Nasser Hussain on England’s crushing loss to Sri Lanka in World Cup: ‘Never seen us play as badly’

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has said he has not seen the side “play as badly as that” after the team’s crushing loss to Sri Lanka in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.

Defending champions England were bowled out for a mere 156 runs in 33.2 overs against Sri Lanka at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday. Sri Lanka, in reply, did not break into a sweat as they chased it down with 24.2 overs and eight wickets to spare.

Jos Buttler’s England have lost three consecutive matches in the World Cup 2023. Having lost four out of their five matches in the tournament, England are on the brink of elimination. They have failed to live up to their tag of reigning champions with big losses to New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and a shock upset at the hands of Afghanistan.

“Back to back, I’ve not seen England play as badly as that. They’ve changed their tactics, they’ve gone back to their all-rounders. They changed the toss, they batted first,” Hussain said on Sky Sports.

“So it shows really that tactics are important, the team is important, what you do at the toss is important, but the most important thing in any sport and in cricket in particular, is having players at the top of their game, especially in a World Cup.”

T20 franchise leagues have grown all over the world,with teams reducing their game time in 50-over cricket. English cricket’s domestic 50-over competition has lost its First-Class status, taking place at the same time as The Hundred – a franchise 100-ball cricket tournament played and organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Following the recent debacle of England at the World Cup, a lot of the criticism has been directed towards the lack of attention given to domestic one-day cricket in England. However, Hussain believes it is unjustified and that it is like giving the players an excuse to escape from the performance in India. The former cricketer used the examples of Virat Kohli and Heinrich Klaasen to further explain his perspective.

“You are giving England players a chance to put all the blame on the domestic structure. It is the same structure that made the world champions in the fifty-over and twenty-over formats.

“Virat Kohli and Heinrich Klaasen don’t play domestic fifty-over games, and they learn from the T20 format. It is the players’ fault that England have struggled in India. They will have to take the responsibility,” added Hussain.

However, England are not the same side since the dramatic Super Over against New Zealand in the World Cup final in July 2019.

Eoin Morgan and Liam Plunkett have both retired from England international duty, all-rounder Ben Stokes is unable to bowl, while both Jason Roy and Jofra Archer have been deemed not fit for selection.

In addition, players including Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Jonny Bairstow, and Buttler have not even looked to be slightly close to their best form in the ongoing World Cup in India.

England’s next match in World Cup 2023 is against India, the only unbeaten side this campaign, in Lucknow on 29 October Saturday.