Thursday, June 13, 2024

Michael Atherton: ‘Foolish’ to write England off at T20 World Cup despite doom and gloom

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Sky Sports Cricket’s Michael Atherton thinks it is “foolish” to write defending champions England off at the T20 World Cup despite a poor start to the group stages.

England are in a precarious position at the T20 World Cup after a washout against Scotland in Barbados was followed by a defeat to a clinical Australia at the same venue, meaning their chances of qualifying into the Super 8s are in the hands of other teams even if they beat both Oman and Namibia.

The current set of results is painting a similar picture to England’s fate at the 50-over World Cup in India when they suffered a group-stage exit last autumn, once again when defending their title.

Despite the apparent “doom and gloom” surrounding England’s chances, Atherton believes it would be “foolish” to write Jos Buttler’s side off at this stage but concedes that they need two big performances in their final two group stage games to give themselves the best possible hope of qualifying.

“You look at the table, England’s net run rate is significantly worse than Scotland’s, isn’t it,” Atherton said on the Sky Sports Cricket podcast.

“I think it is still foolish to completely write off England and I think the doom and gloom is not just on the back of the defeat against Australia and the washout against Scotland, it is the hangover from the 50-over tournament in India where everything went wrong for England.

“Matthew Mott and Jos Buttler struggled to drag them out of the spiral of defeat and doom and gloom and there is that hangover still.

“That is what has irritated Buttler a bit because he gets asked questions about the India competition which England have tried to put to bed.

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Highlights from Barbados as England suffered a 36-run defeat to Australia to remain winless at the T20 World Cup

“I wouldn’t read too much into that. Again, the comparison was made between a very chilled and relaxed looking Mitch Marsh and Jos Buttler, but I was somebody who didn’t particularly like doing press conferences, I don’t think you can ever win in that game.

“Just because you get a bit grumpy in a press conference, I don’t think that necessarily translates into how you are in and around the team.

“England are still in the competition. They are going to have to win and win well twice but it would be foolish to completely write them off.”

England’s T20 World Cup fixtures

  • vs Scotland (Barbados) – Tuesday June 4 – Match abandoned
  • vs Australia (Barbados) – Saturday June 8 – lost by 36 runs
  • vs Oman (Antigua) – Thursday June 13 (8pm)
  • vs Namibia (Antigua) – Saturday June 15 (6pm)

Watch England take on Oman on Thursday June 13 from 7.30pm, first ball 8pm, live on Sky Sports.

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