Five bad weeks do not define a team – England’s Ben Duckett

By Sports Desk November 30, 2023

Ben Duckett cast doubt on England overhauling their white-ball approach despite a wretched World Cup which he insisted “does not define a team”.

Duckett watched from home as England’s defence of the crown they won amid much fanfare in 2019 went badly awry, losing six of their first seven fixtures before claiming a couple of consolation wins.

England’s misery has led to speculation of a reset going forward and only half a dozen of the contingent from India are out in the Caribbean for an ODI series starting on Sunday in Antigua.

Duckett is one of the beneficiaries of a number of more established stars being rested but he was adamant that England do not need to make adjustments to a blueprint that served them so well for many years.

“We have watched how England have played cricket over the past eight years and one bad five weeks does not define a team,” Duckett said. “It’s probably been the greatest white-ball team ever.

“If we can go and play how they have played over the past eight years or even half as good that will be an achievement. We know how they want to play their cricket.

“I don’t think the approach is going to change because of how the World Cup went. I think the age is probably the factor. If they win that World Cup, the same group of players might be here.

“It was potentially guys who were late 30s and coming towards the end of their 50-over careers. So it seemed like there was always going to be a fresh start after it.”

Captain Jos Buttler, batter Harry Brook, all-rounders Liam Livingstone and Sam Curran and fast bowlers Gus Atkinson and Brydon Carse are the England players out in the West Indies who were at the World Cup.

Players on the fringes such as teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, big-hitting all-rounder Will Jacks and uncapped fast bowler John Turner now have an opportunity in these three matches over the next 10 days.

Duckett rejected the notion there was any additional burdens on this group after recent events, even if the left-handed batter admitted his desperation to shine to stay in England’s limited-overs plans.

“Not in the slightest,” he said. “We don’t feel pressure, you know? I think fresh is a good word. A group of players who can go and showcase what we can do.

“But I think for each and every one of us it’s important to perform. I need to go and prove that I’m good enough to be on this team and so do the other guys.”

Duckett has cemented himself into England’s Test team as an opener but even though he is renowned for his attack-minded mentality, he has been capped in just eight ODIs and 11 T20s in seven years.

In his most recent international appearance, Duckett registered an unbeaten hundred against Ireland in September as part of a second-string England side, with the big guns rested ahead of the World Cup.

At 29, he could be entering his peak and a mainstay in all three formats but Duckett, who is expected to bat in the middle-order this weekend, is refusing to taking anything for granted.

“I’m genuinely thinking about the next three weeks,” he added. “I know how difficult it is to stay in a side when there’s this many players.

“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned over the last 12 to 15 months is not thinking too far ahead.

“I’ve got to go and score runs this series to get to the next one, there’s people banging down the door who aren’t here so, I don’t think I’m a shoo-in for the next four years. I’d be silly to think that.”

Related items

  • Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave lambasts ICC for unfair economic model, hindering West Indies' resurgence Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave lambasts ICC for unfair economic model, hindering West Indies' resurgence

    In a scathing critique of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and major cricketing nations, Cricket West Indies (CWI) CEO Johnny Grave has accused the global cricketing body of deliberately obstructing the resurgence of West Indies cricket by maintaining an unjust economic model.

    Grave's outburst follows the West Indies' impressive performance in their tour of Australia from January to February 2024. The underdog West Indies, led by captain Kraig Brathwaite, secured a historic Test series draw against Australia, marking their first Test victory on Australian soil in 27 years.

    In a podcast with Daniel Gallan, Grave expressed his frustration, stating, "I think everyone is a bit sick of the phrase - world cricket needs a strong West Indies - when we definitely feel that world cricket is doing everything they can at almost every level to make sure that West Indies Cricket are never strong again."

    One of Grave's primary grievances is with the ICC's revenue share model, which he deems flawed. Grave alleged that West Indies' share of the revenue has dwindled from seven to five percent under the current model, despite headlines suggesting an increase in financial support.

    "I think that's the borne of the frustration of that as Ian Bishop says in his own words that this is a patronising tone. If you really want a strong West Indies Cricket, it would actually not be that hard to do a bit more. ICC are giving us more money in headlines but our percentage of revenue has gone down from seven to five percent, which we struggle to understand," Grave explained.

    The CWI CEO questioned the cricketing community's commitment to fairness, stating, "If we all just are looking after ourselves then are we really acting as a community? Are we putting the best product on the field?"

    This is not the first time Grave has criticized the ICC. In January, he had raised concerns about the economic disparity, claiming that the West Indies made no money from the men's and women's tour of Australia series, with the majority of revenue going to Cricket Australia.

    "The revenue-share model is completely broken," Grave stated. "If we really want to operate as a cricketing community, we are only as strong as the weakest team, and we've got to change the mindset of bilateral cricket.

     "CWI has spent over USD$ 2 million sending teams to Australia in the last four months, and whilst CA have received all the economic benefits from those series, we've seen zero dollars back. Is that really fair, reasonable, and sustainable?"

  • Alex Tudor backs Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum to inspire Ollie Robinson Alex Tudor backs Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum to inspire Ollie Robinson

    Ollie Robinson should have all the motivation he needs under the leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum to get back to firing on all cylinders, according to former England seamer Alex Tudor.

