Home » Sports » At Least, We Aren’t As Bad As England

IF you thought Zimbabwe’s painful elimination from the World Cup was a disaster, then maybe spare a thought for the hapless English — that country which has politicised and poisoned its cricket relationship with us.

And whose demonic media amplifies our challenges as if we are the worst team ever.

Yes, Zimbabwe became the first Test-playing nation to be knocked out of this World Cup amid all the drama that surrounded our penultimate Group B fixture against Ireland at the Blundstone Arena in Hobart on Saturday night.

But, the reality is that Zimbabwe should have beaten Ireland, and probably defeated both Pakistan and West Indies, if diabolical umpiring decisions had not gone against us in those three matches and Dav Whatmore and his charges would still be in this World Cup, sealing their quarter-final place, with a game to spare.

And, for all the criticism that the Zimbabwe team has suffered at the hands of the English media in recent years, whose team remains the only one that refuses to fulfil fixtures against us, there is credibility in the argument that we are a better team than their sorry lot.

And, how fulfilling it felt yesterday in Adelaide, to see the English being knocked out of this World Cup by a Bangladeshi side whose coaching staff includes one of us, our former skipper Heath Streak, who is now the Asian team’s bowling coach.

When Streak arrived in Bangladesh last year, he said his mission was to try and help their seamers find the cutting edge, in a team whose bowling attack has long been built on their ability to spin the ball, to give them chances of making a big impression on pitches, away from home, where the ball doesn’t turn that much.

Like the Aussie pitches, where the seamers are likely to make a bigger impression and cause more damage, and the impact of the Bangladesh pacers was always going to be a key part of whether they succeeded, or didn’t, at this World Cup.

Streak, therefore, had a big role to play and yesterday, as they knocked out the worst England team to be sent to the World Cup, it was key to note that the outstanding bowler was seamer Rubel Hossain.

His double strike in the 27th over, to dismiss Ian Bell for 63, edging one to ‘keeper Mushfiqur Rahim, and England captain Eoin Morgan for a duck, three balls later, with Shakib Al Hasan taking a big catch at deep fine leg, changed the game when the English had looked to be cruising.

And, when his team needed victory, with pressure written all over, Rubel struck twice in the 49th over to remove Stuart Broad and James Anderson and give Bangladesh one of their greatest victories in their history.

His 4-53 sent Bangladesh into the quarter-finals, and condemned England to an early flight back home, and their final game against Afghanistan will be hugely academic.

It was England’s fourth defeat in five Group A games and, although the statistics will show that they have the same record just like Zimbabwe, the reality is that the Chevrons did more, with less rewards, than the English at this World Cup.

Given the acrimony that exists between the two teams, and the way the English media is always ready to savage the Zimbabweans on the occasions they come short, to the extent of even questioning whether we still belong among the big boys, their elimination, without offering a shot, provided belated relief to the pain we suffered on Saturday.

“England have given a lot of people a lot to cheer about at this World Cup — Australians, New Zealanders, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, “British comedian and author, Andy Zaltzman, tweeted after the game.

“Right, I have to go and pack my bags. Bit of an English thing to do today. Still, two more points than Scotland, Gibraltar didn’t even qualify.” Aussie legend, Shane Warne, said “England had the wrong team, the wrong style of play and everyone could see it, tonight’s result not a shock. I feel for Morgan, coach in trouble.”

Brian Lara, the former West Indies superstar, also turned to Twitter for his thoughts.

“Please say goodbye to the English in a nice way,” tweeted Lara.

Statistics will show that we even have fared better than them, in the five Group matches that we have played, and while our batsmen, led by Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams, have scored 1 393 runs, the English batsmen have scored 1 226, from the same number of innings.

The opposition might be different but chances are that they would still have lost against the teams that beat us, by even bigger margins, while we were, in three of the cases — against the West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland — victims of demonic umpiring decisions that cost us the game.

Of course, just in case you were wondering the identity of the only team that England have beaten so far at this World Cup, look no further than their northern border, hapless Scotland, who were beaten by 116 runs.

While Taylor and Williams have been some of the best batsmen at this World Cup, in the group stages, the English don’t have anyone who can claim he has done well, with the bat, to justify inclusion among the top 10 performers.

We never scored under 200 runs, at this World Cup, while the sorry English were bundled out for just 123 in their match against New Zealand and were humiliated by Australia, their major forces in this game, who powered to an 111-run win, after dismissing their opponents for just 231.

Even when they scored more than 300 runs, as was the case against Sri Lanka, they were still humiliated as the Asians chased that target for the loss of just one wicket for a comprehensive nine-wicket win.

Now, even the Malaysians want to play them.

“When can we play@ECBcricket?” the Malaysian cricket authorities tweeted on their official Twitter account.

That might be funny, but it’s indeed, humiliating.

Source : The Herald