The key questions answered as England’s dismal World Cup defence ends early

England’s hopes of defending their World Cup title officially ended at the hands of Australia in Ahmedabad, a sixth defeat from seven games for Jos Buttler’s deposed champions.

Here, the PA news agency addresses some of the key questions around their troubled time in India.

When can they call it a day and come home?

Incredibly, given the protracted nature of their downfall, England still have two games to play before they can finally draw the curtain on this regrettable chapter. They face the Netherlands on Wednesday in Pune and Pakistan in Kolkata on November 11. Only then can they get a long-awaited flight back to familiar shores.

What is left to play for?

Traditional sporting cliches dictate that England are playing for pride or, failing that, ‘the shirt’. But things are a little more concrete than that. They are currently rooted to bottom spot in the table and need to somehow climb to eighth place to book their place in the 2025 Champions Trophy. Seen as a mini World Cup and an important staging post in the four-year ODI cycle, they cannot afford to miss out.

Is this the end of the World Cup-winning class of 2019?

In total eight of that triumphant squad survived to defend their achievement and it has seemed a stretch too far. Captain Eoin Morgan felt his forces fading and retired last year, while Jason Roy was axed at the eleventh hour. Both now seem preferable fates to what has played out over the past month. Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root have both stated that they do not plan to go anywhere but may yet conclude that 2027 is too distant a target. Ben Stokes seems certain to return to ODI retirement, Moeen Ali is the oldest member of the squad at 36 while Mark Wood and Chris Woakes may be better used in other formats. Adil Rashid does not play Test cricket and is still needed, but change is coming fast.

Are jobs on the line?

Jos Buttler (left) and Matthew Mott (right) are feeling the heat.
Jos Buttler, left, and Matthew Mott, right, are feeling the heat (Andrew Mathews/PA)

Jos Buttler has cut an increasingly forlorn figure as he fronts up to every fresh defeat with the same glassy-eyed stare, but he is keen to continue as captain. The support from his team-mates appears genuine and with the likely churn of personnel it is not easy to identify an obvious successor. Work on that should begin soon, though. As for head coach Matthew Mott, the terrain looks trickier. Despite being in charge for last year’s T20 World Cup win in his native Australia he is a relative newcomer and has less credit in the bank with England. His position was undermined somewhat by Morgan’s comments about an ‘unsettled’ dressing room but making him the fall guy at this stage would not reflect well on those who appointed him and odds are that he will get the chance to show he can oversee a refresh of the set-up.

What is next for the limited-overs team?

The comically congested international schedule waits for no-one. As such, England’s selectors are currently putting together their next squads for a white-ball tour of the West Indies in December. Expect plenty of fresh faces for the ODI leg, which should represent the first building blocks of England’s revamp, but a more familiar looking T20 group. England will be defending their T20 crown next summer in the Caribbean and USA and some of those who fell short this time are likely to have a shot at redemption. Stokes, meanwhile, is heading for surgery on his left knee as he focuses on his role as Test captain.