Starting as the favourite to win the ICC Cricket World Cup this time, the number one ODI team is eyeing the 50-over cricket championship as it plays with additional advantage as host.
England masterfully colonised almost a quarter of the world at the peak of the British Empire’s rule, but when it comes to winning sporting events, the country does pretty poorly. The English are yet to win the 50-over format though they claim cricket as their national game.
‘It’s coming home’
The famous slogan — ‘It’s coming home’ — used by English fans during the football world cup last year failed miserably and fans from other nations trolled England for their defeat. The team last won the FIFA tournament in 1966, when they were hosts.
After their success in 1966, they haven’t been able to repeat the magic for 52 long years and counting. Despite the English Premier League being one of the best in the world and producing legendary players every season, nothing could help the country’s success.
England’s best performance post 1966 was a fourth place finish in the 1990 and 2018. In the 2018 Russia FIFA World Cup, it was considered a favourite for the tournament. The 2018 edition saw all the new generation English players. The young team was in a hurry for the finals but they were blown away by the ‘dark horse’ Croatians.
It was last time the English fans cheered ‘It’s coming home’, which means ‘The cup is coming home.’ Tracing back the slogan, it was part of the official anthem ‘Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home)’ which was released for Euro Championships 1996, when the nation hosted the event. Though the fans supported these long years, the players were not able to keep their momentum alive. The support to the nation was at its peak last time and a Photoshopped image went viral when the team’s coach Gareth Southgate was seen wearing a waistcoat printed ‘It’s coming home’ on it.
Like football, it’s cricket
Like football, the nation suffers terribly in its national game, where the country hasn’t won the world cup for 11 editions. Now, England is hosting the tournament for the fifth time out of the 12 editions. So far, it could only secure the runner-up position in 1979, 1987 and 1992. Starting from 1996, the team parred poorly and was kicked out in the group stages except in 2011, when it reached the quarterfinals of the tournament.
The nation’s only trophy under ICC came from the 2010 T20 Cricket World Cup which was held in the West Indies.
Is England the real contender?
This time, the English cricket team is filled with a new generation of players like 2018 FIFA team. England is said to have started a new level of sport after the 2015 World Cup when it won 58 of the 88 matches it played with a winning percentage of 2.52. It is currently ranked No.1 in the ICC ODI rankings.
England’s captain Eion Morgan is the highest run scorer after the 2015 World Cup for the team with 3,039 runs at an average of 46.75 per match. The leggie Adil Rashid took 129 wickets and leads among the bowlers for maximum wickets taken post 2015.
After 2015, England has done well with batting performances. It has scored over 400 runs four out of five times after the 2015 WC, and a record of scoring 24 times in 300+ category. In the recently concluded series against Pakistan, England achieved a unique record of scoring four consecutive 340+ scores in a bilateral series.
Just before the World Cup, English players Jos Butler, Jonny Bairstow, Jofra Archer and Moeen Ali excelled in the Indian Premier League with their performances. With his extraordinary skills, Archer eventually featured in the World Cup squad.
World Cup 2019
The hosts advantage could really boost the team. The pitch is seen as battle-friendly; the English soil saw the most number of runs in the 50-over format since the 2015 World Cup, with 28,709 runs from 58 matches and 46 centuries scored.
England had a mixed warm-up game. It lost its first game to Australia, falling short of 12 runs while chasing a target of 298. In the other game it easily won against Afghanistan with a 9-wicket victory chasing 161 runs within 18 overs.
As the World Cup begins and England plays South Africa, let’s see if they can ‘bring it home.’