OPINION: England Must Choose – The Commonwealth Games Or The Next World Cup

From an England perspective, how you see the outcome of the 2022 World Cup will very-much depend on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty kind of person.

On the half-full face of the coin, England came second… but on the half-empty side, they lost half their games, and were trounced by a rampant Australia in the final. Bake-in a humiliating Ashes defeat, where their only points came from washouts, and the glass starts to look rather dry indeed.

So, where to now?

There will obviously be reviews, and the one that Australia conducted after their disappointment in 2017 is being held up as a model, but I’m unconvinced this is the right approach. Australia were already on an upward trajectory at that point, and only the greatest individual performance of all time stopped them winning that year anyway (unpopular opinion: they would have trounced England in the final).

England are an ageing team in need of some kind of a rebuild, but before they can embark on that, they need to answer one very important question – what do they want to win: the Commonwealth Games, or the next World Cup? Because it is one or the other – they can’t win both.

If they decide to prioritise the Commonwealth Games, they’ll stick with the current generation this summer – it definitely gives them their best chance of a gold medal, albeit Australia remain rampant favourites.

But by then it will be too late for the next World Cup, which will only be a couple of years away (remember, because of the postponement of this tournament, there is only a 3 year gap this time) and that won’t be time for the next generation to have built up the experience they need to be ready for 2025 – they’ll be half-baked at best.

If the decision is to stick with the current generation, that’s fine – it is a decision! But you have to acknowledge that by doing that, you are sacrificing the opportunity to win the World Cup next time around. If you want to rebuild for 2025 you have to start now, or it is too late.

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9 thoughts on “OPINION: England Must Choose – The Commonwealth Games Or The Next World Cup

  1. I can see England risking a hybrid approach using the tour matches and the commonwealth to give players a farewell (that they have earned). If it wasn’t for the Commonwealth we would’ve heard some retirement speeches on Sunday.

    But if they were really serious about a 50 over resurgence they would already have a domestic game restructure in place for this summer below the 100.

    The players can only develop as fast as the structure allows them too.

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  2. I think you’re being too harsh and negative.

    England did well to score 285. Sure, it was a long way short of 356, but if only one of the four players who scored in the 20s had made in the 60s or more, the result would have been reasonably close. It would have been even closer had England caught Healy’s and/or Haynes’s only half chances.

    The England team is a good team. It’s just that Australia is exceptional. To lose to a team like Australia in the way England did is certainly no humiliation, especially as it included an innings of 148 not out.

    As for the Commonwealth Games, it’s in only a few months’ time, and it’s T20. The England players are talented enough to be able to walk and chew gum simultaneously. Last England season they beat both India and New Zealand.

    Sure, it may be time after the Games for some of the more experienced players to move on. I’m thinking in particular of the two fast bowlers. But why not first let them have a chance to win a Games medal at a home Games? If the next WODI World Cup is still three years away, a few months is not going to make much difference.

    England simply doesn’t need to cast all of its old stalwarts aside in the same way it turfed out Lottie.

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    • “To lose to a team like Australia in the way England did is certainly no humiliation”. No. But you seem to be ignoring that England also lost to West Indies and South Africa, and barely scraped across the line against New Zealand.

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      • ….. and losing The Ashes in the way they did (without winning a single match) adds to point Raf is making. Bundled together (WC and Ashes) one would have to ask what word should one use if “humiliation”.is inappropriate. (And remember that using that word doesn’t necessarily criticise a single player – much focus has, for example, been on other issues).

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      • Hard to know what to make of results when you have one team in the mix that skews things as much as Australia, to be fair. I was surprised to see Sth Africa ranked #2 in the world at the start of the CWC – but then also saw they hadn’t played Australia since about 2019, and hardly played Eng either. Whereas Eng play Australia over and over.

        Is it really humiliation when 5 out of those 7 ODI losses are all to Aus? We are in outlier territory at the moment

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  3. The problem is how much 50 over cricket, decent international and domestic cricket the next generation will get in those 3 years. This team have done well inspite of ECB support not because of it.

    Senior players can be managed better as can the transition to youth, passing on experience etc

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  4. Why not both? Reminds me a bit of England’s push for Netball World Cup 2019 where they ‘accidentally’ won Comm Games gold along the way. The NWC bronze medal outcome probably appears to support your theory but for me it emphasised that the prevailing winds of an obscenely dominant Australia can get blown off course, twice in a row, by gutsy pretenders seizing the moment. WCGold medalists NZ were literally dubbed ‘the fossils’ by their coach they were so long in the tooth! Goes to show you never can tell, as the song goes.

    Basically, if KB wants to bowl in Birmingham & is fit to do so I’ll be on the streets with megaphone & placard demanding it happen!

    Also, yes, definitely an unpopular opinion in your piece above. Can we let England enjoy the joyful reality of their well earned world champion status of yesterday without imagining all the ways it wouldn’t have happened! As I recall India weren’t the only side to beat Australia in World Cup 2017.

    As for Comm Games etc , precisely because there’s such a quick turnaround between the next major tournaments is all the more reason not to hit panic mode dynamite rebuild imo. Whoever the team may consist of – build a strict culture of tight, athletic fielding, batting partnerships and cricket basics which has been frustratingly iffy for England quite a while before this World Cup; show me ONE bi-lateral series with indications of all that & I’ll be a much happier fan.

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  5. They won’t change too drastically for the CG as they’ll want to give the big (old?) guns a home farewell, but they should keep it to just the CG, the CG should also be used to blood a lot of new players including those under the radar at present as playing in a big pressure competition(And a home one to boot) would be a good way to learn.Darcy Brown will never be so bad again in her international matches because after a WC final no pressure will be as great. After the games keep Cross, Sciver (as captain), knight in the ranks, Beaumont, Ecclestone. Rest of the team made up of youngsters. Got to Build Bulid Build.
    This may not go down well but we also have to get rid of the 100 and concentrate on the formats that count, the womens game would be better served by concentrating on tests and WC formats only, not some ECB vanity project.

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  6. A couple of points.
    Firstly I agree England should start preparing now for the future starting with the Commonwealth games.
    Secondly please don’t distort the truth or take away from the achievements of the 2017 team. In winning that World Cup they beat every team including Australia in Bristol. To say they would have trounced England in the final is such a cheap throw away line based on no factual evidence. The following winter England went to Australia and drew the Ashes which again doesn’t support your argument. Australia may or may or may not have beaten England in that final but the fact is that we will never know.

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