World Twenty20: England's post-Pietersen era shows no sign of a new dawn
The latest disaster is a coaching failure as much as anything else
Is that an aerial protest on the flight path over Lord’s? The Wrong One – No to Ashley Giles! After what must be the worst job application in the history of cricket, perhaps there is no need to ape the anti-David Moyes lobby at Manchester United with a pop at Giles before the interviews to appoint a new head coach.
Wasn’t this supposed to be the post-KP age, the end of bad attitude, England reformed into a fighting unit forged by common purpose and desire? There was nil sign of a new dawn in Chittagong. KP’s sacking is looking more like a reprieve after the defeat to the Netherlands, a team propped up by jobbing Australians who only qualified courtesy of a mother from Dutch New Guinea.
Maybe that’s where England have been going wrong, plundering the wrong colony. South Africa was never the option after all. In fairness, any side is entitled to a bad game. And it was a dead rubber. England have lost to the Dutch before, but not like this.
And, after a sequence in which the team fell apart in all forms of the game during an appalling winter in Australia, this wretched defeat points to a greater failing at the top of the administration. In the space of six months, England have disintegrated from Ashes winners to a rudderless rabble, before the head coach stepped down without answering for the mess over which he had presided.
The team’s best batsman is exiled; the pre-eminent spinner, Graeme Swann, quit mid-Ashes; the pivotal No 3 batsman, Jonathan Trott, returned home with a debilitating mental condition that turned out to be nothing more pernicious than poor form; and the “world’s best” wicketkeeper, Matt Prior, fell apart at the crease. And now this.
Alastair Cook cannot talk about the national team today (Getty)
Today, the domestic season opens with a series of gentle warm-up fixtures between counties and the universities. On Sunday, the County Championship begins, ordinarily triggering a sense of renewal. Instead, it feels like English cricket is in the grip of a terrible blight, compounded by a ring of silence on the subject imposed from above.
Test captain Alastair Cook is one of many England players scheduled to speak today ahead of the new county season but a discussion about the state of the national team will form no part of the conversation. The ban extends to all England players. And it’s not an April Fool’s jape. The ECB has turned into Putin’s Russia without the territorial gains.
What could they say that would make matters worse? It barely seems possible that England came into the World Twenty20 tournament having won the thing in 2010. That success proved a rare blip in an otherwise lamentable England record in limited-overs cricket. The country that gave the shortened form of the game to the world more than 40 years ago has shown itself yet again to be way behind the prevailing orthodoxy, with no obvious plan of how to attack a score or defend one. That is a coaching failure as much as anything else. And to think the Dutch lost the toss.
Jay Hart sex tape: Clitheroe footballer sacked after being filmed having sex with unknown blonde woman in manager's dug-out
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Jack Grealish: Surely the FA will belatedly try to snap up Aston Villa star after his Wembley heroics
Cesc Fabregas in Premier League title dig at Arsenal after pointing out '27 year wait'
Sergio Aguero vs Harry Kane vs Diego Costa: Who will win the battle to be Premier League top scorer?
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
- 5 Google search history can now be downloaded in its entirety, mass embarrassment expected
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments