Former captain Michael Atherton believes there is no need for a complete reset of the England one-day cricket set-up, despite the holders being knocked out of the World Cup with a whimper.
Coming into the tournament as holders of both the ODI and T20 World Cups, England were expected at the very least to reach the last four in India, especially with Ben Stokes having come out of retirement to take part.
Instead, England will finish seventh in the group of 10, behind Afghanistan, having won only three matches all tournament.
Such a meagre defence of their title led to widespread calls for a change of coach, captain and overhaul of personnel – replacing the old with the young.
In response, just six players from England’s ODI World Cup were announced in a new-look squad for their white-ball tour of West Indies in December.
Dawid Malan was left out entirely while Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Chris Woakes are only included for the T20s.
Speaking ahead of the squad announcement, Atherton had urged caution in ripping up England’s 50-over side.
Atherton said: “There definitely needs to be some fresh blood in there. You have to have half an eye on the Champions Trophy in 2025 and the next World Cup in 2027.
“But I don’t believe in just ripping everything up. It’s not much of a template that I’ve seen be successful in the past in terms of regeneration. I think you do regenerate but you do it smartly and wisely and there are still some very good cricketers in that dressing room by any estimation, and they would deserve their place in any England 50-over side.
“So it’s not a complete reset, but it’s just a gradual regeneration and introduction of fresh blood. And let’s not forget some of the quality in England’s domestic cricket in terms of white-ball cricketers that are out there is amazing. You think of the people who are not here, people like Ben Duckett, people like Will Jacks, those kinds of guys, so there’s plenty to come in.
‘You aren’t classed as over the hill in six or seven weeks’
“England’s average age is 31. You don’t go over the hill in six or seven weeks. I actually took a little bit of time just to compare age profiles with some of the other top teams. India’s average age is 31, New Zealand’s average age is 31, Australia’s average age is 31. England have got four players under 30 in their squad, New Zealand have only got three. New Zealand, like England, have got some veterans of three World Cups in their mid-30s.
“So I don’t think this team is suddenly over the hill. What I do think is that over the last couple of years the focus has been so much on T20, for obvious reasons, with two T20 World Cups, the team had just slightly forgotten how long a 50-over game is.
“I think it’s closer to Test cricket than T20. I think the rhythm of it is different to T20. I just feel they need to kind of reacquaint themselves with that format, but that’s partly the problem of trying to stretch your resources over three different forms.
“England’s performance here is a reminder going forward that you do need to play a bit of 50-over cricket.”
Morgan: Buttler needs time to let dust settle
One of the most popular calls as England look at ways to turn things around is a change of skipper, but former captain Eoin Morgan does not believe the current one, Jos Buttler, needs to take any decisions just yet.
“He (Buttler) will feel sad and incredibly disappointed,” said Morgan. “I think he is very proud guy, unbelievable competitor, and he always strives not only for himself to do better, but he desperately wants the team to be successful.
“He was there in 2015 where we got beaten up and down in Australia and New Zealand, so he knows how tough it is to compete with the best in the world, but deep down he will know that this is a missed opportunity because of the quality of player he has within his team.
“The only thing that will help him gain clarity moving forward in the coming weeks is just time, because it takes time to get over an experience like this. You need the dust to settle. Have a look back and look back at the notes that you made throughout the tournament. What was lacking, where you thought you could improve both on and off the field and try and use them to learn.
“Ben (Stokes) nailed it earlier on when he said some of your biggest and hardest lessons are on days where you are humiliated.”
The group stage reaches its conclusion on Sunday, with tournament hosts and unbeaten India facing a Netherlands side who are currently bottom of the standings (8am on Sky Sports Cricket, 8.30am start).
The semi-final line-up is now confirmed, with India playing fourth-placed New Zealand in Mumbai on Wednesday before Australia take on South Africa in Mumbai a day later. Build-up of those matches begins on Sky Sports Cricket from 8am on those days, with matches starting at 8.30am.
England, eliminated from the tournament, are next in action next month when they travel to the West Indies for a three-match ODI series (starting December 3) and a five-match T20 series (beginning December 12).
Watch every match from the Cricket World Cup live Sky Sports, including the final in Ahmedabad on Sunday November 19. Stream the tournament without a contract through NOW.