Person running in to bowl a cricket ball

Surrey Men find the going tough at the Cricket World Cup

Representing your country at a World Cup is just about the pinnacle for any sportsman or woman but for a triumvirate of Surrey County Cricket Club stars, their trip to India has left them feeling nothing short of bitter disappointment.

As for Jason Roy, controversially dumped out of the England squad on the eve of the tournament, the feeling is perhaps one of bemusement at how his replacements have performed.

Homeward bound

At the time of writing, England’s chances of defending the trophy they won in 2019 are, shall we say, slim – the Cricket World Cup winner odds making them a massive 700.00 outsider behind the hosts (2.20), South Africa (4.70) and Australia (4.80).

There’s slightly better news for Tom Latham, who was a member of the Surrey playing squad during the 2023 season.

His New Zealand team has a good chance of reaching the semi-finals, which is represented by odds of 9.60.

But as for Sam Curran, Gus Atkinson and Reece Topley, the World Cup has been nothing short of disaster.

Curran, the most expensive player in IPL history, has plenty of experience in Indian conditions and was expected to be a key figure in England’s assault on the title, but he has found the going tough – as has the equally-adept Topley, who bowed out early with a broken finger.

As for Atkinson, what a chastening way to make your international tournament debut this has been.

Things started badly with a nine-wicket defeat to New Zealand, before getting progressively worse from there.

England did humble Bangladesh for their only win of the tournament with four wickets for Topley, but this was followed by a spirit-sapping loss to Afghanistan.

South Africa dished out a 229-run thrashing, despite three more wickets for Topley and a gutsy knock of 35 from Atkinson, while subsequent losses to Sri Lanka and India have plopped a rather bitter cherry on top of an already unappetising cake.

There’s still a chance for England to restore some pride in their remaining games and to qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy, but for most in their squad, this is a World Cup experience they will be desperate to forget in a hurry.

Hats off to the Black Caps

For Latham, a pivotal figure for New Zealand as their captain and wicketkeeper, the tournament has gone rather better.

He pouched three catches in his side’s opener against England, before rattling up half-centuries with the bat in subsequent outings against the Netherlands and Afghanistan.

A couple of heavy defeats have slightly dented their hopes of reaching the semi-finals, with the league phase entering its business end, but the Kiwis are still in pole position to make the top four should they hold off Pakistan and surprise package Afghanistan.

Hosts India came out of the blocks with seven wins from as many games, while South Africa’s serene progress has been powered by an incredible four centuries in seven innings from Quinton de Kock.

It’s looking increasingly unlikely that a Surrey player will feature in the World Cup final on 19 November, although Latham will be hoping a late burst from his New Zealand team could change that.

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