Brainless bowlers face the axe after horror show

Andy Lloyd
SADLY the thrilling run chase against India proved to be a false dawn and defeat against Ireland must act as one almighty wake-up call for England.

The first thing to say is that these sorts of upsets just shouldn’t happen. Instances of minnows turning over the heavyweights usually occur when the pitch is a minefield, but that was hardly the case yesterday with both teams easily passing 300.

England need to change and in a big way. James Anderson and Stuart Broad are poster boys and leaders of the attack, but there is no room for sentiment here.

Anderson is woefully out of sorts and should be dropped in favour of Ajmal Shahzad, assuming Broad is fit enough to play against South Africa on Sunday. It’s difficult to believe this is the same attack that bowled with such control and discipline to win the Ashes in Australia just a few short months ago.

When someone is smacking you around the park you’ve got to use your brain. Yorkers are an essential part of a one-day bowler’s armoury, if you hit one of those for six good luck to you, but nobody seems capable of producing them when it counts.

The moment that summed up England’s incompetence arrived once they’d finally removed the outstanding Kevin O’Brien.

With a new batsman at the crease Broad needed to tuck him up and not give him room to swing. I’m sure Trent Johnston couldn’t believe his eyes when he instead received a wide full toss which got the treatment it deserved.

Andrew Strauss must shoulder some of the blame. I’m sure I must sound like a broken recor?d but Paul Collingwood isn’t being given enough overs. He is using his brain, taking pace off the ball and he went for just five runs an over against Ireland. So why didn’t Strauss bowl him out?

It’s inevitable the excuse of tiredness and burnout will be used in defence of these performances. But the World Cup hasn’t just been snuck into the calendar. It’s been there, set in stone for ages and I’d hazard a guess that the next one will be four years time too.

Plans should have been formulated a long time ago, and if the players weren’t capable of executing them, find some that are.

Coach Andy Flower has been forced into a situation whereby he’s having to act on the hoof and make some big, big calls in terms of selection.

Previous regimes may not have had the bottle to drop star players, but that’s not the case with Flower. If I were Anderson or Broad I’d be getting ready to carry the drinks on Sunday.