England’s Turnaround in the ODI Format is Around the Corner - Michael Atherton

Despite England’s dismal performance in the 2023 World Cup, there seems to be no alarm bell ringing for major overhauls in the setup.

England’s Turnaround in the ODI Format is Around the Corner - Michael Atherton
Dillip Mohanty

Written by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2023-11-20

England's disappointing performance in the 2023 World Cup 

Defending champion England had a disappointing World Cup campaign, finishing at number 7 in the points table. Despite high expectations, they were only able to secure victory in 3 out of 9 matches, resulting in a disappointing win rate of only 33%. This performance is widely regarded as the worst ever by a defending champion in the history of the World Cup. The last time a defending champion had such a below-par performance was seen in 1999, when Sri Lanka faced a similar fate. The unexpected early exit of the favourite England from the World Cup has sparked intense debates among England fans and those who had high hopes of seeing England qualify for the semi-finals.

Defending champions.pngBut at the same time, stakeholders involved in England cricket, including players, selectors, administrators, and former players-turned-pundits, have not only acknowledged the problem but also demonstrated a clear understanding of its implications. One of the most effective methods for resolving a problem is to openly acknowledge and recognize the existence of the problem. What is particularly encouraging is the absence of any signs of alarm or panic among these stakeholders. While it is anticipated that there will be ongoing adjustments and modifications, the current indication suggests that these changes will not be drastic but rather methodical.

Ex-England captain Michael Atherton, who is on the commentary panel of the World Cup 2023 did not sound alarmed. SportsBoom caught up with him to know what would he prescribe for the England team. Speaking in the side-line of the ICC event Cricket Matters Michael Atherton believes that England's turnaround in the ODI format is imminent, despite their current struggles. He attributes England’s recent struggle to over-prioritisation and revitalizing the test team, which resulted in the one-day team being slightly sacrificed. Atherton acknowledges the cyclical nature of cricket and emphasizes the importance of not making excuses.

Atherton said that over the last four years, England has played fifty-six test matches and that may be double the number of some of the teams, South Africa in particular. England doesn't have an off-season. We're playing the Northern Hemisphere summer. The team is on the go all year round.

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"When the new management team came in, the focus was very much on trying to regenerate and revitalise England's test team and then probably the one-day team under Jos Buttler was slightly sacrificed because of that."

Atherton on England's over-prioritisation of Test Cricket

Speaking on how it happened previously, Atherton said What's happened is that towards the end of the Joe Root’s captaincy, when Chris Silverwood was coach, England had won one test in 17. When the new management team came in, the focus was very much on trying to regenerate and revitalise England's test team and then probably the one-day team under Jos Buttler was slightly sacrificed because of that.

And it's just a pendulum swing. Prior to that, in the run-up to the 2019 World Cup, Eoin Morgan was given preferential treatment. All his best players, the test team suffered a little bit. So that's the challenge of cricket, which is a unique game in three different formats, trying to be the best over three different formats is very, very difficult indeed. And also, these things do go in cycles a little bit, no team has a divine right to win all the time.

During the World Cup, the whole batting unit went through a collective slump albeit with a few individual performances scattered throughout the tournament. This is the first World Cup where England's Top Order (position 1 - 7) has an average of less than 12 runs per wicket compared to the Top Order of other participating nations in the group stage.

England betting order.pngEngland have had a very good eight-year period in one-day cricket between 2015 and 2023. They dominated the whiteball format winning the T20 World Cup a year ago. They are the first team to win the 50 over and 20 over world cup in succession.

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"These things always go in cycles, I have no doubt that England will be strong again, 50 over cricket, there is a lot of talent in our domestic game, but just right now, in 50 over terms, they're hurting a little bit."

Atherton is hopeful of England's turnaround

Atherton explained, that the seeds of failure are always slightly sown in your periods of success because what happens inevitably is that your team gets a little bit older, maybe a little bit of complacency creeps in, and the other teams are waiting for you. These things always go in cycles, I have no doubt that England will be strong again, 50 over cricket, there is a lot of talent in our domestic game, but just right now, in 50 over terms, they're hurting a little bit.

I have no doubt at all that England are going to come back. They've looked inward and they've said, we were short, we didn't play well enough, we've got the talent. A lot of the teams that didn't qualify have sought to plant their frailties, their own weaknesses on something that is outside their control. The moment a team gives excuses, then you don't take them seriously.

Harsha Bhogle Cricket Matters Conference.JPG

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"I think a few of the teams that have not qualified are seeking answers elsewhere rather than within. Teams that are searching for answers elsewhere will take much longer to make a comeback.”

Harsha Bhogle on England's admission and understanding of the problem

Voicing similar sentiment veteran cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle added “I think a few of the teams that have not qualified are seeking answers elsewhere rather than within. Teams that are searching for answer elsewhere will take much longer to make a comeback.”

At home, captain Jos Buttler has acknowledged the problems saying “Ultimately we performed short of our capabilities and me more than anyone”.  Director of Cricket Rob Key admitted the under-par performance by saying “It’s very hard for me to be critical of Jos Buttler and Matthew Mott when I’m the one who, every single time a decision has been made around whether or not we focus on 50-over cricket, Test cricket or T20, I’ve always chosen Test cricket".

England's one-day international setup will not undergo a major overhaul despite a dismal World Cup campaign. However, there are several aspects that the team management will focus on in order to improve their performance in future tournaments. The next T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies is seven months away and comes in the middle of England's cricket season. It is important for the team to learn from their mistakes and use this experience as a stepping stone towards success in the future.

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Dillip Mohanty

Dillip Mohanty

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.

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