The current Disney film Big Hero 6 involves a bunch of normal kids who suddenly attain superhero strengths. When looking at the English top six batting order, it is hard to see how they are capable of any such animation. James Taylor and Gary Ballance don't really look like they could destroy the forces of evil either. Charisma? Forget it. The creators of Big Hero 6 also made Frozen. The latter would be a far more suitable moniker for England's performances so far in Australia and New Zealand.
In the futuristic ODI world, England can only offer tools from the Stone Age. Their one modern day superpower, KP, came with a computer glitch that would eventually turn him into a felon. Their one-day batsmen (and bowlers) seem to suffer stage fright. Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad look like they are taking on any role just to get the pay cheque. The auditions are one-paced and boring, full of management talk and robotic drills. The players can't deliver their lines "live" on the pitch, even though the ECB has a budget that should be churning out A-listers.
It all goes back to a defensive mentality. Even when they had "successful" World Cups (runners-up in three of the first five tournaments) there was a mechanical way about England. In the Lord's final of 1979, Viv Richards and Collis King embarked on an assault to get West Indies up to near 300. The home team responded by opening up with Mike Brearley and Geoff Boycott. Hollywood stroke-makers are eviscerated. In a must-win match against South Africa during the 2007 tournament, Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell put on nine runs in the first seven overs. There is something clinically wrong with England in the 50-over format.
The Sri Lankans have now handed out two of the most horrible tonkings to England in World Cup history, after the 2011 quarter-final when Jonathan Trott hit two boundaries in his 86 as they crawled to 229. On that day, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga smashed their way home with 10 overs and 10 wickets to spare.
England were thumped by nine wickets on March 1 in Wellington. Bell started positively but slowed down and perished on 49. Gary Ballance's arrival slowed England down further before Joe Root broke the shackles. Buttler provided some late boost as England reached 309. Anderson and Broad have failed to make early inroads, exposing Chris Woakes as a jobbing actor.
The truth is that England are down on confidence. They fell flat against New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka, with the bat, ball and also on the field. They are in danger of not making the quarter-finals: A horror movie looms.