South Africa, but he has much more important things to worry about.
Tim Bresnan 7
Bresnan continued his fine winter with some consistently impressive performances, the highlight being a magnificent 5-48, belying unhelpful conditions, against India, though he faded somewhat in the last two games. Crucial runs against India and the West Indies also helped to prolong England’s place in the tournament.
Graeme Swann 7
At times in the group stage Swann looked like a man who had had enough travelling, but his performances held up, particularly in the crunch wins against South Africa and the West Indies. His struggles against Sri Lanka weren’t sufficient to undermine his status as the world’s best spin bowler. With bat in hand, Swann needs to learn that the switch hit is most effective as a surprise shot.
James Tredwell 7
Brought in to face the West Indies after months of drinks carrying, Tredwell was superb. Daring to flight the ball, and with some clever variations, he claimed four wickets and the man of the match award. It was inevitably tougher against Sri Lanka, but it was always going to be.
Stuart Broad 6
After consecutive five wicket hauls in the warm-ups, much was expected of Broad. But he proceeded to leak 138 runs against Netherlands and Ireland, missing the India game through illness in between. Yet against South Africa he produced a phenomenal spell of reverse-swing, winning the game with a spell of 4-15 – only to be ruled out the tournament straight after.
Ajmal Shazhad 6
Three superb deliveries should have won England the game against Bangladesh, but, those aside, Shazhad was too often erratic. Nevertheless, his reverse swinging prowess, aided to a big-match temperament exemplified by that six, all suggests we will see a lot more of him in an England shirt.
James Anderson 4
Oh Jimmy, Jimmy. What to say about a campaign in which he has averaged more than 70, leaking runs at nearly 7 an over? Just that his sterling contribution to England’s Ashes triumph should not be forgotten.
Chris Tremlett 4
Though he took an excellent catch against the West Indies, Tremlett’s World Cup was a fairly miserable affair. He seemed to quite lack the variety needed for limited overs cricket, though he was probably England’s most threatening bowler against Sri Lanka.
(England tournament averages can be viewed here)
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