Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, feels the team's chances of success at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at home could be in jeopardy if they fail to address their batting implosions.
England, the No.1 side on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings, are one of the most explosive sides in the one-day format, making them favourites for the World Cup. However, they have a tendency to collapse – "every four or five games", as Vaughan put it.
Their most recent episode was in the second ODI against the Windies in Barbados, where they lost their last six wickets for just 35 runs to concede a 26-run defeat.
West Indies win by 26 runs!— ICC (@ICC) February 22, 2019
Sheldon Cottrell is the hero, finishing with 5/46, his best ODI figures.
What a collapse from England, who have lost 35/6. The series is level at 1-1.#WIvENG SCORE 👇https://t.co/lf2MbWLJwM pic.twitter.com/k3uthyoKkQ
"England have got everything required to win the World Cup except for these moments of madness," Vaughan was quoted as saying by BBC. "It happens every four or five games and if it happens in the semi-final then they are out."
According to Vaughan, winners of the last two editions of the 50-over World Cup didn't have this glaring flaw. "The India side around the time they won the 2011 World Cup didn't have the day England had in Barbados on Friday," he said. "The Australia side that won in 2015 lost the odd game but they didn't have moments like England do on a consistent basis."
In the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at home, too, England were touted as favourites. For some part of the tournament they looked in control, but in the semi-final against Pakistan, they slipped from 128/2 to be bundled out for 211. Pakistan chased the total down with eight wickets to spare and went on to win the trophy.
"It's not a [whole] game, it's almost just a period of the game" that hurts the team, Vaughan said. "In that Champions Trophy semi-final against Pakistan, it was just 10 or so overs where England lost four quick wickets and the game was over. That's my concern for them in the World Cup."
Vaughan felt the solution might be in England's batsmen adopting a more patient or old-school approach in certain sticky situations.
"England do get bored if they're not whacking it – if they have not struck a boundary in 10 balls they think, 'I have got to hit one'," he said.
"If they continue play in that fashion they will have games where they completely dominate. But they also have that one game, where I still have a bit of doubt that they might not be smart enough to see themselves through a 20-over period when a bit of old-school cricket might be required."
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