England batter Jonny Bairstow backs defending champions to return to winning ways and also insisted their firepower with the bat can’t be criticised despite the early defeats in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2023. After two defeats in their opening three matches, the defending champions will look to turn around their World Cup campaign when they face South Africa at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. The defending champions were stunned by Afghanistan in Delhi on Sunday – the second defeat in their opening three games.
Bairstow said England did not become a bad team overnight, and despite early losses to New Zealand and Afghanistan, their players remain convinced that they can win the World Cup. The England batter stated that the team remains confident in their ability to string together a string of victories.
“There’s a reason why the guys won the T20 World Cup last year; there’s a reason why the guys won the 2019 World Cup, and we’re the defending champions. Just because we’ve lost a game to Afghanistan doesn’t make us bad cricketers or anything like that,” Bairstow was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“You look at [Fazalhaq] Farooqi, his record in the IPL; you look at the three spinners that they’ve got and their records. Just because they play for Afghanistan, they’re no slouches. They’ve actually got some of the world’s best in there and they’ve got match-winners. We lost that game, we didn’t play well enough, and we’ve accepted that and moved on from that,” the right-handed batter said.
Bairstow was asked if England’s batting lineup is still capable of crushing opposing teams in the way it has over the last eight years and the right-handed batter said, “I don’t really think much has really changed, has it? You look at the strength in depth that we have with our batting line-up… I don’t think the firepower can be questioned.”
“We’re just focusing on ourselves. That’s what we do. We’ll go out and play the way that we’re looking to play, put pressure on the opposition like we said that we’d try and do. People are allowed to bowl or bat well. But if our mindset is right and if the way in which we approach the game is right, then that’s the bit that we can control,” he added.
England’s players faced widespread criticism in the broadcast and print media following their defeat on Sunday, which the team has mainly disregarded.
“The group remains calm within it. Belief and confidence isn’t something that’s been questioned one bit. That’s something that you’re able to call upon when you do lose a game. We lost to Sri Lanka in 2019. We lost to Pakistan in 2019. We still went through. There were similar things that I’m sure you guys [the press] wrote in 2019 at the home World Cup,” Bairstow said.
“But that’s OK. That’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to write certain things about certain members and what people do and don’t do in their downtime. That’s things that you’ll fill in the [column] inches and you’re doing that. Whether it’s true, whether it’s incorrect, whatever it is – that’s up to you to do that, isn’t it? The confidence is there. It’s unwavering. There’s no lack of belief within this group,” the England wicketkeeper-batter said.
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