ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Group B, Bangalore

Swann 'shell-shocked' after humiliating defeat

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 3, 2011

Comments: 48 | Text size: A | A

Graeme Swann revived England's spirit in the field with three quick wickets, England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 2, 2011
Graeme Swann claimed three wickets for England, but it was not enough to force victory © Getty Images

Graeme Swann admitted that England were left shell-shocked by the manner and magnitude of their incredible three-wicket defeat at the hands of Kevin O'Brien on Wednesday night, but insisted that the team's best response would be to put the result right out of their minds as they turn their attention to Sunday's crucial showdown against the Group B pacesetters, South Africa, in Chennai.

As Ireland's celebrations continued long and loud in the wake of the biggest result of their lives, England flew out of Bangalore knowing that their World Cup campaign is in danger of sliding out of control, after three consecutive fixtures - including a thrilling tie with India - in which their frailties have been exposed with both bat and ball. However, with contests against South Africa, Bangladesh and West Indies still to come, qualification for the quarter-finals remains in their own hands, so long as they revert to winning ways at the earliest opportunity.

"If we are going to win this World Cup - which we truly believe we can - we've got to go out and prove it, and we do that first and foremost in the field," said Swann. "Four or five days ago, the whole world was saying 'Oh my God, England can win' this - because we didn't get destroyed by that invincible Indian team. We know the fickle nature of the world, and we're going to ignore that and just carry on and play the best cricket we can."

At 111 for 5, chasing a massive 328 for victory, Ireland's chances of victory were seemingly non-existent, until Kevin O'Brien climbed onto the offensive with the innings of his - or anyone else's - life. His incredible 50-ball century slammed England's bowlers onto the defensive, and in partnership with first Alex Cusack and then John Mooney, Ireland clawed their way back into the contest.

"It's disappointing to lose any game of cricket," said Swann. "But it was one where we got ourselves into a position of such dominance, to then have it taken away from us is quite shell-shocking. Every now and again someone wakes up and has the best day of their life - and yesterday Kevin O'Brien did that. We should have bowled better; we certainly could have bowled better, but that's tarnishing the knock he had - personally I think he won the game rather than we lost it."

Despite that assertion, the cracks in England's performance were visible long before O'Brien got going, with Matt Prior dropping a steepling chance behind the stumps to reprieve Ed Joyce, and Swann himself was visibly peeved with his fielders before claiming three quick wickets to put his team firmly in charge of the contest. "A lot of guys were peed off, and rightly so," he said. "We got ourselves into a position where the opposition were 110 for five, with 20 overs to go. That's a game an international team of the calibre that we feel we are should win 10 out of 10."

"It's annoying in the extreme, but I'm not taking anything away from Kevin O'Brien and the performance of his life," Swann added. "It's the best knock I've seen in a long time. If a guy gets 100 off 60 balls [sic], a guy gets 100 off 60 balls. There's not a lot you can do, except say we should have bowled differently - and in the next game we will do. If we start panicking and thinking we're the disgrace that half the people on Twitter thought we were last night, there's no point in us playing.

"You can always bowl better," he added. "When a guy hits that many sixes you are obviously putting the ball in the wrong place. We could have bowled more yorkers and more slower balls wide of the wicket - that's easy in retrospect to say. When you're in the middle and the pressure is on with a guy going great guns, it can be difficult to think clearly. But we back ourselves to be professional and think clearly, so in future that's certainly something we have to look at."


Comments: 48 
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Posted by Andrew on (March 5, 2011, 22:20 GMT)

@JB77 - LOL! Good pick up! @davidpk -The edge the Poms need is Tremlett. Guess what? HE IS in the squad!

Posted by Osama on (March 4, 2011, 12:19 GMT)

I think India and England both need to score more than 350 every time to Win a Match against good teams, their batting is outstanding but pathetic is the word that can be used for their bowling...........Pak, SA, Sri are the teams with real chance to carry the cup

Posted by Powderdubdub on (March 4, 2011, 9:48 GMT)

India has by far the strongest batting line up in this World Cup, they can bat any team out of the match. However England have shown that India are NOT invincible as the majority of Indians strongly believe.

Posted by Mark on (March 4, 2011, 9:47 GMT)

Think its a bit unfair to label this bowling attack useless, Broad, Bres, Swann and even Jimmy are top odi bowlers (remember 2003? Jimmy was awesome), they're just not performing but they are better players than the Indian bowlers and if they're on form they one of the best attacks in world cricket. I honestly thought the batting was gonna be the failure this WC (like usual) not the bowling and fielding. @Legster absolutely agree, Rashid is not only a top spinner but a quality bat as well with a good head on his shoulders. Why he no play?

Posted by Pankaj on (March 4, 2011, 8:26 GMT)

@dexpert: and you are better than joker England has potential to win this world cup....but Bopara should be in and Yardy out....seamers must do their basics right, then only they can. Strauss is in-form that doesn't mean he is better than Sachin. Sehwag is much better than chennai born Nasser. Anyways very cheap comparision. India were a seamer shorter, so England were able to tie the match. Thanx to Zak and Bhajji to show their potential to save India from defeat. India will be strongly back in this WC, but would like to see one more seamer playing and only Kohli at Nr. 4.

Posted by Ahmed Saud on (March 4, 2011, 8:14 GMT)

Why doesnt Eoin Morgan plays for Ireland he belongs to Ireland Why??? I hate English Team

Posted by Chandrasekharan on (March 4, 2011, 7:52 GMT)

It is a shame the WC matches are played on the flattest wickets possible which do not give the bowlers an iota of a chance. No score is defendable in this scenario and those who field better and bat better will win.

Posted by Sayyed Azhar on (March 4, 2011, 7:42 GMT)

I think the English side do not have any bowler, other than Swann, to make a real impression on the flat wickets in the subcontinent. Their batting is capable of putting up and chasing big scores. But they do not have the variety in bowling to handle the pressure and onslaught of the opposition. Slow bouncers alone will not be enough.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 4, 2011, 7:39 GMT)

Oh God this game has been Great leveller hardly 2 month ago English cricket reach the magnitude of their cricketting through regaining the Ashes 3-1 by murdering the Aussies but after that their far-too-acheived mindset led them 6-1 drubbing at the hand of same side which they steam-rolled in ashes followed by non too convincing result in opening 2 matches followed by stunning defeats from what many called babes of world cricket

Posted by Fadzai on (March 4, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

I think the "Chokers" tag should now move from the Proteas (SA) to England. What say ye fellows?

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