Jos Buttler accepts his future as England captain is now out of his hands after another painful defeat sent his side tumbling towards the World Cup exit door.
England knew only victory over Sri Lanka would be enough to keep alive their fading hopes of reaching the semi-finals and they responded with arguably their worst performance yet on Thursday in an eight-wicket defeat.
With four games to go – including table-topping India and bitter rivals Australia – they are being kept off bottom spot only by the one associate nation at the competition, the Netherlands.
England are not yet mathematically out with four games to play – but Buttler acknowledged the game was up.
“It certainly looks that way and that’s incredibly disappointing. It would need a few miracles,” he said, glassy-eyed after another draining day.
“To be sat here now with the three weeks we’ve had is a shock. It’s a shock to everyone.
“I’ll walk back in the dressing room after this, look at the players and think ‘how have we found ourselves in this position with the talent and the skill that’s in the room?’.
“But it’s the reality of what’s happened over the last three weeks and that’s a huge low point.”
Pressed on his own status in charge of the side Buttler indicated a desire to continue but a realisation that the verdict may not be his to make.
In reality, England do not have an obvious successor lined up and Buttler is relatively new in the role, having inherited the mantle following Eoin Morgan’s retirement last summer.
He also has a T20 World Cup win in the bank and there has been no indication that managing director of the men’s cricket, Rob Key, has an itchy trigger finger.
“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.”