‘Loss against Ireland could ruin the momentum’
Graeme Swann needs his England teammates to improve fast after the shocking loss to Ireland showed the spinner cannot win a World Cup match alone — no matter how well he plays.
Swann took three wickets Wednesday to reduce Ireland to a seemingly hopeless 111-5 but the other bowlers served up plenty of wayward deliveries for Kevin O’Brien to smash the tournament’s quickest ever century off 50 balls.
“It’s disappointing to lose any game of cricket but it was one where we got ourselves into a position of such dominance,” Swann said. “To then have it taken away from us is quite shell shocking. “You can always bowl better. When a guy hits that many sixes, you are obviously putting the ball in the wrong place.” O’Brien struck 13 fours and six sixes to power Ireland to 329-7 and a three-wicket victory, leaving Swann’s 3-47 looking oddly economical alongside the figures next to the names of the other bowlers.
With four dropped catches costing England badly, more of the same in Sunday’s Group B match against South Africa could heap further humiliation on an already embarrassed side.
“The thing we’re doing that is so bad is dropping the danger men as well,” Swann said. “Often if you drop the tailender, you can overlook it. But when you drop the guys that go on to make big scores and win the opposition games, that’s a disturbing trend that we want to nip in the bud.”
Things have somehow gone dramatically wrong in the two months since the same players were rightly lauded for their discipline, teamwork and intelligence as England won the Ashes in Australia. “To win three-quarters of the game and throw it away so catastrophically, that’s the sort of thing that can ruin momentum,” Swann said.