World champions England have lacked intent in the World Cup, says all-rounder Moeen Ali

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Moeen Ali said England must try and go out on a bang if they have to crash out of the World Cup in the first round.

England all-rounder Moeen Ali has admitted that the world champions who hold both the current white ball trophies on offer by the ICC have not shown the required intent in the ongoing World Cup where they are staring at an early exit, failing to qualify for the semifinals.

In a shocking turn of events for Ben Stokes Jos Buttler and company, England were languishing at the bottom of the points table in the ongoing World Cup after they lost heavily by 229 runs to South Africa in Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium over the last weekend and face an uphill battle if they have to qualify for the final four.

The defeat to South Africa by 229 runs was also the heaviest in terms of margin of runs for England, who came into the tournament with a strong reputation of having the best squad on paper which was consisting of the longest batting line-up among anything in the 10 team competition and also had some very exciting players in their ranks, including all-rounder Ben Stokes, returned from his retirement to help England in their World Cup defence.

All-rounder Moeen Ali was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo,

“Our intent hasn’t been there. When you see it from the outside, it’s just like that spark is missing; that thing is missing where they’re enjoying taking bowlers down and enjoying going out to bat. 

Moeen Ali also blamed his teammates for lacking seriousness in the ongoing World Cup even though the conditions have been very challenging for the defending champions. England players were struggling in the heat and humidity of Mumbai when they faced South Africa on October 21. But several of them left the field during the game as they could not stand humidity in particular.

“The situations haven’t always been easy but still: I feel like it’s a game of cricket, at the end of the day, and I think we’re probably taking it too seriously in certain ways,”

Moeen Ali said. 

Moeen Ali said England players are also guilty of carrying a carefree kind of attitude which did not ensure that they were serious enough for the task of defending their World Cup title, which they had won for the first time ever in many decades when they hosted the World Cup competition last time in 2019.

“It’s almost having that carefree kind of attitude: who cares? It’s a game of cricket. If you’re going to make mistakes, you might as well make them doing what you’re good at doing. And we’re making mistakes anyway, so do it with a smile on your face… I think we as a group have been overthinking too much,”

Moeen Ali said. 

Moeen Ali said that if England continue to play the way they have been in this World Cup, they will go back home with a lot of regrets and they should instead try and go out with a bang. England will be playing against Sri Lanka on Thursday as they also or get to play against India, the top side in the tournament as well as Pakistan, a team which will be eager to make a comeback of sorts themselves.

“There’s no point playing the way we’re playing and then [we will] go out and go home and have regrets. I’ve always believed – and I believe still – that if we play how we play and we know we can play, most teams, we’ll beat… let’s at least go out with a bang, if we’re going to go out. And be entertaining. That’s really important, because that’s something we haven’t been at all,”

Moeen Ali said. 

“For us, it’s just about playing how we play and not worrying too much about what the trend is at the moment. A lot of the time, I feel England have set the trend for the last few years, and we’ve probably moved away from that,”

he added.