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End of an era, admits England's Moeen

AFP . Ahmedabad
05 Nov 2023 16:13:10 | Update: 05 Nov 2023 16:21:59
End of an era, admits England's Moeen
England's Ben Stokes plays a shot during the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between England and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on November 4, 2023 — AFP Photo

Moeen Ali said England's exit from the Cricket World Cup could be the end of an era for the 2019 champions, admitting they had "not been good enough" in India.

England's sixth defeat in seven matches, a 33-run reverse against Australia in Ahmedabad on Saturday, ended their semi-final hopes and left them bottom of the 10-team standings.

Jos Buttler's struggling team started their title defence with a defeat to New Zealand at the same venue and although they then beat Bangladesh it proved to be their sole victory so far in a disastrous campaign.

A majority of the squad are in their 30s and unlikely to play in the next edition in 2027 as England looks to rebuild.

Asked if it was the end of a great 50-over team, the 36-year-old all-rounder Moeen responded: "Yeah, maybe."

England, captained by Buttler and coached by Matthew Mott, started as one of the tournament favourites but they flopped spectacularly, with multiple batting collapses.

They folded for 156 against Sri Lanka, 129 against hosts India, 215 in a mighty upset by Afghanistan, and fell short again chasing Australia's 286.

"It's just lack of confidence, especially in the batting department," said Moeen.

"The lack of runs, especially in a part of the world, where in India it can be nice to bat but it can be difficult, it's probably a different approach, but we haven't been good enough."

The Chris Woakes-led attack restricted Australia to 286 and kept India's powerful batting line-up down to 229-9 in their previous match, but England's batsmen failed to capitalise each time.

"The bowling has got better over the last two games in particular," said Moeen.

"But no positives really, we are bottom of the table with two points in a World Cup in which we expected to do better."

Anything could happen

Moeen tried to look to the future, recalling the 2015 World Cup debacle when Bangladesh knocked out Eoin Morgan's England.

They rebuilt to win their maiden 50-over World Cup at home four years ago and then triumphed in the T20 World Cup in Australia last year.

"I look at it as an exciting time going forward because there are so many good players, we know they are coming," Moeen said.

"Anything could happen there are still another four years before the next World Cup.

"Like 2015, we were terrible in the World Cup and we started again, almost started fresh and it can be exciting going forward."

Many of England's current stars including Buttler (33), Ben Stokes (32) Dawid Malan (36) and Joe Root (32) are unlikely to feature in the 2027 edition to be hosted jointly by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

But rising stars such as Harry Brook offer hope of an England resurrection.

On the topic of mental health in such dire times, Moeen said the players have stuck together.

"The support is there if somebody is mentally struggling," he told reporters.

"The guys are very open and we are very close as a group of players and if somebody needs our support then it's there for sure. These things could happen but it is a game of cricket, you try your best."