England have been in steady decline since the inception of cricket while most other countries have continually improved and progressed. The biggest testament to this is the evolution of teams from the subcontinent into world beaters, having won four of the 11 World Cups, while England, despite having started the game, have never won the competition.
The English did, of course, triumph once in the T20 competition but the recent performances Down Under in the 50-over World Cup have again caused unrest amongst England fans. The media and retired players have severely criticised the ECB and its management of the team, with many decisions made to the detriment of team performance.
While every Test playing nation, barring perhaps Pakistan, had a strategy in place and a selection of players in accordance to it, England were found wanting. The decision of appointing Eoin Morgan as ODI captain just before the tournament and constant chopping and changing in the batting order clearly affected the stability of the team.
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It is pertinent to build a core of players and develop the team around them in the years leading up to a major tournament. Most teams have been successful in doing so - the Australian treble (1999-2007) is perhaps the best example of this strategy. Meanwhile, the ECB have been myopic in their of personnel for tours as well as home competitions.
There were certainly positives from the World Cup, notable among them being the performances of young talents like Joe Root and Jos Buttler. Also, Ben Stokes and Gary Ballance have shown that the future may be bright in Test cricket for England.
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A major upheaval is required and the ECB management needs a revamp in order to ensure that English cricket is not lost in the shadows of the present day giants.The senior players need to start taking responsibility and guide the younger talent. The selection of players should be format specific and roles of each player in bowling and batting department need to be clearly defined.
The talk of introducing IPL styled franchise based T20 competition shall benefit the younger generation significantly. Indian cricket has benefited immensely with the emergence of young talent in the ranks and English cricket should also follow suit.
Lastly, fiascos like the ones involving Messrs Pietersen, Cook and Flower need to be avoided as they do little to benefit team morale and harmony. The upcoming Ashes shall be stern test for the English and one certainly hopes that the ECB wakes up from its slumber to avoid any more catastrophes.
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