World Cup: English cricket brought to its knees

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ENGLAND'S EARLY departure from cricket's World Cup has come one day before the official song - "All over the World" - was due to be released.

The hosts exit - beaten by India in their final group game - was due to an inferior run rate after three teams finished with six points. As the squad return to their clubs and the county treadmill, English cricket again finds itself examining its navel.

Afterwards, their outgoing coach David Lloyd said England were not tough enough. "It was unsatisfactory," he said. "We did not stand up and be counted."

The defeat, which came at Edgbaston in front of large and vocal support for their opponents, means that England will miss out on their own party. Whether sales of the single, performed by Dave Stewart will suffer as a result of England's departure, will not be known for a several weeks, by which time the winners of the World Cup should be known.

England's disappointment, the first time they have failed to qualify for the latter stages of a World Cup, was matched by India's joy.

Moments after the last wicket had been taken, the ground was awash with Indian tricolors and chanting supporters. India, who go through to the next stage, will now have to play their arch rivals Pakistan, a country it is currently in dispute with over territory in Kashmir.

The two meet at Old Trafford on 8 June, in a match that is sure to see grievances aired, at least on the pitch. Special Branch officers are consulting with security chiefs at the Home Office, MI5 and the Foreign Office.

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