Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Assistant coach Marcus Trescothick says England are “feeling the heat” of their World Cup struggles ahead of their must-win match against hosts India.

England arrived in India as defending champions but are on course to leave with their tail between their legs after losing four of their first five games, while another loss against the hosts on Sunday would represent their worst-ever sequence at the tournament.

The question marks are piling up with every disappointing result, with team selection, tactics and the England and Wales Cricket Board’s structural commitment to the 50-over game all under scrutiny.

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Bitesize highlights of Sri Lanka’s emphatic eight-wicket victory over England in Bangalore at the Cricket World Cup

Captain Jos Buttler and head coach Matthew Mott have both been forced to defend their positions and Trescothick made it clear the situation was taking its toll.

“It’s very challenging, obviously nowhere near the levels of performance we expect,” Trescothick told Sky Sports. “It’s been tough – we’ve done all the right things, we’ve done the same thing we normally do when we go through a competition time and preparation day for games.

“The guys are hitting the same sort of markers too. Performances just haven’t matched up to that on game day. We’ve been under pressure in different scenarios, and it’s just not quite worked out so far, but the boys are looking to put that right.”

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Jos Buttler says he can’t put his finger on why England aren’t reaching the standards they set themselves

Trescothick added to reporters: “We’re all feeling it. We’re all feeling the heat. It’s challenging for everyone. But what can you do? We prepared the same. Every practice we go through, we’re coming out the other side thinking we’re in a good place and feeling quite right. But it’s just not quite worked when we’ve gone into the games.”

The drop off in performance from a side who became the most feared white-ball side in the world on their way to the 2019 title has been so stark, there have been suggestions about England’s motivation to climb the mountain once more.

Asked if England had simply lost interest in the 50-over format, side-tracked by T20 and the ‘Bazball’ revolution in the Test arena, Trescothick resisted.

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Nasser Hussain believes blaming England’s cricket structure is a ‘lame’ excuse for the holders’ poor performance at the World Cup

“Forgive me, I don’t want to be blunt here, but we haven’t lost faith in what it is,” he responded. “I can’t really say too much more. We love playing any form of cricket, any form of the game that we play.

“We were desperate to come here and try and win back-to-back 50-over competitions. So, we’re still very much focused on all formats of the game.”

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Bitesize highlights of Sri Lanka’s emphatic eight-wicket victory over England in Bangalore at the Cricket World Cup

Morgan fears for ‘unsettling’ England against India

Lining up against India at their home can be a daunting experience at the best of times and doing so while devoid of confidence and form only makes matters worse.

Rohit Sharma’s side bring a 100 per cent record into the match and are likely to be aided by a highly partisan crowd and, if local reports on the ground are to be believed, a helpful turning pitch.

“The timing could not be any worse,” former England ODI captain Eoin Morgan told Sky Sports. “Given that India are still out-and-out favourites to win this tournament on home soil, that challenge becomes far bigger than that it probably would be if you were playing on a fresh pitch.

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Eoin Morgan reflects on England’s World Cup performance so far and previews their next match against India

“England just have to play what’s in front of them; I believe for a lot of this tournament, they’ve just been carrying all the things outside the camp, as opposed to their own performance. They need to stay in the present as long as they can tomorrow [Sunday], because they have the talent to conquer any challenge to this team.”

England head into the match bottom of the tournament after the Netherlands beat Bangladesh on Saturday, while India are looking to claim a sixth consecutive victory to secure their place in the semi-finals with three matches to spare.

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“I’ve never come across a sports team that has underperformed like this England team, given the level of expectation that is on their shoulders,” Morgan added. “They do have a lot of experience, both on the bench and in the side. There is something within the team that is definitely unsettled.

“The methods they are using, and given the substantial nature in which they’ve lost games, it calls into question the morale in the changing room, and the confidence. The job is not on the field in the game, it is in the changing room with the leaders.”

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England white-ball head coach Matthew Mott insisted team selection was not the reason his side slipped to a damaging eight-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka

More changes ahead for England?

England will surely consider bringing Harry Brook back into their under-performing batting line-up after surprisingly dropping him last time out, while Gus Atkinson, Sam Curran and the recently-arrived Brydon Carse all stand by to help refresh the bowling stocks.

India vice-captain Hardik Pandya will miss out as he continues to recover from a left ankle injury sustained in their victory over Bangladesh earlier in the tournament. Suryakumar Yadav replaced Pandya for India’s win over New Zealand and KL Rahul hinted they may do so again on Sunday.

Watch England in action against hosts India on Sunday (8am on Sky Sports Cricket, 8.30am start), with their qualification hopes in the balance. Watch every game of the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup live on Sky Sports. You can stream the tournament on NOW.

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