Cricket World Cup: England’s defeat by Australia should be ‘slap in the face’

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A few months after they had been dumped out of the 2017 World Cup, the Australia squad gathered to look at their semi-final defeat by India.

Battered, bruised and with no world title in any format in their trophy cupboard, Meg Lanning’s workforce drew a line in the sand. They knew they had been good, however not ok.

“It was at that second it slapped us in the face,” says Lanning.

“We needed to do one thing totally different in any other case we might win most video games, however not the actually vital ones.

“It was the catalyst for a way we now have modified the manner we strategy our cricket, on and off the area.”

Lanning was talking on a gray Monday in Christchurch, the day after she acquired her fingers on the 50-over World Cup. It accomplished the set for Australia – they’re now holders of each girls’s World Cups and the Ashes.

Their record-breaking last victory over England was an superior show of energy, the crowning glory of maybe the greatest sports activities workforce on the planet.

For England, there isn’t any disgrace in shedding to such a dominant drive. To ask why they had been unable to cease the Aussies is like questioning if anybody may have crushed Arsenal’s Invincibles, run quicker than Usain Bolt or producer a routine higher than Nadia Comaneci’s excellent 10 on the uneven bars.

Sometimes, the opposition are simply too good.

On the face of it, England have had a winter that has roughly met expectations. They misplaced an Ashes collection they weren’t fancied to win, whereas most would have predicted a runners-up spot at the World Cup earlier than the event started.

But the satan is in the element. They went winless in the Ashes, and the wheels got here off after the exertions of a Test that they might, and doubtless should, have gained however almost misplaced.

The aftermath was six straight one-day worldwide defeats, together with three at the World Cup that just about resulted in a humiliating group-stage exit which might have most likely resulted in jobs coming beneath risk.

England return residence this week after the longest tour they’ve ever undertaken, greater than 100 days in Covid-induced ‘protected dwelling’. Players have 4 weeks off earlier than the residence summer time, which features a Commonwealth Games T20 event that’s the subsequent alternative to check themselves in opposition to Australia.

The unlucky reality for England – and the remainder of the world – is Australia are unlikely to get dramatically worse. If the hole goes to be closed, England should get a lot better.

That enchancment won’t simply should be in runs, wickets and catches, however in issues like athleticism, match-awareness and decision-making.

A stronger home set-up in England will assist to extra intently replicate the calls for of worldwide cricket, due to this fact guaranteeing gamers are higher ready after they step up.

However, the new construction, together with extra gamers on skilled contracts, is just two years outdated and has up to now been lived out solely throughout the pandemic. It will take time – possibly one other 4 or 5 years – for the England workforce to totally see the advantages.

In the brief time period, it feels seemingly that the England squad will see an inexpensive quantity of upheaval in the coming months and years.

No workforce at the World Cup had extra gamers aged 30 or over than England’s seven. Even although the subsequent 50-over event is just three years away, 36-year-old tempo bowler Katherine Brunt will certainly not be there and it appears unlikely her long-time new-ball associate Anya Shrubsole will make it both.

Replacements for openers Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt could should be discovered, whereas Lauren Winfield-Hill and Georgia Elwiss, the latter possessing a central contract however not in the World Cup squad, appear set to be moved on.

There is a promising core to construct on. It is scarcely plausible that left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone, the World Cup’s main wicket-taker, is just 22. She may have the profession of an all-time nice, maybe in tandem with off-spinner Charlie Dean, who is just 21. Beneath them, fellow spinners Mady Villiers and Sarah Glenn are in their early 20s.

At 23, Sophia Dunkley should develop into a bedrock of England’s batting, hopefully joined by Alice Capsey and Maia Bouchier. Lauren Bell and Issy Wong are thrilling fast-bowling prospects.

Will the prospect of shaping a brand new workforce entice Heather Knight, 31, to stay as captain?

After the last defeat, Knight doubled down on her resolution to area first, regardless of seeing her workforce chase leather-based as Australia racked up 356-5.

It was undoubtedly a mistake, however Knight doesn’t make many. Her level-headed management was a giant issue in England turning their three opening defeats right into a five-match successful run to the World Cup last.

The captaincy should be hers if she desires to maintain it, with help persevering with to return from all-rounder Nat Sciver, who, at 29, will nonetheless be at her peak at the 2025 World Cup.

Women’s cricket is about to embark on a brand new, relentless schedule. There are world occasions in every of the subsequent 9 years. Domestically, The Hundred in England and Big Bash in Australia are about to be joined by leagues in the Caribbean and Pakistan, and probably an Indian Premier League.

On high of that, England have the common Ashes cycle and a rising variety of Tests in opposition to groups reminiscent of India and South Africa.

The problem will be to nurture sufficient gamers in home cricket to drive the nationwide workforce ahead.

In Australia there about 120 girls taking part in skilled cricket for at the least a part of the yr, in comparison with a most of 70 in England.

That depth allowed Australia to soak up accidents to Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham and Tayla Vlaeminck with out lacking a beat at the World Cup. If England had suffered related losses, then the group-stage exit would most likely not have been averted.

A better variety of high-quality gamers in home cricket additionally helps these in the England workforce guard in opposition to complacency, offering a drive to enhance that may not have been there when the variety of elite feminine cricketers in the nation totalled not more than 20.

The constructing blocks are there for England – a gaggle of gifted younger gamers, a powerful captain who hopefully nonetheless has extra to provide and a home set-up that should develop in each dimension and high quality.

Now, they simply have to make use of the reminiscence of Australia celebrating with the World Cup in the Christchurch night time as their motivation to not let it occur once more.

To use Lanning’s phrases, it should be England’s slap in the face.

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