    Robinson’s fitness issues surfaced once more in Ranchi as a twinge in his troublesome back meant he was down on pace, sending down just 13 wicketless overs in the fourth Test and unused in India’s chase of 192 as the hosts went 3-1 ahead in the five-match series.

    Despite an outstanding record of 76 wickets at an average of 22.92 in 20 outings, there is again scrutiny at whether Robinson’s body can withstand the rigours of Test cricket.

    His previous competitive appearance was seven months ago – when a back spasm shortened his involvement – and a seamer described as the heir apparent to Stuart Broad now seems at a crossroads in his career.

    Tudor was a keen observer of Robinson’s underwhelming return in his role as a talkSPORT commentator and sympathises with the 30-year-old, as several injuries restricted him to 10 Tests between 1998 and 2002.

    But Tudor hopes Robinson can rediscover his mojo and argued there is no greater incentive for him than the chance to play under the relaxed environment cultivated by captain Stokes and head coach McCullum.

    “His place is definitely up for debate, which you wouldn’t have said a year or so ago,” Tudor told the PA news agency.

    “He’s a quality performer but he’s having a few issues with lasting a Test match. I’m sure he’ll want to sort this out because playing in and around this team, it’s what any cricketer would want.

    “England are full of positivity under Ben Stokes, who backs his team to the hilt, the same with Brendon McCullum. The atmosphere that they’re creating, any sportsperson would want to be a part of that.

    “I’m sure Ollie Robinson is no different but it’s for him to get it sorted to get his body right and show everybody what he can do.”

    England are due to arrive into Dharamsala on Sunday ahead of the fifth Test, starting on Thursday, with conditions expected to be wetter and cooler than what they have so far experienced on this tour.

    There has been persistent rain and hail showers in recent days in the small city at the foothills of the Himalayas in north India although the weather is forecast to brighten up ahead of the Test.

    Fast bowlers could therefore be called upon more at the HPCA Stadium, with James Anderson expected to shrug off a minor thigh issue to play as he looks for two more wickets to take him to 700 in Tests.

    “It will be another milestone in a glittering career,” Tudor said of the 41-year-old seamer. “I don’t think he would have ever dreamed of the haul of wickets he’d get when he first got into the team.

    “Getting to 700 wickets will be a fantastic milestone and one that I think no other seamer will get near again. Jimmy’s really shown the next generation how to go about things.”

    Tudor first met Anderson during the 2002/03 Ashes tour, with England’s now record wicket-taker then a shy 20-year-old as part of the ‘A’ team. Anderson made his international debut soon after.

    “Quite early on, the England team knew what they had,” Tudor added. “It would be foolish of me to say ‘I knew straight away he was going to have this illustrious career’.

    “But he’s evolved with the times, got better with age and got better and better. The biggest compliment I can give is I regard (ex-West Indies fast bowler) Malcolm Marshall as the greatest of all-time but Jimmy’s like the English version of Malcolm Marshall because he gets wickets all around the world.”

  • Chandler Cunningham-South pleased to be reaping the rewards after a ‘big step’ Chandler Cunningham-South pleased to be reaping the rewards after a ‘big step’

    Chandler Cunningham-South is relishing every minute of the Six Nations maelstrom as he prepares to play a part in England’s daunting clash with back-to-back Grand Slam chasers Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.

    Cunningham-South’s gamble in leaving New Zealand, where he had lived since the age of four, to return to the UK two years ago has paid off handsomely with his ascendancy to the full England squad for the first time this year.

    His debut off the bench in the opening win over Italy, and subsequent appearances against both Wales and Scotland, have appeared to make the Harlequins flanker an integral part of head coach Steve Borthwick’s long-term plans.

    “It has been a really big step up for me and I think I have done all right,” said Cunningham-South. “I think I am the youngest in the squad and I have been taken under a few people’s wings.

    “I like it. Especially when we were up in Edinburgh getting off the bus – all the heckling and yelling. That sort of stuff motivates me and gives me an extra bit of energy.

    “Twickenham is awesome to play at. You don’t actually realise how big the stadium is until you are on the field looking up. It seems to not stop. It was awesome – so loud, so passionate, a real cool place to play.”

    Cunningham-South, who was born in Sidcup, decided to head back over to England to pursue his rugby career after finding his opportunities limited in New Zealand.

    But he admits he had big moments of doubt after arriving in the midst of the Covid pandemic and finding himself struck down with the illness more or less immediately.

    “I got the opportunity over in England and it all happened pretty quickly,” he added. “It was a weird time because I was stuck inside for 18 days with Covid and I was like, ‘Did I make the right decision?’ But once I had got rid of the Covid and got into training I knew I had done.

    “I suppose it’s not meant to be easy. Moving over at that age I was a little homesick at first, but when you are working hard and having fun with new friends it gets pushed to the back of your head and I have been loving every minute of it.”

    Cunningham-South initially joined the London Irish academy in 2022, representing England in the under-20 Six Nations in the same year, before moving on to Harlequins when Irish folded due to financial issues.

    His swift ascent up the England ranks was confirmed when he came off the bench in the narrow opening win over Italy and Cunningham-South believes he is beginning to reap the benefits of his big career decision.

    “I needed to develop a lot and that’s why I wanted to be a part of an academy set-up,” he added.

    “And there was a definite mindset switch – what it takes to be a professional is very different to when you are playing uni rugby. I didn’t realise how much detail goes into the professional game. It was a bit of a shock, but it’s been good.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.