The inevitable was confirmed on Saturday evening when England were dumped out of the Cricket World Cup, by Australia of all teams.
Jos Buttler’s side went into the tournament as reigning champions but have so far picked up just a solitary win in India, against Bangladesh.
And given the format of the World Cup, they’ll need to slog it out against the Netherlands and Pakistan this week before they can think of returning home with their tails between their legs.
England abject failures
So many things went wrong on the subcontinent and there is a case for saying that England were simply outplayed by their various opponents.
But in reality Matthew Mott’s side didn’t help themselves at all, and that is undoubtedly a major contributing factor to their failure.
They to-and-froed about selection, initially excluding Harry Brook for Jason Roy before reversing the decision. They also touted the possibility of a number of reserve players before backtracking on that policy and taking none.
Then there were the England and Wales Cricket Board central contracts, in which every member of the squad out in India received one besides David Willey, who has now retired from international cricket.
“Upset, angry, disappointed. I think that, for me, made my decision a lot easier,” Willey said.
“These conversations around contracts all happened before we came out [to the World Cup]. I knew I was the only one that didn’t have one.
“It was difficult. I felt, with two World Cups in 12 months, and knowing my position in the squad should there be injuries or whatever, I’d have a chance.”
The future for Mott
It is uncertain as to whether this had an effect on the side but when former captain Eoin Morgan described the changing room as “unsettled” few came out in staunch disagreement.
Further to issues in the dressing room, it became apparent that head coach Mott did not know the qualification process for the Champions Trophy.
The competition is an important part of the four-year ODI cycle and not qualifying for it – by finishing outside of the top eight in the World Cup table – would be an incredible underachievement for the side.
And when there were those questions surrounding squad selection, why was Ben Stokes allowed out of one-day retirement to come into the squad – not at peak fitness – and selected above a fit Roy only to admit he needs his knee surgery as soon as possible?
Let’s be clear, though. It is highly unlikely this will result in Mott getting the sack. He was an ambitious appointment made for a new England, and his failure at this World Cup may just be a miscalculation.
Sacking Mott upon his side’s return would reflect badly on those who appointed him. It would be a failure of the vision they had for a future limited overs England – after all, Mott guided England to Twenty20 World Cup glory last year in Australia.
Another World Cup…
And that will be his goal next year, too, when the next T20 showpiece takes place in the West Indies and United States in 2024.
England play a limited overs series in the Caribbean this winter and mass changes are expected for the tourists.
And so the rebuild will begin.
But few can deny that this last month on the subcontinent has been an abject failure for English cricket.
For all the revival of Test cricket on these shores, fans are now suffering when watching the shorter formats of the game.
Change will be required following the conclusion of this World Cup and with Mott almost untouchable for now, it might be time for Buttler to look over his shoulder.