NEW DELHI: England’s four defeats so far is the worst ever start by a regining champion in the first five matches of its title defence in an ODI World Cup. As a result, the team is facing the ire of its fans and former England players who have been critical of the team’s tactics and performance, and the task is going to get tougher for them as they face the red-hot unbeaten India in a do-or-die match on Sunday.
England’s only win so far has come against Bangladesh, while they were stunned by Afghanistan besides losing to New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
While maintaining that the players can’t be “given a cop out” by blaming the “structure of English cricket” when the “wheels come off”, Hussain urged Jos Buttler‘s team to bring their best game on the park this Sunday to “spoil India’s party”.In contrast to England’s dismal show, two-time champions India have been on a roll, winning all their five matches so far.
“I have not seen this England side play as badly in any back-to-back matches as they have against South Africa in Mumbai and now here (in Bengaluru) against Sri Lanka,” Hussain wrote in his column for the ‘Daily Mail’.
“England’s form has deserted them at the worst possible time and compare that with, say, South Africa and India, whose batsmen all seem to be in great form, and someone like Glenn Maxwell who can hit a 40-ball century for Australia,” he added.
“They (England) have to go to Lucknow on Sunday and spoil India’s party. They must remind India and the world just how great cricketers they have been – and still are.”

The former England batter added that while the wounds of a World Cup fiasco will take time to heal, it doesn’t take anything away from the England team that has done wonders consistently over the past 6-7 years.
“We can be all doom and gloom and say ‘get rid of the lot of them’, but they have given us six or seven years of absolutely brilliant white-ball cricket,” said Hussain.
“What they have done is magical and all round the world franchises want England’s white-ball players, but what they have done in the last three weeks has not reflected the type of players they are and what Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler have created.”

England languish at No. 9 after their defeat against Sri Lanka on Thursday, and are just above bottom-dwellers Netherlands on net run rate. After India on Sunday, England will have matches left against Australia, Netherlands and Pakistan. But even winning all their remaining four matches may not earn them a place in the semifinals.

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