ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Sri Lanka v England, 4th quarter-final, World Cup 2011, Colombo

'Didn't have quality to win World Cup' - Strauss

Sidharth Monga at the Premadasa

March 26, 2011

Comments: 44 | Text size: A | A

It's all over now for England. They came, they entertained, they faltered when entertainment alone was not enough. There is a limit to how far refusing to lose alone can take you. On the big day, against a varied attack, England didn't have the quality to put up enough runs to defend. Andrew Strauss had no qualms in admitting that.

"We were not good enough in the one-dayers in either Australia or this World Cup," Strauss said. "I think we scrapped hard, and showed some fight, which is great, but didn't have enough quality to go on and win this tournament. That's the reality.

"I think I can't fault the energy and commitment and the desire that the guys have shown over the course of this World Cup. I think they tried their hardest today, but we were not allowed to play well by a very good side. I think you could cite tiredness, but that would be running away from the issue. Haven't played good enough cricket. Generally English teams in the subcontinent haven't played well enough to compete day in, day out. Disappointing, we have got to be better than that."

Strauss said the side didn't do the fundamentals required to succeed in big events. "If you look at sides that have done well in this tournament, they have got a lot of variety in their bowling attack. We haven't got as much variety as them. They have got batsmen that have consistently made hundreds. Again we haven't done that well enough. These are the stark facts in front of us, we can still go back and get better, no doubt about it. That's what we will be trying to do in the coming weeks."

On a ground that is statistically and historically a good friend of sides batting first, England were tied in knots by a top attack. When they had rebuilt, they were pushed back further. "We were thoroughly outplayed, we can't hide away from that," Strauss said. "We thought it was a good toss to win, we knew it was a pretty flat wicket, and probably 260-270 was more like the par score. Lost a couple of wickets, had to rebuild, but then weren't able to go through the gears in the last few overs. You have to give credit to the Sri Lankan bowlers, there is a lot of variety there.

Andrew Strauss was left frustrated and powerless to stop England's slide out the tournament, Sri Lanka v England, 4th quarter-final, World Cup 2011, Colombo, March 26 2011
Andrew Strauss: "We were not good enough in the one-dayers in either Australia or this World Cup." © Getty Images

"We didn't score many boundaries today. We knew our batting performance was under-par, but we thought pressure is a big man, if we can get two-three early wickets, hopefully that might be enough to make that pressure count. Unfortunately [Tillakaratne] Dilshan and [Upul] Tharanga played outstandingly well. We lost to a better side."

That, Strauss said, shouldn't take away from the achievements in the first half of their winter. "The Ashes was certainly my proudest moment in cricket," he said. "Probably one of English cricket's proudest moments for a long time. No one will ever take that away from us. We were very fortunate to be part of that. Since then things have been tough, there is no doubt about that."

World Cup failures usually come with the end of captaincy reigns and a vision to rebuild the team for the next event four years later. Strauss and England haven't thought about that as yet. "I just don't think that now is the time to answer that question," he said. "It's not something that I have thought of beforehand, I certainly have got a lot of cricket in me, full stop. You are going to have to sit down with the selectors, and look back at the tournament, and plot a way forward for both the Test side and the one-day side. We are going to have to think about what the best options are. It's something I haven't thought about, and now is not the time to think about it either."

However, there is a direct lesson to be learnt, and that has to do with the scheduling. "It's a huge amount to ask players to go into Australia for three months, into the highest-intensity atmosphere you can possibly get for an English team, and then go straight into a World Cup without guys spending any time at home," Strauss said. "This certainly is not good."

The prime example of the scheduling's effect was seen on James Anderson, who went from being England's best fast bowler to somebody who just didn't seem up for it in this World Cup. "Jimmy has had a very tough and long winter," Strauss said. "I think he got to a stage where mentally he was pretty burnt out. And you can't blame him for that. He has given everything he possibly can to the side over the course of the six months. He has been our outstanding performer, and he has run in time and time again. I think he reached the end of the road, and needed a break."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Senthil on (March 28, 2011, 4:51 GMT)

Strauss said the side didn't do the fundamentals required to succeed in big events - No Mr.Strauss, you got the fundamentals right and you played more than well. If not for injuries of KP, Broad, Shehzad you will be playing in the finals in Mumbai. Thanks for the entertainment. Very impressive performance with the limited reqources you had.

