Dominic Cork: Too tired? Nonsense. We are talking about professional players

Outside Off Stump: James Anderson should be on the team sheet. He will have the burning desire to put things right

They play too much cricket. They've been hurt by injuries. Conditions have conspired against them. This World Cup has thrown up any number of talking points where Andrew Strauss's team are concerned but the bottom line, with which no one can argue, is simple: England have not been good enough.

Not good enough, not clinical enough and not disciplined enough. And the only saving grace is that we can still add the words "so far". Tomorrow's game against the West Indies gives them one last chance to earn a place in the quarter-finals – depending on other results, of course.

It should never have come to this. They had chances against both Ireland and Bangladesh to ease their way through the group but weaker opponents were allowed to take the game away from them.

Letting Kevin O'Brien do what he did with the bat and failing to finish off Bangladesh when they had them eight wickets down smacks of ill discipline: a failure to do the basics when basics were what was needed.

I don't think you can blame tiredness after a long winter away for England's shortcomings. We are talking about professional cricketers, playing at the highest level, but the end product has been very disappointing because they are a much better side than has been apparent up to now.

The million dollar question is why England, who were on such a high after their Ashes triumph, have been unable to rise to the occasion on the sub-continent.

There are plenty of theories but the only people who can come up with some answers are the players. Apart perhaps from Jonathan Trott, no one has done himself justice and, equally surprising, these individuals have not really gelled as a team.

Thankfully, all is not lost. We have seen some signs of what England are capable of producing, against India and South Africa, and each game is a fresh start with past performances not counting for very much when it comes to limited-overs cricket.

So, can I see England beating West Indies? Yes. Will I? I hope so, but I do think they are up against it because West Indies are dangerous opponents who should never be written off.

Some people have wondered out loud whether, subconsciously, a few England players are already on the plane home. Well, if that is the case, and the selectors have got wind of it, then those individuals should be dropped. But I would be very surprised, and dreadfully disappointed, if any member of Strauss's squad was thinking about anything other than how to beat West Indies and keeping alive their World Cup ambitions.

We need people out there tomorrow who are desperate to play for England, whether we are winning the Ashes or in a hole.

For me, one of those names on the team sheet would be Jimmy Anderson. I accept Chris Tremlett would not be a bad option and everyone knows Anderson has not bowled anything like he can. But he does have the experience, and I know he will have the burning desire to put things right.

As for the other end of the order, I think England must stick with Matt Prior as opener. And he was the choice to go in first with Strauss until the idea to promote Kevin Pietersen came out of the blue.

But it is not just Anderson and Prior who need to produce something special tomorrow. All the players need to have a good look at themselves and then come out fighting.

There is no point any of them moaning about the criticism they have received. When people were telling them how good they were in the Ashes they were happy to accept the praise so it is a case of taking stick where it is deserved. The great thing is that you are only ever one knock, one over or even one catch away from doing something special – and that is what England must focus on now.

Don't quit, Strauss. England need you

Speculation about Andrew Strauss's future in the one-day game is already rife with suggestions he will retire from 50-over cricket after this World Cup. But I would be surprised, and disappointed, if it worked out that way.

Strauss is relatively young, he scored a superb century against India recently, has proved himself a good leader and still has a lot to offer. If England do crash out of the World Cup this week there will be a big inquest, but blaming the captain when things go wrong is often nothing more than the easy option.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
people
Sport
SPORT
News
people
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Biggins as Mrs Smee in Peter Pan
theatreHow do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick