Matthew Mott wary of ‘raging favourites’ as England look to avoid further shame

Head coach Matthew Mott admits England’s calamitous Cricket World Cup campaign could get even worse this weekend, placing India as “raging favourites” to inflict yet another defeat on his side.

The 2019 champions have blown their title defence in remarkable fashion, losing four of their first five matches in thumping fashion to lie ninth in the table, and things are about to get even tougher in Lucknow.

The hosts have been in swaggeringly good form, sitting pretty on top of the standings with a 100 per cent record, and carry all the momentum heading into Sunday’s meeting.

Even at their lowest historical ebbs England have never lost four on the bounce at a World Cup before but even the man in charge of ensuring that does not happen this time accepts the odds are against his team.

“We play India in a couple of days, the hosts, and they are probably raging favourites at the moment,” he said.

“But I think that’s an opportunity to restore some pride and confidence in the group. Every opportunity we get to play together is vital now to try and find our mojo again. It’s obviously too late for this tournament but we need to do that, we’ve got to find a response.

“We’ve definitely not performed anywhere near the level that we want to in this tournament, but our first priority at the moment is to make sure we come out and give India a good scrap and hopefully perform a lot better than we have.”

Despite knowing they will watching the knockout stages from home, England face the unenviable prospect of collecting even more aimless air miles between now and their final game on November 11.

And while rallying from the depths of their current position, fractionally above associates the Netherlands, is some motivation, even Mott has acknowledged a potentially grisly post-mortem awaits on the other side.

Jos Buttler has already reiterated his desire to oversee the next chapter and Mott is equally bullish about his position.

Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler has overseen a poor campaign so far (PA Wire)

“There’s no silver bullet for this,” he said.

“We’re going to have to sit down at the end of this tournament and look ourselves in the eyes and say ‘what can we do a little bit better?’.

“Jos and I are incredibly aligned and united. When you lose tournaments like this, everyone’s under scrutiny, everyone’s place will be questioned.

“I certainly feel like I could have done things a lot better but I’ve been in the job 18 months, we’ve won a World Cup and lost a World Cup. I think I’ve shown the capability that I can coach his team.

“I’ve shown an ability to be able to turn things around so that’ll have to happen pretty quickly, but, yeah, what will be will be.”

Between them, Mott and Buttler must now decide what to do about their team selection, which has been a revolving door since the start of the competition. Against Sri Lanka they fielded an entire XI aged 30 or above for the first time ever and came across a group that was demonstrably past its peak.

Former England seamer Steve Harmison has called for them to pass the torch immediately, picking Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Gus Atkinson and the recently arrived injury replacement Brydon Carse at the expense of older players.

Brook is sure to be a cornerstone player in the next four-year cycle and will surely come in to face India, but Mott insists he will not be picking a team purely by birth date.

“As one of the selectors I never look at age, I look at performance and form and all the things that go into it,” he said.

“I would say we’ll just try and keep picking our best side for the conditions, as we’ve tried to do all the way through.”