The England Cricket team's humiliating defeat to South Africa has brought a barrage of criticism from the assorted ex-England players, coaches and writers who played cricket in a very different time and in some cases with a lot less success than the current captain. The consensus seems to be that Fletcher and Vaughan should step down, the latter from the one-day version of the game at least.
Now although I do believe Fletch has taken the side as far as he can, and Vaughan should not be selected for the one-day side, let us get things in perspective. We are likely to finish 5th in this World Cup; in the last two, we have gone out in the first round (including in 1999 when we hosted it). Our record in one-day cricket is rubbish; we are ranked seventh, in the last year we have been whitewashed by both Sri Lanka and Australia and drew a distracted Pakistan team 2-2. If it was not for the Commonwealth Bank Series, which was, let's be quite clear, a freak result we have achieved nothing in this format of the game over the last couple of years. So why did people expect us to beat South Africa!? The reality is the best four teams in the world are now in the semi-finals, a testament to the format of the competition.
There are many problems with the one day side, including selection and coaching. Nixon has done well but was never a long term solution; Panesar is not a one day player; there are no pinch-hitters like Mal Loye in the top order; and what the hell is the selection of Sajid Mahmood all about!? Fletch has never taken the one-day format seriously. Perhaps a specialist one-day coach could manage a one-day side, or perhaps Fletch will reconsider his position after the summer.
However, finishing 5th at the moment is par for the course.