I have not seen this England side play as badly in any back to back matches as they have against South Africa in Mumbai and now here against Sri Lanka.
They changed their tactics and side again in making three more changes and batting after winning the toss but, really, what’s most important is having players at the top of their games when you arrive at a World Cup.
And if you walked in that dressing room after this and asked the England players, hand on heart, whether they are in good nick only one or two could possibly say yes.
England’s form has deserted them at the worst possible time and compare that with, say, South Africa and India, whose batsmen all seem to be in great form, and someone like Glenn Maxwell who can hit a 40-ball century for Australia.
It’s easy to be wise after the event and say ‘it’s an old side, we should have picked Phil Salt or Will Jacks or Ben Duckett.’ But I would not have swapped any of the players England brought here for anyone else.
England suffered another dismal defeat in the Cricket World Cup to Sri Lanka on Thursday
England’s form has deserted them at the worst possible time and it feels like an end of an era
We are talking about some of the greatest players in our white-ball history but this has just turned out to be a bridge too far for some of them.
I wouldn’t have changed the side before this tournament but I would definitely be thinking about changing it now because It does feel like the end of an era.
That doesn’t take anything away from what this England side have achieved. We can be all doom and gloom and say ‘get rid of the lot of them’ but they have given us six or seven years of absolutely brilliant white-ball cricket.
What they have done is magical and all round the world franchises want England’s white ball players but what they have done in the last three weeks has not reflected the type of players they are and what Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler have created. Instead they have been a sad reflection of what they have been over the last few years.
What I don’t like to do is give players a cop out. We say how great they are when they win two World Cups but when the wheels come off some blame the structure of English cricket.
I’ve heard people at home are doing that but this is not the fault of the Hundred or the Blast or the fact England’s best players do not play much 50-over cricket. They are just lame excuses.
England have given us six or seven years of great white-ball cricket but the last three weeks have not reflected the type of players they are
How much 50-over cricket do Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli play? Or Heinrich Klaasen? Players around the world learn from T20 franchise cricket and ours learn from a domestic structure that helped make them the best white-ball side in the world.
The players must take the responsibility for this. I’m not a great one for cliches like playing for the badge but that’s what England have got to do now.
They have to go to Lucknow on Sunday and spoil India’s party. They must remind India and the world just how great cricketers they have been – and still are.