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Test Match Special

The blog from the boundary

Huge wake-up call for England

  • Jonathan Agnew - BBC cricket correspondent
  • 5 Jan 07, 04:52 AM

Jonathan AgnewThis was a deeply chastening experience for England cricket lovers. I really hope it was for the players, too.

I am absolutely sure that they believe they tried their best on each and every day, but they came at this series from such a low level of preparedness that, in those circumstances, their best would never be good enough.

This has to be the biggest wake-up call in English cricket, and if attention is paid to this thrashing, then something good will come from it.

If there is simply a fudged inquiry in some locked room at Lord’s, it would be an insult to everyone that holds the interests of English cricket dear to their hearts.

Australia learnt from their mistakes in 2005.

Senior and well respected former players were called in to give their views on what had gone wrong, and the right mechanisms - including the ‘poaching’ of the bowling coach, Troy Cooley - were installed.

Similarly, England must look very closely at themselves.

Discipline has to be restored. For a start, this includes reminding the players that being on tour is a job - and a very well paid one at that.

If they do not want to be away from home, that’s fine: don’t come. The pandering to the players union, the PCA, has to stop.

Tours must be structured properly, with the right balance between preparation, hard work and down time.

There has to be a spell at the start of a tour when the team builds its spirit and character without the distraction of the families.

It is absolutely impossible to structure a strong team with the presence of wives, girlfriends and children.

There is a time on every tour - when that ‘bonding’ has been achieved - that the families can come, but not before. This is a serious job, and the priorities have been lost on this trip.

The practice matches on tour must be competitive. I firmly believe that Australians are naturally more competitive that we are - so what chance did the players have of stopping the Australian juggernaut at Brisbane when all they had in terms of serious preparation was a single three-day game in Adelaide?

The 14-per-side outing against New South Wales was a joke and Steve Harmison - hopelessly out of form - was allowed to wander off the field to get his feet up during the second innings after bowling just 5 overs!

I fear for England in the one-day series. Unless they start strongly, particularly against New Zealand, they could get a battering.

And with the World Cup just around the corner now, the most high octane winter of international cricket England have ever faced could turn out to be a nightmare.

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  1. At 05:08 AM on 05 Jan 2007, George Martin wrote:

    Couldn't agree more Jonathan. This series has been an embarrassment to English cricket - not so much for losing as Australia were clearly and consistently the better side - but more the manner in which we capitualted.

    Leadership was muddled at best and preparation was atrocious.

    The bottom line is that lessons must be learnt immediately otherwise that nightmare may well become a reality.

    -George Martin, London

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  2. At 05:10 AM on 05 Jan 2007, K. McIver wrote:

    Where should the English players drop off those MBE's?

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  3. At 05:11 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John Ravi Thomas wrote:

    I have been an ardent England fan ever since I can remember. I had paid to watch the current test series with Australia and also spent a lot my time watching the matches on pay TV.

    Regretfully I must say that the current England team is bunch of useless cricketers with no pride, inspiration or backbone.

    The Captain and the Coach seem not to know how to motivate the team.

    in my opinion the fans have been cheated and should not waste their time and money watching the English Cricket Team unless the players show pride and the will to win in future.

    I do hope that the management will name a captain and coach who can inspire and motivate the team in the future

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  4. At 05:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Jules wrote:

    And the comments are backed up by the columns written (or ghost-written) by players. It seemed that partying and drinking featured as heavily as playing. Regardless of the sun and surf, this is not a backpacker's holiday but a job.

    The performance of the summer was one by a certain Mr J Agnew. Once again he delighted the Australian public with his warmth, wit, charm, humour, modesty and intelligence. It's worth listening to every moment of an Ashes tour to hear his dulcet tones, and it's always sad when he leaves our shores.

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  5. At 05:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, s brown wrote:

    At least Peterson did not have to bat with the tail this time.

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  6. At 05:14 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Andy (Aussie in USA) wrote:

    Aggers - England were extremely poor, but at least the XI who took the field had the courage to try. This is more than can be said for Michael Vaughan and the other senior players who completely bottled the tour.

    If an Australian captain hid in the dressing room while his mates were being flayed on the field, he'd never be forgiven. But apparently that's OK with the England fans. Speak up Mr Vaughan, the silence is deafening.....

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  7. At 05:14 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Jerry wrote:

    What a fitting result for this series and a perfect way to send off the Aussie legends. Goes to show it was only bad umpiring, bad weather and injuries that cost Australia the Ashes last year. It's time for MBE's for the Aussies now.

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  8. At 05:17 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Jonathan Nicholls wrote:

    We NZers are looking forward to administering a "battering", we all know how inept England are at ODIs...

