Thursday, June 13, 2024

Michael Vaughan: England’s White-Ball Setup Has Been Far Too Cosy For A Long Time

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Michael Vaughan has labelled England’s white-ball set-up “too cosy”, blaming the atmosphere in the side for their poor performance in the group stage of the 2024 T20 World Cup.

The former England captain’s criticism comes after England lost to Australia in their second group-stage game last weekend. Given their first-round washout to Scotland, and Scotland’s big win over Oman, they are now facing an exit from the competition before the Super Eight phase.

Writing in The Telegraph, Vaughan said: “We should not be surprised that England are in this mess. It has been far too cosy for too long in the white-ball set up. The team has been in decline for a while and is making the same mistakes all over again in selection and tactics.

“Looking from the outside, it seems to me the players are too powerful. It is all lovely and nice in the set-up but I have never seen lovely and nice win World Cups. Fundamentally, there is a new dynamic where they run the show without enough strong, disciplined leaders.”

If England are unable to beat Oman and Namibia by a big enough margin or other results in their group don’t go their way, they will face a second disastrous World Cup campaign in seven months. Having won the T20 World Cup in 2022 and held both white-ball World Cup trophies at the same time, this competition will mark a sharp decline in the second phase of the Jos Buttler-Matthew Mott era.

“I guess the one advantage in T20 cricket, is that it can turn around quickly and England have done it before,” wrote Vaughan. “They lost to Ireland two years ago but rallied to win the tournament. They can suddenly become world beaters and are a better group when they have copped a bit of criticism and have the point-to-prove mentality but it feels like a big step up this time.

“I love the free-spirited approach. It is how you coax the best out of players but English cricketers generally need a firm, guiding hand at the same time. In 2019 England won the World Cup playing fearless cricket but Eoin Morgan ran that team with an iron fist. Players knew where they stood and were wary of crossing him. Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower were two strong leaders as well. Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes need to start winning again but they changed the way the Test team plays by giving clear, robust leadership.

“It is frustrating because this time it is down to being too blasé, thinking it would all click with old players rediscovering their touch.”

England recalled Chris Jordan to their T20 World Cup squad for the 2024 edition, after almost a year outside of the white ball setup. Jordan returned figures of 2-44 against Australia, and 24 runs off the two overs he bowled against Scotland. Player of the Tournament in the last edition, Sam Curran, is also yet to feature in a match this time around, following a sharp decline in his returns with the ball over the last year.

There are also concerns over Jonny Bairstow’s form with the bat, after he scored a far from fluent seven off 13 balls against Australia. He played just six T20Is between his return from breaking his leg in 2022, and the start of the World Cup.

“We never sustain success for long in English cricket,” wrote Vaughan. “We have a couple of good years, win the odd trophy or big series and think we have made it only for everyone else to catch up and overtake.

“It is exactly what has happened to the white-ball team. It has been a stark awakening for them.”

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