March 22, 2011

ICC World Cup 2011

A match too far for England?

George Binoy

Writing in the Guardian, Mike Selvey assesses the action in the World Cup so far and takes a look at the quarter-finalists.

Australia have advanced almost stealthily but without convincing that they are the force of previous tournaments. There is destruction lurking in the pace attack but a generosity as well, and the spin option is threadbare. The continuing decline of Ricky Ponting as a batsman must be impacting, too. The Australians are great scrappers but this is a game that India ought to win to bring to an end a decade of all-round dominance.

And so to England. In losing to Ireland and Bangladesh they inadvertently conspired to put themselves through the wringer. They have not played well, and struggled with injury and fatigue, but sheer tenacity has seen them survive. Other teams may well wish that they had been tested as fully, something that will stand Andrew Strauss's men in good stead now. But they have to recognise that surviving as they have does not provide them with a blueprint for further progress: quite simply, they have to elevate their game from beyond merely adequate and competitive ... They will do well to get past the first obstacle.

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George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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