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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

England's wretched campaign ends

March 04, 2003 19:39 IST

It may have been the Bulawayo rain which finally knocked England out of the cricket World Cup but the real damage had been done before they even set foot in Africa.

Yet another English World Cup campaign was all but doomed before it had really begun after Nasser Hussain's side were drawn with Zimbabwe in Group A.

In 1999, a row over bonuses ruined the team's preparations.

This time it was to be politics and death threats.

Hussain had pleaded with the British government, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the International Cricket Council to try to resolve the Zimbabwe issue by shifting the fixture to neighbouring South Africa.

In the end, though, it was left to Hussain and his squad -- who had received anonymous death threats if they played in Harare -- to make their decision, refusing to play because of security as well as moral and ethical concerns.

It took the players themselves around five days of meetings, during which time England did not train, to come to that decision.

There were rumours of a split within the squad and arguments with their own board, who then launched a series of ultimately unsuccessful appeals to move the game.

It was not the preparation of potential world champions.

When the prevarication finally ended and England boycotted Zimbabwe, those four forfeited points meant they had to beat at least two of India, Pakistan and Australia to reach the Super Sixes.

They began with less-than-convincing wins over the Netherlands and Namibia before England lifted themselves at Newlands and, helped by an advantageous toss, outplayed Pakistan.

James Anderson's emergence over the winter has been England's sole highlight and his four for 29 in Cape Town, while aided by the day-night conditions, suggested England had found a bowler capable of providing a long-term alternative to Darren Gough.

That night in Newlands, though, was soon followed by disappointment in Durban where England's lack of top-class technique was evident as they were beaten by India.


England lifted themselves once again to give Australia their toughest game of the World Cup.

Having restricted Hussain's team to 204, it seemed Ricky Ponting's side were in control but four wickets for Andrew Caddick hinted at a famous English win and an end to 13 consecutive defeats against the Australians.

At 138 for eight the world's best side seemed beaten but showed World Cup winning form by scraping home with two balls to spare.

It was a loss which summed up England's campaign.

It was left to the Bualwayo weather to administer the last rites to an wretched five weeks in South Africa.

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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Number of User Comments: 3

Sub: England out

England not finding a place in Super Six is poetic justice. England played politics by not playing against Zimbwabe . It was also overconfident about ...

Posted by S.Mukherjee

Sub: Good riddance to Brits

So happy to see the Brits (and Pakis) exit. It's pathetic that they have never won the game they invented!! BTW Australia is the only ...

Posted by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

Sub: englands exit

good riddance ... the most joyless team in the world ... apart from vaughan and flintoff they r not even good to watch when they ...

Posted by anand k


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