Plucky minnows England almost upset the World Cup form book last night in Adelaide. The unfancied no-hopers, with just a single win over Scotland and three absolute drubbings so far, really took the fight to Bangladesh’s mighty Tigers, falling an agonising 15 runs short of the target.
You have to feel for the boys in blue. Roared on by their raucous travelling support, Bangladesh, with a population of over 150 million one-day cricket fans, was always expected to be a tough assignment for lowly England, whose mere 50 million people are more interested in beer, skittles, darts and er, Test cricket.
England captain Eoin Morgan, brought in from Ireland at the last minute, such was the difficulty in getting a decent XI together, summed it up perfectly. “We tried ever so hard, but we’re just a bit shit really. We were OK in 1992 apparently, but I was just a wee lad then, so I can’t remember it. We’ve hardly played together as a unit, either. Look, all of their guys are Bangladeshis. We have to get guys from South Africa, Ireland, Iraq and whatnot. It’s not exactly conducive to team bonding.”
Asked if he was considering his England future, Morgan said he was always considering his future and would go on considering his future for as long as England wanted him to. Paceman Stuart Broad was more sanguine. “It’s only a game. And one-day cricket is a bit gay, anyway. It’s not my preferred format. I don’t really care as I’ve probably done enough to get an IPL contract, and my dad’s a Test match referee.” When it was gently suggested that this attitude might be perceived as a tad selfish, Broad became surly. “I don’t have to talk to the media. I’d much rather talk to my bank manager, to be honest.”
data analyst team coach Peter Moores was similarly coy about his position. “I’m not quitting. The last thing England needs right now is a quitter. I’m not sure why we lost – I’ll have to analyse the data. It could be that we got fewer runs than they did. Or that their bowlers took more wickets than we did. Until I get a clearer idea, it would be foolish to rush to judgements.”
Paul Downton, MD of the ECB, was trying to put a
desperate positive spin on things. “You have to admit it was comedy gold. Now that England are out, who is going to play the role of hapless idiots? The remaining teams only have a cricket competition to play out now. They’re missing us already.”
Sunday Telegraph cricket editor Scyld Berry was similarly cheerful in disaster. “I’m delighted, really; delighted and relieved. UK cricket writers are so much more comfortable writing about failure. We get to use big words like ‘shameful ignominy’ and ‘diabolical capitulation’. It’s just not in our DNA to show optimism or praise.”
Expert pundit Sir Geoffrey Boycott provided the final word. “They should have picked me. Or my buddy Pietersen. Or my mum with a stick of rhubarb. This lot are rubbish.” When it was pointed out to Lord Geoffrey that he had said that Buttler had been ‘playing superbly’ the ball before he got out, and later to ‘forget about Broad, his head’s gone’, just before Broad hit a massive six, the curmudgeonly old pro merely grinned impishly: “I’ve been a complete knob all my life so I hardly think it’s time to start changing now.”
[And that’s enough cricket posts for a while. Satire was extinguished with England’s exit. Back to news, politics, issues and stuff next time, folks]