Darren Gough - “England have lacked cricket intelligence in this World Cup”

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IF England are to progress in the World Cup, they simply must start showing some cricketing intelligence.

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I asked Jonny Bairstow on the radio the other day if pressure is affecting the team and he was adamant it is not.

Darren Gough

What has happened in this tournament – which I think is great – is that every pitch we have played on has been different.

The teams who have played the best are the ones who have adapted to the conditions and England are not one of those.

They are playing the same brand of cricket and not using cricket intelligence.

I watched New Zealand in their game against Pakistan on Wednesday. Even though they lost, they showed intelligence and put themselves in with a chance after being 50-4.

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Australia have been excellent in all departments. So far, it is almost like the teams who have gone back to playing cricket like you did in the Nineties are getting the rewards.

The teams who are having a solid start and not losing wickets early on and building an innings and scoring heavily at the end are the ones who are doing well. That is how India and Australia have mainly played.

We need to be smarter as we are a better team than we have been showing. We have not lost a one-day series in England for four years and there has got to be a reason we have lost three games in two weeks now.

England have got to look at themselves and say: ‘there has been a reason for this, we have been a bit gung-ho on pitches that have been different everywhere we have gone.’

It is about building the foundations. Yet the problem is we are a batsman short in the squad. We have James Vince who is not getting any runs and Jason Roy has not been fit. Then, we have Tom Curran, who is not going to bowl a ball in the World Cup.

Looking at the Joe Denly situation, it was taken out of their hands. They did not pick him and with the benefit of hindsight, he could have done a job now.

England have two huge games coming up and it will be very difficult. They have to win both games, simple as that. If I was England, I would be worried.

All eyes are on the India game tomorrow. Looking at the pitch the other day at Edgbaston, I think it will suit India more than us. If the game is played on the same wicket, it looks like it is turning and sunshine is forecast.

Pakistan have got Bangladesh and Afghanistan and if England lose one game, Pakistan will back themselves to beat both.

So we have to win two games – if we do not, I think we will go out. The competition is getting lively. Australia are already in there and India are close and it puts the pressure on England.

I asked Jonny Bairstow on the radio the other day if pressure is affecting the team and he was adamant it is not.

Looking at England – as I have said all along in this column – it does not matter about winning games between World Cups. A lot of other teams are not bothered about them. It is a time for building and trying different things.

Australia obviously had troubles with two of their main players being banned and West Indies have had players go off and play tournaments around the world.

Other teams are swapping captains left, right and centre. England have played brilliant cricket when everyone else has taken their foot off the pedal.

Come the tournament, they put their foot on the pedal and suddenly found it difficult to have anywhere to go and have not got another button.

Being positive about England, if they do get to the semi-finals, they still have a good chance to win with the way they play and if the pitches are good.

They could end up playing New Zealand and then India or Australia in a final. So it is not like we cannot win it. But we have just got to play smarter cricket.

We are not assessing the conditions as well as we should.

Looking at the game at Lord’s against Australia, I think England were in denial a little bit in thinking they bowled well.

I actually thought they bowled terribly having won the toss and decided to bowl.

Chris Woakes was acceptable. But I think what went against them is that Jofra Archer had a difficult start and bowled a poor first ball which went for four from Aaron Finch.

After that, it was like watching our bowlers go into defence mode and not wanting to be driven. England bowled too short.

You only have to look at how Australia bowled at us with the new ball. They bowled really full half-volleys and because it was swinging, they took early wickets and that was the difference in the game. They bowled better with the new ball than we did.

As for the Aussies, as I have also said before, they are a good side. They have also made a great decision in picking Nathan Lyon; he is their best spinner and he simply has to play.

It has taken them a while to realise that they have got to play him. It is not about having a leg-spinner and ‘mystery’, it is about being accurate.

Adam Zampa has not got the accuracy of an Imran Tahir, Adil Rashid, Yuzvendra Chahal or Kuldeep Yadav, but the Aussies have now gone for Lyon and stuck to what they are good at.

Tuesday’s game at Lord’s was massive and Australia have now beaten England in their last two games.