Until this morning, the England cricket team had provided the crowds at the World Cup cricket tournament with heart-stopping, nail-chewing, fingers-in-front-of-the-eyes entertainment for six matches in the row. All well and good, except the team lost almost as many games as they won, clawing their way to the semi-finals thanks only to massive incompetence by South Africa and the West Indies. The English finally ran out of gas playing Sri Lanka, a side that, quite simply, outplayed them. No one, least of all the England players it seems, was surprised by the result; frankly, they all looked a little relieved at finally getting to go home for an extended period of time. Some of the players have been on tour since late October, and it looked it.
Questions will no doubt be asked again as to why England are still so mediocre at the 50-over form of the game (they are currently World T20 champions and are on the rise as a Test playing nation). One answer must be that the English team were too conservative and didn’t adapt enough. Another, surely, must be that (despite all the protests to the contrary) they’re exhausted: numerous players had to return home injured, and one even flew to England early this week because of depression.
I can see how they might be tired. There are only three games left in this tournament, which has been going on for seven weeks, and I for one am looking forward to a little cricketing hiatus.