Ben Stokes bemoans England's woeful World Cup
Root says struggling English team better 'man for man' than Australia
November 3, 2023 02:49 PM
England's Ben Stokes on Friday conceded that "nothing's worked" in a disastrous World Cup campaign.
The defending champions have lost five of their six matches to lie bottom of the 10-team table and another defeat on Saturday in Ahmedabad against arch-rivals Australia will end even their slimmest hopes of squeezing into the semi-finals.
"I think the problem is that we've been crap. To be honest with you, we've been crap," Stokes said.
"Everything we've tried throughout this World Cup, through trying to put pressure back onto the opposition in a way in which we know, or trying to soak up the pressure in a different way, which we know we've done before and been successful with, it's just not worked."
Stokes added: "Every opportunity that we've had in front of us where we feel like we can take control of the game, the opposition's managed to get it back towards them. And we've just not been able to put a full game together."
England have brushed aside any talk of an unlikely mathematical equation of making the final-four if they win their remaining three matches.
But a clash with five-time champions Australia does excite Stokes and his teammates, three months after an acrimonious Ashes series ended 2-2.
"England-Australia in any sport whenever the two nations play against each it's always a big occasion," said Stokes.
After facing Australia, the defending champions still have to play the Netherland in Pune on November 8 and Pakistan at Kolkata on November 11.
"We've had a disastrous World Cup and there's no point sugarcoating that because it's the truth. But we know these last three games, for us, we've got a lot to play for," said Stokes.
"I think the biggest thing that we've got to play for is obviously the pride of what it is to put the three lions on your chest, walking out onto the field every time is a very special occasion and something that we value very highly."
Joe Root struck a defiant tone ahead of England's World Cup clash with Australia saying his team is better "man for man" than their old rivals despite being bottom of the pile.
The defending champions have just one win from six matches and a loss to Australia in Ahmedabad on Saturday will confirm that their meek title defence is over.
"Man for man I'd have this team every day over the Australians," said Root, according to British media.
"We might not have played as well as we can do but we know when we play our best stuff, the best teams struggle to compete with us."
He added: "We've just got to look at Saturday as our World Cup final and play in the manner that's expected of us and we expect of ourselves."
Australia captain Pat Cummins on Friday made light of Root's comments, saying: "Of course he'd say that, (I) would say the same about our team. I wouldn't read too much into it."
Australia are third in the table and on course for the semi-finals.
In contrast, England have suffered four straight losses including going down to Afghanistan and most recently hosts India in a hugely disappointing tournament for the 2019 champions.
They are last in the 10-team table with even the Netherlands above them, and in danger of missing the 2025 Champions Trophy qualification.
England must finish in the top seven to qualify for the 50-over tournament in Pakistan.
Root said England's World Cup flop "hurt".
"It always hurts to be in this position, to be sat at the bottom of the table," he said.
"It's not what we expect of ourselves. If it motivates us a little bit more, then great."
Root has made 175 runs in six matches but his previous four scores of zero, three, two and 11 have been reflective of England's poor performances.
Root insisted he felt "really good in (his) game".
"It's been really disappointing to not be more consistent, that's what I expect of myself," he said.
"Saturday is another opportunity to go and score runs, do what I expect of myself and what the team expects of me."