England Cricket World Cup player ratings: Buttler and Curran chief failures as Rashid banks most credit

England Cricket World Cup player ratings: Buttler and Curran chief failures as Rashid banks most credit

England's desperate Cricket World Cup defence has finally come to an end, with Jos Buttler's side already back at home as the tournament enters its knockout stage this week.

Having flown to India with hopes of retaining the title they claimed on home soil four years ago, England endured a nightmare campaign, losing six of their first seven matches to be knocked out with two games of the group stage to spare.

Subsequent wins over the Netherlands and Pakistan did at least secure Champions Trophy qualification for 2025 and attentions have already turned to the future, with much-changed squads for the white-ball tour to the Caribbean next month announced only hours after England's final game.

At the end of a dismal World Cup, here's how the players rated...

Jos Buttler - 2/10

His World Cup: Let’s be frank - he had a real shocker. Has to take a sizeable share of the blame for muddled thinking in terms of tactics, selection and messaging, with decision to bowl first against South Africa in the Mumbai heat the nadir. With the bat, this was unfathomable stuff from England’s greatest white-ball batter: 138 runs in nine innings at an average of 15.

What comes next: Wants to stay on as captain in both white-ball formats and has been backed to do so by managing director Rob Key. Will lead both teams on the West Indies tour and then turn attentions back to T20 cricket, with franchise stints at the SA20 and IPL. England will need him at his best with the bat in that format by the time of next summer’s T20 World Cup defence.

Jos Buttler did not have a good World Cup (Getty Images)
Jos Buttler did not have a good World Cup (Getty Images)

Moeen Ali - 3/10

His World Cup: Vice-captain was in and out of the team as England lurched from one formula to another without success. Did not take a wicket until England were already out of the tournament and averaged only 15 with the bat.

What comes next: The oldest member of the squad at 36 and spoke frankly about the need to move on to younger players after the tournament. Has almost certainly played his last ODI but picked in the T20 squad for West Indies tour and one-year central contract suggests he will be part of World Cup plans next summer.

Gus Atkinson - 5/10

His World Cup: Bolted into the squad with summer form but if the plan was to use him in regular rotation with Mark Wood, it was soon shelved as England faced a string of near must-wins. Still, unlucky to be dropped after South Africa game. Finished with four wickets from three matches but bowled better than those numbers suggest.

What comes next: In both West Indies squads and will get chance to become a mainstay heading into the new cycle. Pace and aggression will be key, particularly with Jofra Archer suffering another injury setback and Mark Wood sure to be carefully managed from hereon in.

Jonny Bairstow - 3/10

His World Cup: Back in the ODI side following his broken leg but never really found his groove and his partnership with Dawid Malan failed to give England the kind of early impetus he had so regularly delivered alongside Jason Roy. Averaged 23 and a best score of 59 did not arrive until the dead rubber against Pakistan.

What comes next: Rightly rested for West Indies tour ahead of Test series in India, having been on the go since returning from injury at start of the Ashes. Should be part of England’s T20 World Cup plans and says he wants to carry on to 2027 World Cup in 50-over format, too. Newer faces will be given the chance first, though.

Harry Brook - 4/10

His World Cup: Initially left out of the squad, then drafted in as his case became irrefutable, but that saga set the tone of a messy campaign all-round. Dropped once Ben Stokes regained fitness and then it became baffling that he continued to miss out when England should have set their sights on the future. In fairness, he hardly pulled up trees on his return.

What comes next: The only England player now guaranteed a place in teams in all three formats? Certain to become a lynchpin of the white-ball revamp and already a mainstay of the Test side, having signed a three-year central contract last month.

Harry Brook still has a long-term future in this team (REUTERS)
Harry Brook still has a long-term future in this team (REUTERS)

Brydon Carse - N/A

His World Cup: Called up as a replacement after Reece Topley’s injury but didn’t get a game which, in the circumstances, was probably unfortunate.

What comes next: Not exactly an emerging talent at 28 but already firmly in England’s plans for the future even before this tournament. Will tour the Caribbean and then could make a Test debut in India. Touted for a role as a middle-overs specialist in ODIs, where England’s failure to replace Liam Plunkett has been hammered home.

Sam Curran - 2/10

His World Cup: Dropped in the great all-rounder cull after taking just two wickets in three matches at an average of 70 and never returned, having made no impact with the bat either. A brilliant T20 cricketer but yet to prove he has the skills for the 50-over game.

What comes next: Was player of the tournament at last year’s T20 World Cup and will be key to England’s hopes in the US and Caribbean next summer. Retained in the ODI squad, somewhat surprisingly, for the West Indies series so England are clearly desperate to make things work on that front, too.

