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Feb 15 – A Letter from England

Oscar Wilde write “The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.” This could have been said by another Irishman, Eoin Morgan, and it is just as well. An Englishman could not have written with such optimism. The AUSvENG encounter was always a mismatch. One doesn’t send a boy to do a man’s work any more than one expects a bird to be scared of heights.

In a game where three golden ducks swam across the stage (2 Australian, 1 English) oblivious of the massacre in progress one could be forgiven for thinking that England was the land of hope and glory. Hope yes, for to hope beyond reason is in the English spirit, but glory no unless it is in the theatre of the absurd. That is where the match ended.

As Wilde wrote and James Taylor might bemoan “To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.” The ICC robbed him of an ODI century. He should sue the bastards and the newt in the third umpire box. A post match apology is worse than a poke up the backside.

Against this backdrop a note from James Morgan @thefulltoss seems as tamely upbeat as one could expect. Enjoy it. He writes well. There may be little other cheer in this World Cup for an Englishman.


Judging by the reaction on Twitter, it’s a good thing we don’t live in Russia or North Korea. Our XI cricketers would’ve been shot.

Personally, I’d be more inclined to shoot Peter Moores and David Saker. The former because we’ve got to take at least one positive from today; the latter because any bowling coach that advocates slow short balls as stock deliveries doesn’t deserve to be in a job.

You’d think Saker would know by now that bowling short doesn’t work very well. It hasn’t been working for years.

Having had my mini-rant, I actually think it’s important not to overreact too much to this result. Let’s face it, Australia are a far superior side to us. They’re at home; they’re on a roll. It was always going to be tough.

Yes, it’s incredibly frustrating to hear the channel nine commentators in full love-fest mode, but that’s been part and parcel of watching England play cricket down under for years. Let them have their moment. We’ll have ours in the rugby world cup later this year.

The fact of the matter is the seeds of this defeat were sown several months ago. We are an unsettled side, of average talent, playing in front of a hostile crowd. We also have a coach who has never won a single limited overs trophy in his entire career. It’s a bit harsh to expect him to start now.

Although I think Australia would have dismantled most sides in the world tonight – and the result won’t affect England’s ambition of getting through to the quarters or maybe even the semis – I was still scratching my head at the toss:

I understand why Bopara was dropped, but why make two big changes to the batting order? When you’ve got an unsettled team, keeping whatever stability you’ve got seems paramount.

In what universe is it wise to go into the biggest game for ages with both a new number three and a new number six? This is exactly the kind of boneheaded tinkering that makes Peter Moores anything but the best coach of his generation.

The logical thing to do would have been to keep the order the same and simply replace Bopara with Ballance at six. The latter has plenty of shots in his locker when he needs to show them. It was hardly a vote of confidence in Taylor’s ability. I’m glad he scored some runs just to stick two fingers up at the management team. And what a blinder he played too! Shame he was robbed of a century by some brainless officiating or nonsensical regulations.

So much of England’s performance was woeful today – dropping Finch on zero, bowling too short, batting like donuts – that it would be impossible to dissect it all here. I’ll let you guys do that in the comments section.

Besides, I don’t really have the appetite for a full post mortem myself because this game is essentially irrelevant in the scheme of things: depressingly enough, England’s cup finals will be against the mighty Scots and Bangladesh.

Overall I’m feeling a bit meh about today’s game. Yes it was rubbish but what do you expect?!

At least today brought one massive positive from a personal point of view. I’ve never been able to place who Mitchell Johnson reminds me of. It’s been bugging me for years. This morning I finally figured it out. It’s Freddy Mercury!


James Morgan

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