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Rating England’s World Cup squad following group-stage exit

2023 Cricket World Cup
Paramgoel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

England crashed out of the Cricket World Cup at the group stage with just three wins from their nine matches, and despite winning their final two games it was a dismal campaign for the defending champions which saw them beaten by the likes of Sri Lanka and Afghanistan as well as all four semi-finalists.

With calls to overhaul their one-day international team, and a new-look squad named for their tour of the West Indies next month, we rate the players who were involved in their dreadful title defence.

Dawid Malan

England’s leading run scorer with 404 at an average of 44.89, Malan also got their highest score of the tournament, with 140 against Bangladesh in their second game.

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At 36 he won’t be around for the next ODI World Cup in 2027, but could force his way back into England’s squad for the T20 World Cup next summer.

Despite a reasonably impressive tournament – and six centuries in 30 games at an average of over 55 – England are likely to move on from him in the 50-over format and prioritise younger players for the future.


Jonny Bairstow

Bairstow’s tournament perhaps encapsulates England’s tournament as a whole – he arrived in India expected to be one of the top run-scorers, but failed to ever get going, averaging 23 with a strike rate of 88.

The opener is still one of England’s best Test batsmen but could find himself discarded in this format, as his opening partner from their successful 2019 tournament Jason Roy was before this years’ campaign began.

At 34 it’s not unthinkable he could be around in 2027, but it seems unlikely; he could still feature in England’s T20 plans for the upcoming World Cup in that format.


Joe Root

Another player who flattered to deceive, Root averaged just over 30 with a top score of 82 coming against Bangladesh and looked badly out of form for much of his time in India.

England’s talisman has long been discarded in T20s, but has been a key member for his country in both Test and ODI cricket for many years.

Root is still only 32 and has every chance to play in the next World Cup, but England could decide to move on from him entirely in white-ball cricket to prioritise his red-ball career.


Ben Stokes

The hero from 2019, Stokes reversed his decision to retire from the format in 2022 to return for this World Cup, but missed the first three games through injury, and only managed to hit form with the bat for England’s last three games, when it was far too late for him to be the saviour this time.

Stokes smashed 108 against the Netherlands, having threatened another miracle against Australia in the previous game before falling for 64, and hit 84 in their final game against Pakistan, with his knee injury preventing him from bowling.

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It seems unlikely he has a future in this format, with both age and injuries likely to limit him to just his role as Test captain for the foreseeable future, although he could yet feature in the 2024 T20 World Cup.


Jos Buttler

England’s captain had a tournament to forget; poor decisions on the field coupled with a horror show with the bat, Buttler managed just 138 runs from his nine games.

His leadership was questioned throughout, and he found himself batting in the final ten overs of an innings just once, in England’s final game against Pakistan, highlighting how bad his side had been with the bad.

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Buttler is likely to remain captain of both white-ball teams for the foreseeable future, with the Champions Trophy taking place in Pakistan in 2025 after next year’s T20 tournament.


Harry Brook

England’s future star, Brook played only six of their nine games, scoring 66 against Afghanistan but having precious little else to show for his efforts.

Whilst he might not have set the competition alight, the muddled thinking of coach Matthew Mott was perhaps exposed when he was left out for three must-win games in a row, despite the failures of England’s more experienced men.

Undoubtedly will play a key role for his country across all three formats for many years to come.


Moeen Ali

36-year-old Ali has almost certainly played his last 50-over game for England, bowing out of the format after a dreadful campaign in which he averaged 15 with the bat, took just 5 wickets and was dropped for three games.

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Moeen has been a great servant to English cricket over the last decade, and could well feature in next year’s T20 World Cup, but he leaves the ODI arena averaging 24 with the bat and 48 with the ball.


Liam Livingstone

A dreadful tournament, Livingstone averaged 52 with the ball and just ten with the bat, and looked like a walking wicket for much of his time at the crease.

At 30-years-old, you’d be forgoven for expecting more from the all-rounder, who has had chances in all formats but failed to deliver consistently.

Livingstone has been named in both white-ball squads for their tour of the West Indies, but must do much more to nail down a place in the team.


Chris Woakes

Woakes endured a terrible start to the tournament, with the new-ball bowler taking just two wickets in his opening four games, but found some form at the back end, including taking 4 wickets against Australia and hitting a half-century against the Netherlands.

His best days are behind him in this format, but the Warwickshire pacer is still a quality bowler in red-ball cricket and could yet make next year’s T20 World Cup.


David Willey

England’s best bowler of the competition, Willey took 11 wickets from his six games and looked threatening throughout.

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The only member of the squad not handed a central contract by the ECB, Willey announced his international retirement during the tournament and bowed out in form, reminding England of what they could have had for a few more years at least had they treated the 33-year-old a little better.


Mark Wood

One of the fastest bowlers in the tournament, but his performances failed to match his impressive speeds, with Wood taking just six wickets from seven games, and routinely being smashed around the park.

Wood is no doubt a fantastic cricketer in all formats when at his best, but considering his injury problems throughout his career England may consider using him predominantly in Test cricket going forward.


Adil Rashid

Always a consistent performer, Rashid was England’s leading wicket taker with 15, including two against all of India, South Africa and Australia, the top three sides in the group stage.

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At the age of 35, Rashid may not make the next World Cup in 2027, but the spinners’ experience is invaluable and England will want him involved in the T20 World Cup next summer and potentially the 2025 Champions Trophy.


Sam Curran

Still only 25, Curran has a future for England in all formats, but this was not a World Cup to remember for him.

The all-rounder took just two wickets in the opening three games, scoring only 35 runs with the bat, and was dropped, not featuring again for the remaining six games.

Curran threatened during his younger years of being a star all-format all-rounder for England, impressing with both bat and ball, and has every chance to play in the 2027 World Cup, but needs to find his form again.


Reece Topley

Topley’s England career has been wrecked by injuries, with the pacer managing just three games before breaking his finger and being ruled out of the tournament.

The 29-year-old however made a big impact in those three games, taking eight wickets after inexplicably being left out of their opener against New Zealand, including 4/43 against Bangladesh.

Topley undoubtedly has a future for England in both white-ball formats, but will need to be managed carefully if he is to make it to the next World Cup.


Gus Atkinson

The 25-year-old only made his international debut a month before the tournament, but did not look out of place when he was given an opportunity.

Atkinson took four wickets from his three games, impressing with 2/60 in very hot conditions against South Africa, and will play a massive role for England potentially in all three formats as his career goes on.



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