We’re not too concerned – Adil Rashid backing England to ‘bounce back strong’

Adil Rashid claims England are “not too concerned” about their shock defeat by Afghanistan and still believe they can breathe life back into their ailing World Cup campaign.

The reigning world champions have suffered two heavy losses in their first three matches in India, hammered by New Zealand on opening night in Ahmedabad before suffering a major upset in Delhi on Sunday, where underdogs Afghanistan coasted home by 69 runs.

The elongated group stage means all is not yet lost but England’s margin for error over the next six games is wafer thin and, with in-form South Africa up next and favourites India still to come, things are unlikely to get easier.

England suffered a shock defeat to Afghanistan
England suffered a shock defeat to Afghanistan (Manish Swarup/AP)

The precarious nature of their position will surely be causing alarm behind the scenes but Rashid, one of eight survivors from the 2019 squad who lifted the trophy despite losing three of their nine group games, did his best to present a calm public face.

“It’s part of cricket: you win some, you lose some and you can’t win every game,” he said.

“It’s part and parcel of the game. We’re not too concerned. It’s just a game that we’ve lost. We know we’ve got tough competition coming up, but I’m confident we can play really well as a unit moving forward.

“Hopefully we can put in some good performances and kickstart the competition. We know we’ve still got six games, hopefully we can win and get some good momentum going forward. I’m quite confident in the squad, in the team. I’m sure we’ll bounce back strong.”

England fans would be forgiven for hoping stronger words than those are being shared privately, with issues to address in terms of team selection, game management and mindset.

There is no shortage of time to ask tough questions either. England arrived in Mumbai on Monday and do not get a chance to work out their frustrations against South Africa for six days, with the Proteas flying in from the hills of Dharamshala after their clash with the Netherlands.

As such, the squad has been given the next two days off rather than being forced to pay for their struggles with additional net sessions and some families are due to join the tour.

Head coach Matthew Mott, who has yet to speak publicly on the trip, is expected to address the media on Tuesday.

Rashid was in the minority of England players to perform close to standard in the Afghanistan defeat, taking three for 42 with his leg-breaks, but he accepted the team’s collective efforts were lacking.

The 35-year-old even echoed concerns that the attacking, proactive approach that once marked his side out as trailblazers was not in evidence.

“Hopefully we can just park it behind us and play the way we know how, with the ball, with the bat…that real positive mindset and real aggressive cricket,” he said.

“Obviously we fell short with the bat and ball (this time). I don’t think we were aggressive enough or took the positive options.

England are facing a fight to retain their World Cup crown
England are facing a fight to retain their World Cup crown (Manish Swarup/AP)

“That’s cricket, that happens, it’s not every time you’re going to go out and smash sixes and fours – you’ve to assess the wicket and the pitch. It’s the same with the ball.

“You are going to have games where players are out of form but I do believe we’ve got the squad, we’ve got the team and we’ve got the mentality to still be hungry.

“We want to go as far as we can, but we’ve got to take it one step at a time, one game at a time, and see where it takes us.”