Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has slammed England's lacklustre performance against Sri Lanka in their ICC Men's Cricket World Cup match, calling them “extremely disinterested”.
England were bowled out for 156 on Thursday at M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, which Sri Lanka chased down in 26 overs to hand the Three Lions an eight-wicket loss, their fourth defeat in five games at the showpiece event.
Eight-wicket loss against Sri Lanka means that England's defence of their World Cup crown is all but over, with Jos Buttler-led team needing to win all of their remaining matches, produce a huge swing in net run rate and see other results go their way to stand any chance of reaching the semifinals.
"Combination of the two. England's body language from the start was as though they were extremely disinterested. You cannot bat in just one way. There isn't even one batter in this entire batting unit who wants to grind. There is a difference between being able to do it and wanting to do it," said Gautam Gambhir to Star Sports.
"A lot of players say that this is their style and it's up to you whether you select them or not. It means you are extremely selfish. Selfishness does not have any role in a team sport. It seemed like everyone was playing for their reputation and not for the country," he added.
England’s World Cup campaign has been a disaster, with four loss and one win, sitting in eighth position in the team's standings.
Gambhir also highlighted that England batters virtually threw away their wickets once Joe Root was dismissed. "After the first 7 overs, it seemed like England would score 350 or 400. After that, no one tried to grind or spend time in the middle. Extremely ordinary shots after Joe Root got out. There wasn't even one player who got out because of the wicket."
However, Gambhir was highly impressed with Sri Lanka’s excellent bowling and attacking fielding. "The good thing from Sri Lanka's point of view was that they played an excellent bowling attack. When you play three frontline fast bowlers, the captain always has the option of bowling a good bowler from one end,” he concluded.