In the second of our group previews, we take a look at Group B, which includes the hosts England, 2007 runners-up Pakistan, and the Netherlands, who will be hoping to cause an upset.
Martyn Corrin - ARTICLES
Another series, another defeat. Four years ago England were on a winning streak where series after series was won. Those days and the players that formed the core of that successful side are long becoming distant memories as England have steadily returned to a losing habit that so many of the current side grew up grimacing over as supporters. It has been a highly unsuccessful series in the Caribbean and the short-term future does not look too promising for the England cricket team.
Sir Alf Ramsey is highly regarded in England. He led the England football team to World Cup glory in 1966. The FA sacked him in 1973 shortly after his side failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup. Sir Clive Woodward is pretty famous as well; he led the Rugby team to a monumental triumph on the world stage in 2003. He then oversaw the beginning of a dramatic decline in the England side, before resigning in September 2004 and taking control of a disastrous British Lions tour. How about another? Linford Christie, you might have heard him, ruled the 100 metre sprint world from 1992 until 1994. His international career ended in disqualification at the 1996 Olympics for two false starts in a race he would probably have finished 6th or 7th in. And he went on to fail a drugs test when running as a retired athlete at an indoor meeting a few years later. The English don’t do “going out on a high”, it’s not for us. Sadly, alongside Ramsey, Woodward and Christie (and countless others) you can place Michael Vaughan, former England captain.
A dangerous game we all play at some point is virtual history, that is what if? But the weight on England’s shoulders these last three years has been the monumental Ashes victory in 2005 and many have said that England have wished to replicate too much of the same thing since. The focus of the English on the Ashes above all else has been a constant criticism both at home and abroad and too many selections have said to have been based around the yearning for those magical days in the fantastic summer that was 2005. Is this fair? Have English selections been unduly influenced by a desire for what was? Was the Ashes victory of 05 detrimental to English cricket. What would have happened if the series had ended all square and the Aussies kept hold of the urn?