In Brief

Jonny Bairstow: ‘critics are waiting for us to fail - it’s a typical English thing to do’

England star hits back at the pundits ahead of must-win clash against India

England may not have had much fight in them on the pitch of late but off it they are still belligerent as ever as Jonny Bairstow showed in an angry response to the team’s critics.

Following emphatic defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia in the space of four days, England must win their two remaining matches - against India on Sunday and New Zealand on Friday - to qualify for the Cricket World Cup semi-finals. 

Failure to do so would be a disaster of seismic proportions for the future of the sport in this country, a point forcibly made by Michael Vaughan in an interview with the BBC.

The former England captain has been a vocal critic of England’s slump in form, as has another ex-skipper Kevin Pietersen, who accused Eoin Morgan of being “scared” in his approach to the tournament.

Those comments drew a fiery response from Bairstow. “It is just showbiz, they are paid to have an opinion,” he blasted.

Accusing some people of “waiting for us to fail”, the Yorkshireman said: “They are not willing us on to win, in many ways, they are waiting for you to get that loss, so they can jump on your throat. It’s a typical English thing to do, in every sport.”

While there may be an element of truth in that declaration, it’s surely hard to find any vercity in Bairstow’s claim England are still “playing a great brand of cricket”.

India thrash Windies

India made short work of the West Indies at Old Trafford on Thursday, thrashing their opponents by 125 runs to move to the brink of semi-final qualification. 

Victory against England at Edgbaston on Sunday will secure India’s spot in the last four and continue their record as the only unbeaten team in the tournament.

The West Indies performed creditably with the ball, restricting India to 268-7 with Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni the only men to pass 50. But on a slow and unpredictable wicket, the West Indians toiled from the start and were all out for 143.

The win also moved India to the top of the ODI rankings - supplanting England - and Kohli was suitably upbeat after the game.

“We feel we can win from any situation,” said the India skipper. “We have players who play instinctive cricket.”

Kit controversy

One issue ahead of Sunday’s mouthwatering clash between England and India concerns the kit with both sides normally sporting blue. 

India will have to wear another colour and their choice of saffron has caused a stink back home, reports the BBC

According to some of the country’s politicians the colour represents that of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by prime minister Narendra Modi. 

The Congress Party and the Samajwadi Party (SP) have raised objections to the colour. 

“Modi wants to saffronise the entire country,” said Abu Asim Azmi, from the SP, which, according to the BBC is a word “used to describe a Hindu nationalist drive to dominate the country’s heritage and culture”.

England and New Zealand will play in the ICC Cricket World Cup final on 14 July

icc-cricket.com

ICC Cricket World Cup fixtures

All matches are live on Sky Sports

Group fixtures
  • Friday 28 June: Sri Lanka vs. South Africa (10.30am)
  • Saturday 29 June: Pakistan vs. Afghanistan (10.30am); New Zealand vs. Australia (1.30pm)
  • Sunday 30 June: England vs. India (10.30am)
  • Monday 1 July: Sri Lanka vs. West Indies (10.30am)
  • Tuesday 2 July: Bangladesh vs. India (10.30am)
  • Wednesday 3 July: England vs. New Zealand (10.30am)
  • Thursday 4 July: Afghanistan vs. West Indies (10.30am)
  • Friday 5 July: Pakistan vs. Bangladesh (10.30am)
  • Saturday 6 July: Sri Lanka vs. India (10.30am); Australia vs. South Africa (1.30pm)
Semi-finals 
  • Tuesday 9 July: 1st place vs. 4th place (10.30am; Old Trafford, Manchester) 
  • Thursday 11 July: 2nd place vs. 3rd place (10.30am; Edgbaston, Birmingham)
Cricket World Cup final 
  • Sunday 14 July: 10.30am at Lord’s, London

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