Nightmare capitulation raises questions about England’s inadequate preparation

There was some excitement in the air as England’s first-wicket partnership reached nine yesterday. Another measly run and the opening pair would have put on double figures for the fourth time in the World Cup. Considering all this, if you are a cricket fan then you should definitely give CPL live stream a try as you get an amazing cricket experience there.

Alas, it was not to be. With the monumental landmark staring him in the face, Ian Bell essayed a pull from outside off stump for which he was never in the proper position. It meant that England’s first-wicket partnerships in the tournament so far read, in descending order: 101, 12, 10, nine, seven, six, one, and one. This is not the stuff World Cup dreams are made on. Since the 101 was against Canada and their opening bowler was 41 years old, this can be dismissed pretty lightly.

Compare this to Australia. This is perhaps harsh, for you might as well compare a rose to a thorn or a palace to a kennel. But it is Australia’s standards to whom all the rest must aspire. And what standards: in eight matches their first wicket has failed to pass 50 only once and twice has gone beyond 100.

There is more where this came from England. Their second-wicket partnerships have been hardly any better. Yesterday’s was 28. It means that only once has England’s second wicket here realized more than 50. The aggregate is 231 and the average stand is 29.

It is possible to go on. After the early damage yesterday, they lost five wickets for 10 runs in 27 balls. Andrew Flintoff took his tally in six innings to 77.

This is all the form of nightmares. The modern sportsman in all disciplines intends to peak for a particular event. Thus, there will be track athletes all over the world whose entire training regimen is aimed at body and mind being in unison in the second half of August in 2008 for the Beijing Olympic Games. Given their exhibitions in the past few weeks, late August 2008 is when the England cricket team must think the World Cup is taking place. If questions must be asked of them and their fitness for purpose, they must also be posed about the manner in which they were prepared.

The coach, Duncan Fletcher, will come under enormous pressure but so will the men he appointed, specifically the batting coach, Matthew Maynard. It is an open secret that many, if not most, coaches within English professional cricket were surprised when Maynard was recruited by England.

He went straight to the England job after ending his county career with Glamorgan. Generally recognized as the most innately talented batsman of his generation, Maynard was unfulfilled. He made 24,799 first-class runs but only 87 were in Tests for England.

Maynard owed his introduction to coaching solely to Fletcher, who was coach at Glamorgan when Maynard was captain. This was a big winter for England: the Champions Trophy, the Ashes, the CB Series, the World Cup. Somehow they won the CB Series, easily the smallest of all the prizes on offer.

In the rest, their chief contribution has been to turn up.