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Sam Collins: The English must learn to be better losers

October 6th, 2009 by Sam Collins in England, One-day cricket


This Champions Trophy very nearly relaunched English enthusiasm for one-day cricket. It ended with 100 words in The Times – marginally more coverage than Stephen Hendry received for reaching the last 16 of the Glasgow Grand Prix and a quarter of the space afforded to news that umpires have successfully petitioned to have the tea-break extended by five minutes. For the papers, as so often with England, it’s all or nothing.

On this website Sahil Dutta has already written off the competition, claiming “the best aspect of this Champions Trophy is that it will finish quickly.” Yet would we have taken the same view if England had somehow beaten Australia in the semis, or even managed to win the bloody thing? Or would it then have joined football’s Italia ’90 or Euro ’96 as misrepresented in the public consciousness – poor tournaments remembered as epics because of above-par results by England?

England were unusually calm in pursuit against Sri Lanka and almost unprecedentedly swashbuckling in setting South Africa over 300. For a moment it seemed that losing 6-1 to Australia had flicked a switch. Then came the fall – a struggle against the Kiwi new ball on a treacherous Wanderers wicket and another dismantling by that exceptional Australian team.

So what have we learnt? Not much. We are worse than Australia. We can be better than other teams but our batsmen are inconsistent. We have a couple of good young players coming through. We need more wicket-takers. Doing something about it is slightly more difficult. Perhaps first we, as a country, should focus on being slightly better losers.

Only caring about a format, or indeed a sport, when it is thrust under our faces, and then complaining when victory is not forthcoming is not conducive to success. Ask the LTA. Saying that we all hate 50-over cricket, removing it from the domestic calendar and scrubbing it from the newspapers when we are not involved is not going to make us improve, or inspire our young players to succeed.

When I spoke to Australia’s Peter Siddle about the 50-over game last month he expressed the usual concerns about the format’s limitations but was unequivocal about Australian commitment. “As long as 50-over cricket is played internationally Australia at least will be committed to playing the format domestically.” It is an attitude we would do well to follow.

Sam Collins is website editor of thewisdencricketer.com

Posted in England, One-day cricket | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Sam Collins: The English must learn to be better losers”

  1.   Winsome says:

    Good heavens, spot on. There is something so dated, tedious and childish about English fans and press being sniffy about short forms of the game, considering for about 2 days suddenly they were all over the CT tournament. If by some chance the English team had actually won, it would have seemed like the New Jerusalem of tournaments.

    It is so transparent an attitude. And quite frankly far more shameful than actually being ousted from the CT by a great of the game like Punter (and the nutter Watson.)

  2.   Quote of the day: 7/10/2009 | The Nurdler says:

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  3.   Gumbo says:

    We do all hate 50-over cricket though. It’s crap and the rest of the world is beginning to realise this.

    If England had won the Champions Trophy no one would have cared.

    And Euro 96 was a good tournament. Quality, attacking Czech, France, Portugal, and Croatia sides made the group stages and quarter-finals of a very high standards. The semis and final were let-downs, but they nearly always are in international tournaments.

    More football chat. That’s what we need on this cricket website.

  4.   Tom Redfern says:

    Great insight; how right you are.

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