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Other SportsButtler baffled by England's terrible form

Buttler baffled by England’s terrible form

Captain Jos Buttler conceded there was “no obvious reason” as to why England have performed so badly at the World Cup.

The 2019 champions’ hopes of advancing to the semi-finals were virtually extinguished today following an abysmal eight-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in Bengaluru.

They now need to win their remaining four matches and hope for a freakish set of results elsewhere to go through.

England were bundled out for a feeble 156 and then, despite a bright start, wilted in the field with Pathum Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama hitting hugely impressive half centuries to see Sri Lanka to their victory target in just 25.4 overs.

England have won one of their five games in India and looked a thoroughly disjointed unit devoid of form and confidence.

Buttler said: “It’s been an incredibly tough and incredibly disappointing tournament. I’m disappointed in myself and all the boys that we haven’t given a good account of ourselves.

“There’s no clear answer at the moment [as to why]. I can’t fault the boys’ efforts but we’re playing a long way short of our best.

“There are a lot of experienced cricketers [in the dressing room] who have been through a lot – a lot of confident people. You don’t become a bad player overnight, you don’t become a bad team overnight. I think that’s probably the biggest frustration, that we’ve been so far short of our best, and for no obvious reason. I just can’t put my finger on it at the moment.

“We’ve been short of the standards we set ourselves. The kind of mistakes we’re all making, you don’t see that usually. We haven’t been doing the basic things well.”

White-ball coach Matthew Mott was equally flummoxed by how bad England had been and knows their qualification hopes are “in a bit of trouble”.

He told Sky Sports: “It’s hard to explain. We had a good series with New Zealand leading in and we came over here full of confidence with some quality players that have won a lot of World Cups but for whatever reason we seemed to have a lot of players out of form at the wrong time and it’s hurt us dearly.”

England’s selection policy has come under the microscope, having started with an all-rounder heavy line-up which was ditched for the chastening defeat to South Africa at the weekend and then revisited today against Sri Lanka.

“We always reserve the right to pick players for different conditions,” added Australian Mott.

“We admitted last time that we got the balance wrong so we went back to the balance we had before. But when you lose by that margin, it’s not about a couple of small selections, it’s a collective and we all have to take responsibility.

“It’s been a sub-par effort in this campaign and everyone is going to come down from the hills to dissect what we’ve done wrong but we have to make sure we find some positives and learn from it.

“Everyone feels like they’ve let people down – supporters, friends, family – everyone is really hurting.”

England have four games remaining, starting with a daunting clash with in-form hosts India on Sunday, but Mott insists the players will not be giving up despite the precarious predicament they find themselves in.

“It’s going to be a real test of character over the next few weeks to make sure we can salvage something out of this campaign,” he said.

“Mathematically we have to have a lot go our way [to qualify] but we’ll keep fronting up, treating each game in isolation but realistically we’re in a bit of trouble.”

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Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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