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Cricket World Cup: England coming to end of an era as they stare down early exit, says Nasser Hussain

England slumped to a fourth defeat from five Cricket World Cup matches with their eight-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in Bangalore; Jos Buttler's side are all but out of semi-final contention; watch England vs India on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Cricket (play starts at 8.30am)

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Nasser Hussain believes blaming England's cricket structure is a "lame" excuse for the holders' poor performance at the World Cup.

Sky Sports' Nasser Hussain assesses England's dismal World Cup campaign after the defending champions suffered a third successive loss - an eight-wicket hammering by Sri Lanka - that leaves them on the cusp of an early exit in India...

Back to back, I've not seen England play as badly as that [South Africa and Sri Lanka losses].

They've changed their tactics, going back to their all-rounders here. And they changed at the toss, batting first.

It shows, really, that tactics are important, that the team is important and what you do at the toss, but the most important thing in any sport - and cricket, in particular - is having players in form and at the top of their games, especially at a World Cup.

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Highlights as England sit on brink of World Cup exit after Sri Lanka cruise to eight-wicket victory in Bangalore.

If you walk in that England dressing room now and asked them to put their hand on heart and say 'are you in good nick?' I reckon maybe only one or two could say that.

They have collapsed as a unit. Their form has deserted them and it just feels like we're coming to the end of an era. It has been a bridge too far for some of them.

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England white-ball head coach Matthew Mott insists team selection is not the reason his side slipped to a damaging eight-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka.

That said, it's so easy to be wise after the event. Some of those cricketers on that park today would go in your best-ever England white-ball XI and I wouldn't have changed things before the tournament

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Would I have swapped Jonny Bairstow? No. Would I swap Dawid Malan? No. Joe Root? He's one of our greatest white-ball batters. Ben Stokes? He's won us two World Cups already basically on his own. Adil Rashid? Mark Wood? No.

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Jos Buttler says he can't put his finger on why England aren't reaching the standards they set themselves.

What they've done overall is magical, but what they've done here in three weeks has not portrayed the sort of players they are and what [Eoin] Morgan and Buttler have created. It's been a sad reflection of what they have been over the last six years.

We can be all doom and gloom, saying 'get rid of all of them', but they have given us six or seven years of brilliant white-ball cricket.

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Blaming England's cricket structure is a 'lame' excuse

What I don't like is giving players a cop out. Sometimes we do that in English cricket.

When they win the 50-over and T20 World Cups, it was 'aren't they great'. But when the wheels come off, suddenly the problem is that it's the structure of English cricket.

They blame it on us playing T20 cricket, 100-ball cricket but not enough 50-over cricket. How much domestic 50-over cricket has Virat Kohli played? Or anyone out here? They learn from T20 franchises around the world. That is what has made this great England side over the last six years.

It's such a lame excuse when you blame the structure, the exact same structure that made them world champions.

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Michael Atherton is puzzled as to why England have failed to perform at the Cricket World Cup in India and suggests that every player has lost faith in themselves.

Yes, England may have taken their eye off the ball a little bit and not given them enough practice and games leading into the tournament, but it was this structure that produced them.

When they mess up, it's them who have messed up. They should take the responsibility, in my opinion, not the structure.

A sports psychologist once said to me, 'if you stay at the same level, do not think that you're improving'.

It has looked like a side that has stayed at the same level, thinking 'that will do, double world champions, we're fine'. Well, they're not alright, they're on the verge of going out.

Buttler: My future as England captain out of my hands

Jos Buttler accepted his future as England captain was out of his hands after another heavy defeat sent his side tumbling towards the World Cup exit door, labelling it "a huge low point".

Thursday's thrashing by Sri Lanka, off the back of equally embarrassing defeats to New Zealand, Afghanistan and South Africa, leaves Buttler's team ninth in the standings and requiring "a few miracles" in order to qualify for the semi-finals.

Pressed on his own status in charge of the side, Buttler indicated a desire to continue in the role but a realisation that the decision may not be his to make.

"I think you're always questioning as captain how you can get the best out of players, how you can get the team moving in the right direction," Buttler admitted.

"I certainly have a lot of confidence and belief in myself as a leader and captain and, first and foremost, as a player, but if you're asking if I should still be captaining the team, that's a question for the guys above me.

"The tournament's gone nowhere near the way we wanted it to... that much is obvious. As a leader, you want to lead through your own performance and I've not been able to do that."

What's next?

England are next in action against hosts India on Sunday (8am on Sky Sports Cricket, 8.30am start), with their qualification hopes in the balance. Watch every game of the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup live on Sky Sports. You can stream the tournament on NOW.

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