At least in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, the sun started setting on the British empire early and abruptly. After having started as hot favourites to win the tournament for the first time, thanks to their form and home advantages, England slipped at a vital time in the competition by losing two consecutive matches against Sri Lanka and Australia.
Those two losses have now left other teams like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at inch’s distance from the hosts and to revive the setting sun on their promising empire, the hosts will have to win their remaining two league matches. The task will be cut out since the remaining matches are scheduled against teams that are ahead of England in the points table: India and New Zealand. Jos Buttler has dismissed the idea that England are losing their cool after two straight defeats put their World Cup future in grave jeopardy, saying “pressure is a privilege”.
Three losses from their first seven group games have left the home side’s semi-final prospects hanging in the balance ahead of Sunday’s Edgbaston clash against an India team who have just replaced them on top of the world rankings. As tensions rise, opening batsman Jonny Bairstow found himself embroiled in a terse exchange with former England captain Michael Vaughan.
Pressure is a privilege sometimes
Vaughan rejected that suggestion in an Instagram post, criticising Bairstow’s “negative, pathetic mindset”. But Buttler played down the spat and said the mood in the camp was still positive. “Naturally there’s some external pressure,” he said. “It would be naive to say we’ve got our blinkers on and we’re not aware of things that are going on outside.
“I think we just have to accept those things as what happens during tournament cricket.”
Bairstow’s first-choice opening partner Jason Roy enjoyed a long and seemingly pain-free net on Friday and looks increasingly likely to return to the team after three games out with a torn hamstring.
“You talk about pressures, external pressures, well pressure is a privilege sometimes,” he added. “We’re in a very privileged position to be in this situation.”