England’s performance in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup was simply embarrassing and humiliating for English cricket fans. The side was eliminated after the first round itself and couldn’t even make it to the quarter finals. The English were knocked by the determinant Bangladeshis in a game which exposed England’s lack of awareness regarding modern day limited overs cricket.
Paul Collingwood, the former England captain was scathing with criticism for the side and mentioned that the team was “prehistoric”. Collingwood summarized England’s troubles at the World Cup in a line and said, “It was obviously pretty prehistoric in terms of the way they went about things. You could see that in the results they got.”
Collingwood spoke about the lack of awareness within England’s domestic limited overs structure and also blamed the selection policy. “We’ve always played catch-up in the one-day form of the game,” he said, though he believes England have been handicapped by conditions that render attacking the new ball far harder than in other parts of the world. “Whenever we tried it in English conditions, it never quite worked because of the seam movement and all this business. We kind of get halfway and then always resort back to the more conservative plan. But now there is a real sense of ‘we’ve got to do this’ because we’re getting nowhere playing conservative cricket.”
“The guys in world cricket now who have taken the game to the next level are people like AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, David Warner, Chris Gayle and they are playing as if they are in the back yard. It’s as if there are no consequences on their wicket whatsoever. Somehow a coach has to get that environment, certainly in the one-day form of the game, to where he can say ‘lads, you’re backed, don’t worry, you have games to fail, go out there and prove what you can do’. I think that is an important factor in how to get the utmost amount of skills from each player,” said Collingwood.
The 2010 T20 World Cup winning captain also questioned the “start-stop” approach provided for Alex Hales and asked the reason behind denying the opener with a consistent run. Collingwood though, praised Mark Wood, who recently burst onto the international scene against New Zealand. Collingwood said, “The great thing about Woody is that he has taken his character into that dressing room, he doesn’t seem to be scared of the environment which is a real positive. I think that will be good for the England dressing room because he’s a good guy to have around. He is a bit mad but he’s a great guy and I think he can bring more to the dressing room in terms of his skills out in the middle. He’s still very young and still has more development to come.”
Collingwood though, was optimistic about England’s chances in the upcoming Ashes and said, “It came after the Lord’s Test – I remember being in a meeting at Edgbaston and talking about taking it to the Aussies, not aggressively, but more in the way we play,” he says. “It was a real shift because we knew Warne was going to take wickets against us but can we make him go for four-an-over rather than two-and-a-half-an-over?”
“I can see England being in a similar situation now. We’re the underdogs again, nobody is expecting much from the Ashes but we have an opportunity there. It probably only takes one player like Freddie did in that series to re-ignite the love of the game again and really get the nation behind the team.”