Posted by vinod on (March 28, 2011, 4:06 GMT)

Here we see a true captain! He stood by his team's ability and disability, led from the front and have now come forward with the best comments a losing captain can offer. In the back of my mind, despite an ordinary performance down under, I had a feeling that England had the quality to reach the last four. England lived up to the expectations after they conquered big matches against India, West Indies and South Africa. They had their heads down against the minnows (Ireland and Bangladesh). They got the lion in its own den in the quarterfinal and I never believed that they could beat Sri Lanka in their own backyard. But such a huge trashing was not on the cards. Unlike other captains, Strauss didn't complain much of non-stop cricket over the past 6 months or so in the run up towards the World Cup. Anyway, lets hope that Strauss will continue to do the good work in the coming summer. Good luck Andrew

Posted by Alex on (March 28, 2011, 2:45 GMT)

Jimmy anderson is a decent Test bowler. he is not one day bowler and he can't do any better even if he is in great form because indian flat wickets is not nice to 130ish bowlers. Zaheer khan scraping through even with all experience in this flat pitches. England problem is more to do with their batting than bowling. Bowling was decent enough , better than India's bowling anyday.

Posted by Steve on (March 27, 2011, 20:44 GMT)

For me as an England fan of over 50 years I can say categorically that Andrew Strauss and co have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to apologise for! The England team has done us proud - during this arduous tour and performed beyond expactations. Furthermore they have conducted themselves with professionalism and sportsmanship which does every Englishman credit. The SL game could have been a lot closer; but when the ball hits the stumps/bails (with no success) and criucial catches go down it's hard to win! Anyhow, what better group of crciketers to lose to than Sri Lanka who are a credit to subcontinent cricket. Good luck to them and thanks again England ...... great job done!

Posted by Sagir on (March 27, 2011, 17:07 GMT)

nicely put Siddharth.. i also feel that not having a stable side added to England's woes in the tournament. they had a very solid and stable side for the Ashes, even though some were out of form. a good opening combination made a big difference as did a settled bowling attack. Australia had similar problems in the Ashes and they suffered for it. as for Anderson, he is a spell bowler.. he does well when the ball is swinging for him, otherwise he is toothless and this was exploited by the opposition. ECB and organisers to need to prioritise their events accordingly as i do not see the point in playing SEVEN ODIs after a 5-match test series. 3 should have sufficed, given players few days to rest and then prepare for the World Cup. In addition to this, the English first class schedule is very heavy and does take its toll on players. There needs to be a balance or England will risk losing players to injuries more often.

Posted by Praveen on (March 27, 2011, 11:49 GMT)

I agree with Strauss about the scheduling part. The seven match ODI series against Aussies could have been scheduled after the World Cup orit should have been scaled down to three. The English players looked spent and battered. ICC should improve their scheduling process for future games.

Posted by Senehas on (March 27, 2011, 11:05 GMT)

You guys should have played the same team which won the twenty20 world cup ( It's THE best English team I have ever seen) why change it ? where is Sidebottom ? This side is don't have variety...you guys won the Ashes (previous time that was played in England and won after so many years) the bowler who took most number of wickets (can't remember his name) didn't see him after that Ashes series...they don't stick to there winning combination. Ashes win in England lost to Australia in Australia, Ashes & twenty20 world champions, lost a 7 match 50 over series in Australia and kicked out of the world cup.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 27, 2011, 10:01 GMT)

It was great spirited performance overall in the tournament.Thanks for your honest admissions and no one can challange them.It was too ambitious to go through 7 one dayers after long dragging Ashes series.Lots to think about.We like to see you as the English captain for a long time simply because we like you Strauss.You are a true gentleman.

Posted by Anand on (March 27, 2011, 9:16 GMT)

Yes, England did not have enough quality to win the World Cup. It is amazing how they never seem to switch on for anything other than the Ashes. In a manner of speaking, the casualness with which they seem to approach series after series (other than the Ashes) is very disrespectful to their opponents. How can you not be switched on for a World Cup? If that doesn't get your tail up then what will? Their tie with India was an outstanding result. Their victory over the South Africans was engineered by SA alone! I don't think we will see an English team turning up (mentally) for anything other than the Ashes. I have been watching cricket for over 25 years and England is the most boring team of them all. The undue media hype only supports that opinion.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 27, 2011, 9:13 GMT)

Michael Vaughan was right, England are always blaming scheduling issues for their world cup woes while casually ignoring the fact that they have never been good enough or that perhaps they should have better preparation for it. To me it seems that recently English cricket has become obsessively fixated on winning an Ashes series and that they always play other series or tournaments whilst keeping one eye on it. They peaked in time for the Ashes series of '05 and once that was won it appeared that they had forgotten that cricket involves more than just beating Australia. Little wonder they have never looked like a real threat in world cups.

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