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Collingwood’s Assessment of England’s Efforts Proves the Most Accurate

England go out of another World Cup, everyone’s up in arms. But in reality, Collingwood’s men did just about as well as their abilities deserved…

Collingwood congratulates Rashid: But the spinner's selection was controversial...

Collingwood congratulates Rashid: But the spinner's selection was controversial...

After a valiant struggle, England eventually succumbed to the enemy they perhaps knew best.

The rain.

It may be debatable whether or not West Indies are an inferior side to England, but the fact of the matter is that 80 runs in nine overs (with 10 wickets to play with) is an easier target than 162 in 20 overs (with the same number of wickets). When you know the opposition as well as England and the Windies know each other, such an advantage is only magnified.

England struggled valiantly, but the composure and quality of Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul proved more than enough.

England captain Paul Collingwood stuck by his side after the defeat.

“We put a total on the board that I thought was about par,” he said. “The bowlers have been fantastic but it was always going to be difficult. I’m proud of the boys, they’ve put in a lot of effort but we were just not quite good enough today.”

Amidst the predictable outcry as England slipped out of the tournament, Collingwood’s assessment was arguably the most accurate of the lot. England did well — perhaps better than expected — with the quality of players at their disposal.

Let’s not harbor any illusions. The England side is not of the quality of the top sides in the tournament. If there is an equivalent team in the tournament, it is New Zealand.

And no one seriously expects them to come away with the trophy.

Bopara and Wright are average Twenty20 openers (Wright in particular has looked overawed by the occasion). Kevin Pietersen is England’s  only true world class player, with James Foster being among the best pure wicket-keepers in the tournament. Owais Shah and Collingwood do not combine to add fearsome weight to England’s middle order.

Graeme Swain is an average spin bowler, and Stuart Broad and James Anderson are solid, if uninspiring, fast bowlers.

All in all, the side is just average.

For an average side then, England did remarkably well.

The defeat to the Netherlands was an embarrassment, but it can be dismissed as an abherration in the light of two impressive victories against Pakistan and India.

Defeat to South Africa (the tournament’s clearly superior team) was nothing less than to be expected, and the decisive game with the West Indies was always going to be tight.

The game was tipped only slightly in the Windies’ favour before the rain decided to play its part.   

Rather than any criticism then, England should look to the future with encouragement. They have given a good account of themselves, and very few of the players in the team are yet at their peak.

With the likes of Collingwood (who surely would have been in competition with Mascharenhas to be dropped against the Windies if not for his possession of the captaincy) and Swain making way  next time for younger players more familiar with what is still a new format, England should be in a position to progress even further in the tournament.

Rain, or (hopefully) no rain.

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June 16, 2009 - Posted by | Sport | , , ,

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