Liam Livingstone - 3/10

His World Cup: Showed some decent form with the bat in the New Zealand series that eased fears over his suitability to 50-over cricket but they resurfaced in a big way. Averaged 10 in six innings, the lowest of any England player, never grabbing the chance to rescue an innings. Seldom given the opportunity to explode at the death either and did not hit a six all tournament. Occasionally useful with the ball.

What comes next: At 30, he dissects two generations. England are keeping the faith, having handed the Lancashire all-rounder a two-year central contract and retained him for the West Indies tour, but this form, in ODI cricket in particular, is not currently worthy of a place.

Dawid Malan - 7/10

His World Cup: Came into the tournament as England’s form player and was their best performer with the bat, at least until Stokes came good late on. Scored England’s only hundred in a live match and finished as top run-scorer with 404 (100 more than anyone else) but failed in a key run of games through middle of the tournament.

What comes next: Another 36-year-old who has been open about the idea that England’s 50-over team will move on. If he has played his final ODI, he departs with a remarkable record as late-bloomer. Left out of the West Indies tour on account of T20 form but Key insists door to next summer’s World Cup remains open.

Dawid Malan hit a ton against Bangladesh (Getty Images)
Dawid Malan hit a ton against Bangladesh (Getty Images)

Adil Rashid - 8/10

His World Cup: England’s best bowler and by a fair margin, finished the group stage with 15 wickets - four more than he managed in 2019 - despite a relatively slow start. One of very few to emerge with significant credit.

What comes next: Will be 36 in February and has been left out of the ODI squad for the West Indies but retained in the T20 side. England should squeeze every last drop from the spinner in the hope of nurturing his successor, likely Rehan Ahmed.

Joe Root - 3/10

His World Cup: Started nicely with scores of 77 and 82 in first two matches but his form fell off a cliff with five successive scores of 13 or less as England’s crisis deepened and a particular vulnerability in the powerplay became clear. Probably under-bowled in subcontinental conditions, when more reliance on his spin might have given England an easier way to balance their side.

What comes next: Like Bairstow has said he wants to carry on until 2027 but has been rested for West Indies tour and ODI future is unclear. For now, all focus should be on his Test genius - England will need a monster series from their best player to have any chance of success in India in the New Year.

Ben Stokes - 7/10

His World Cup: Back from ODI retirement in a bid to inspire England’s defence but picked up a hip injury during a gym workout in his warm-up stint in Guwahati. Entered the fray in the fourth game with England already on back foot and took time to find his rhythm. Finished in storming fashion with 252 runs in final three innings, including a first World Cup hundred, but might he have been better leaving to have knee surgery?

What comes next: Said surgery is first up and then a race to be fit for the Test tour to India. Will surely slip back into ODI retirement now and you could make a strong case for the Test skipper shelving T20Is as well, but history suggests England will want him at the World Cup next year if fit.

Reece Topley - 6/10

His World Cup: Left out of the opener against New Zealand in what soon looked a bizarre move as he returned to prove England’s most effective seamer until cruel injury curse struck again. Average of 22 was the best of any bowler, finishing with eight wickets in three matches despite playing half of one of those with a dislocated finger.

What comes next: Straight back into the T20 side for the West Indies tour and will surely become the leader of England’s white-ball attack throughout the next cycle, so long as his body holds up.

Reece Topley emerged from the World Cup with some credit (REUTERS)
Reece Topley emerged from the World Cup with some credit (REUTERS)

David Willey - 6/10

His World Cup: Utterly bizarre. The one player not handed a central contract and announced his retirement from international cricket midway through the tournament but kept his place. Was a rare reliable performer, taking 11 wickets at 23, and landed some blows with the bat late on but that he played so often told that England’s campaign had not gone to plan.

What comes next: Has already announced his international retirement. The optics of him not getting a central contract mid-tournament weren’t great but decision was correct.

Chris Woakes - 5/10

His World Cup: Dropped after a dreadful start to the tournament in which he struggled for any rhythm with the new ball. Came back well at the rear-end, taking four wickets against Australia and chipping in with a useful half-century against the Netherlands, but it was too little, too late.

What comes next: Has already said he would be shocked if he played another ODI and has expressed similar sentiments about Tests away from home. Is off to the Caribbean with the T20 squad and may keep his place through to the World Cup beyond that will surely be a home Tests specialist.

Mark Wood - 3/10

His World Cup: Came in lacking in cricket having nursed a heel injury since the Ashes and while his pace was good, his impact was not. Took only six wickets in seven matches at an average of 58.

What comes next: Like Brook and Root, has signed a three-year central contract, a major commitment from England in a 33-year-old fast-bowler with a history of injury woe. Must now be managed accordingly - which means Test cricket and major T20 tournaments only.