Ashes mood strikes World Cup 2023 as Joe Root calls bottom-placed England ‘man for man’ better than Australia
England, who are in dangers of getting knocked out from the World Cup and missing the Champions Trophy in 2025, will have to win both their remaining games to improve their standing.
(L-R) England’s Joe Root and Australia’s Steve Smith (ANI Photos)
JOE Root struck a defiant tone ahead of England’s World Cup clash with Australia saying his team is better “man for man” than their old rivals despite being bottom of the pile.
The defending champions have just one win from six matches and a loss to Australia in Ahmedabad on Saturday will confirm that their meek title defence is over.
“Man for man I’d have this team every day over the Australians,” said Root, according to British media.
“We might not have played as well as we can do but we know when we play our best stuff, the best teams struggle to compete with us.”
He added: “We’ve just got to look at Saturday as our World Cup final and play in the manner that’s expected of us and we expect of ourselves.”
Australia captain Pat Cummins on Friday made light of Root’s comments, saying: “Of course he’d say that, (I) would say the same about our team. I wouldn’t read too much into it.”
Australia are third in the table and on course for the semi-finals.
In contrast, England have suffered four straight losses including going down to Afghanistan and most recently hosts India in a hugely disappointing tournament for the 2019 champions.
They are last in the 10-team table with even the Netherlands above them, and in danger of missing the 2025 Champions Trophy qualification.
England must finish in the top seven to qualify for the 50-over tournament in Pakistan.
Root said England’s World Cup flop “hurt”.
“It always hurts to be in this position, to be sat at the bottom of the table,” he said.
“It’s not what we expect of ourselves. If it motivates us a little bit more, then great.”
Root has made 175 runs in six matches but his previous four scores of zero, three, two and 11 have been reflective of England’s poor performances.
Root insisted he felt “really good in (his) game”.
“It’s been really disappointing to not be more consistent, that’s what I expect of myself,” he said.
“Saturday is another opportunity to go and score runs, do what I expect of myself and what the team expects of me.”