England’s white ball cricket coach Matthew Mott claims he ‘doesn’t have too many answers’ for his side’s World Cup slump… but insists he is ‘fully determined’ to help them get their ‘mojo back’ ahead of huge India clash
- England slumped to their fourth defeat at the Cricket World Cup vs Sri Lanka
- Matthew Mott has said that he is ‘fully determined’ to help the side improve
- Jos Buttler’s side sit joint-bottom of the standings and face India on Sunday
It is not even a year since the Jos Buttler-Matthew Mott ticket were celebrating victory at the T20 World Cup in Australia, a triumph that seemed to confirm England’s effortless evolution from the era of Eoin Morgan and Trevor Bayliss.
And yet in the swirl of emotions that followed Thursday’s implosion against Sri Lanka in Bangalore – a result that all but ended their hopes of defending the 50-over trophy – the questions moved from ‘what has gone wrong?’ to ‘are you the men to put things right?’
Buttler stated his case calmly, and it would be a surprise if he isn’t given the chance to defend the T20 title next summer in the Caribbean and the USA. He is 33, and remains a giant of English white-ball cricket, despite these past few weeks.
But Mott, the 50-year-old Australian who took the white-ball job when England split the coaching roles after Chris Silverwood’s sacking in early 2022, sounded slightly put out to be asked about his own future.
‘When you lose tournaments like this, everyone’s under scrutiny,’ he said. ‘I’m fully determined we can turn this around. I’ve got great faith in Jos. He’s hurting now and he’ll be feeling like there’s a lot on him.
England white ball cricket coach has admitted that he doesn’t have answers right now for why his side have suffered four losses at the Cricket World Cup
England suffered another upset to Sri Lanka on Thursday after having also been beaten by South Africa, Afghanistan and New Zealand
Jos Buttler’s side now sit joint-bottom of the Cricket World Cup standings and have a very slim chance of making it to the knock-out stages of the tournament
‘I certainly feel like I could have done things a lot better. But I’ve been in the job 18 months – we’ve won a World Cup and lost a World Cup. I think I’ve shown the capability that I can coach this team. And I’ve shown an ability to be able to turn things around. That’ll have to happen pretty quickly.’
On the evidence so far, England – who yesterday/today landed in the northern city of Lucknow ahead of Sunday’s game against the rampant hosts – look done, their four defeats taking turns to outdo each other for ineptitude.
And while the Test team have been playing thrilling cricket under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes, it is the one-day side who have lapsed into the timidity of old.
Mott has an impressive CV, sweeping the board with Australia’s all-powerful women’s team, then winning a World Cup with England’s men at the first time of asking.
But T20 cricket can be more forgiving than its 50-over cousin, and it is not unfair to ask whether these two hard-working, well-meaning introverts are the double act England need right now. When Mott insisted ‘Jos and I are incredibly aligned and united,’ he might have been diagnosing the problem, rather than stating his case for the defence.
And it’s not as if he offered much insight into why, after Dawid Malan had rattled along in the first few overs against Sri Lanka, the innings lost all momentum.
‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘I really don’t know. I don’t have too many answers for you at the moment. There’s a lot of good cricketers in that team, and whether it’s that the stars haven’t aligned, where we seem to have not everyone at the top of their game at once…’
Mott and McCullum know each other from their time together at Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, but their approaches are poles apart.
If McCullum is a creature of instinct, Mott dives into the data. It’s perhaps no coincidence that Rob Key, the managing director, suggested this week that England had been ‘overthinking’ the conditions.
And Mott admitted his team had been ‘spooked’ by their opening-night thrashing against New Zealand, subsequently reading too much into factors such as the dew.
The team take on India on Sunday, who currently sit joint-top alongside South Africa
Mott also claimed that his side would relish every opportunity to play now as they ‘try and find our mojo back again’
It’s possible he has been landed with a bunch of ageing stars who lack the hunger after winning two World Cups, and who have been beaten at their own game by the likes of India, South Africa and Australia – to say nothing of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
But, with four group games still to go, England’s coach is already falling back on pleas for his team to do something – anything – to stop the rot when they take on India, the tournament’s only unbeaten team.
‘As one of the selectors, I never look at age – I look at performance and form and all the things that go into it,’ he said.
‘We’ve got a lot to tick off. India are probably raging favourites at the moment, so I think that’s an opportunity to restore some pride and confidence. Every opportunity we get to play together is vital now, to try and find our mojo back again.’
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