I didn’t watch all of it because I was hiding behind the sofa. Even though I was alone, and probably several miles from the nearest Irishman, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so embarrassed – and that includes the time my shorts fell down when I jumped into a swimming pool full of girls as a child.
First of all, we have to say well done to Kevin O’Brien. He had his luck, but he was sensational. To hit the fastest ever century in the World Cup history (off 50 balls) was special – even though it was against England’s bunch of schoolgirls. It is not an understatement to say that he singlehandedly won the game for Ireland.
However, to score at that kind of rate you need a bit of help from the opposition – and boy did he get some. England’s batsmen generally played well in compiling 327-8, but the bowling was another story. Let’s just say that my six week old son could’ve done better.
I don’t know what was worse. Was it the way we bowled, or the way we panicked and crumbled under pressure? Come to think of it, it was neither. It was our arrogance and complacency when Ireland were reduced to 111-5. It was also our unsightly and unsavoury petulance when things started to go wrong.
When O’Brien launched one of the many tame ‘bouncers’ bowled by the Jimmy Anderson, England’s supposed spearhead gave the rotund Irishman a volley of abuse. It was needless and petulant.
What’s more, sledging someone when you’ve just been launched for six is quite frankly brainless, especially when the bloke in question is five times as big as you. Jimmy needs to grow up and learn how to bowl when the slog is on. He wasn’t left out of the World T20 for nothing.
Stuart Broad also predictably lost control (I’m talking about his temper as well as his line & length). Meanwhile, the hapless Mike Yardy surely lost his credibility as an international bowler. The sequence of short leg-side longhops he dished up would have looked poor in an U-13 match. There is no excuse when you bowl at his pace and don’t even spin the ball.
Thus far our bowlers have bowled poorly in all three of our World Cup matches. They were bad against India, abject against the Netherlands, but I’m struggling to think of a word to describe their performance today. ‘Lamentable’ doesn’t quite do it, ‘dismal’ isn’t strong enough, and ‘pathetic’ is used too frequently to convey the levels of ineptitude they reached today. Let’s just say that Anderson, Broad, Bresnan and Yardy made Mitchell Johnson’s Ashes performances look good.
Changes must be made, or it won’t be long before England’s best cricketers start trying to qualify for Ireland. On today’s evidence, Eoin Morgan may decide to do an Ed Joyce.