London: England's "one-dimensional" batsmen are flat-track bullies who do not have an alternative plan if they are required to graft an innings in bowler-friendly surfaces, former batsman Geoffrey Boycott has said.
The World Cup hosts have had mixed fortunes at the tournament so far, posting two 380-plus totals but flattering to deceive on pitches that do not favour their aggressive approach to batting.
Last week England lost by 20 runs to Sri Lanka at Headingley where their batsmen struggled to negotiate fast bowler Lasith Malinga (4-43) and spinner Dhananjaya de Silva (3-32) It was England's second loss after their 14-run defeat against Pakistan at Nottingham.
"England are a one-dimensional batting unit and don't seem to have a plan B or C," Boycott wrote in a column for The Telegraph. "If they do have alternative plans, they do not execute them very well.
"Twenty times out of 21, pitches in one-day cricket are conducive to big scores and England look invincible on those surfaces.
"But when they get a pitch that is not absolutely perfect, when the ball just sticks a little in the surface and does not quite come on to the bat, they cannot handle it. Most of them are not capable of adapting or changing their way of batting." Boycott, who scored over 8,000 runs in tests, reserved special praise for England batsman Joe Root who he said was capable of playing well in all formats of the game.
But the 78-year-old was scathing in his criticism of opening batsman James Vince.
"Joe Root is the exception because his run scoring in all cricket is based on an excellent technique," Boycott added.
"I am sorry for all those people who think James Vince is an international batsman. Vince plays pretty little cameos but keeps getting himself out.
"He flatters and then deceives us without ever delivering a big score. When is he going to learn? It appears never." England, who are fourth in the standings, play second-placed Australia at Lord's later on Tuesday.