    There are a number of lessons from the tour. The inner circle containing Geraint Jones (not even in the starting XI in the series before) was a joke, and his selection ahead of Read who had been playing so well must have undermined some players confidence.

    They (Mahmood, Read, Panesar) did so well against Pakistan, and then they were dropped so that England could re-live past glories with a team as close to 2005's as possible. Australia didn't live in the past(except to be motivated by it), and England were punished.

    Amid all the hype, England were totally underprepared. Hopefully with the Ashes tour in England next time that won't happen again.

    There was hope for the future. Pieterson was consistently good. Cook looks promising, contributing a good hundred. Bell was gritty and dogged and came away respected by the Australians. Panesar bowled well on pitches that didn't suit him. And Read's glovework was supurb. England have some building blocks for the future, hopefully they get it right next time.

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  9. At 05:18 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Gavin Mortimer wrote:

    England have suffered some humiliating defeats in the past two decades, but this ranks as No1. But the English public and the press bear some responsibility because we aided and abetted their transformation from cricketers into celebrities. So boys, put an end to your showbiz parties, to your appearances in Hello magazine, to your highly-paid autobiographies, and get back to playing some cricket. And, while you're still in Australia, try and find a few spare backbones.

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  10. At 05:19 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Peter Austin wrote:

    As an Australian supporter, England's win in 2005 was the best thing to have happened in a Ashes series in a long time - the interest in the 2006/7 series was enormous. That's what we need. I'm glad we've got the Ashes back, but really, 5-0? Couldn't England do better than that? All those over-the-top celebrations in 2005 must feel a little stupid now.

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  11. At 05:23 AM on 05 Jan 2007, tinker wrote:

    When you ignore the hype from the english media you are left with this.

    England(like india in 01) played as good as they can ever play and snuck home 2-1 vs australia who weren't at their best.

    When on song the gap between england and australia is massive as this australian team is up with the top 2 or 3 from all time while this england side wouldn't even be in the top 10 or 15 sides of all time.

    if both teams were full strength and firing the career stats tell you there would be only 1 winner.


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  12. At 05:27 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David wrote:

    Why do England persist with Flintoff at 6 and playing with 3 quicks and a spinner - leaving a long tail. Anderson + Mahmood weren't bowled much and were rubbish when they did get the ball. We should play 6 batsmen, Freddie at 7, then Read and the bowlers.......South Africa have Pollock in at number 8!

    My team - Vaughan, Strauss, Cook, Pietersen, Bell, Joyce, Flintoff, Read, Hoggard, Harmy, Monty........

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  13. At 05:28 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David Drew wrote:

    Hello Aggers. Do you get to talk to people in high places inside the ECB and PCA? Is there any hope of getting your message into the skulls of those people that make important decisions about English cricket? We need an overhaul, not a quick fix. What a sorry, pathetic series from England. I'm ashamed that we showed so little fight after the drama of 2005. Very sad. dd

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  14. At 05:29 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Declan wrote:

    Your comments are great to hear but as ever, will the english press just gloss over this awful performance and not follow through with the enquiry? If the playerd can't even admit that they were totally substandard, what chance have we of any change?

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  15. At 05:29 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Charles kane wrote:

    Mr Agnew your views are entirely correct particularly regarding families. No matter what people say about this being able to combine the family life and work in this day and age it is impossible.

    One only has to look at senior professionals in the business world (not mediocre middle management) to understand this. How much time are the best senior executives able to spend with families? These top performing business professionals are the people this shoddy English team should be comparing themselves with. It may not make them such intereseting pals or drinking companions but it does make them succesful.

    You say you hope that England will learn from this experience. If history and others sports in England have taught us anything, and I think it most likely has, nothing will come out of this thrashing. Players and management will continue to live and perform on there small cocoons, protected from reality by hefty, undeserved salaries and sponsorship deals.

    England got exactly what they deserved in this series. Hats off to Austrailia for the professionalism they have shown. One supspetcs there may be a little more control and modesty as would expect from a team of genuine professional as they wllow in their victory.

    The rest of the tour and World Cup, I imagine, will continue in the same vein with England stumbling from pitiful defeat to pitiful defeat accompanied by the same collection of feeble excuses. At least we will be able to give Engand credit for one thing, thier consistancy!

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  16. At 05:33 AM on 05 Jan 2007, julie wrote:

    comiserations to the english team. They DID play some good cricket, they just could not match our Amazing team. I kook forward to 2009 as i know it will be a different team and a whole new ball game. But we Aussies will produce a great team, I have no doubt. The 5-0 whitewash was a moment in my life that Im unlikely to see again and Im am so proud of our boys.
    I cried at the end when Langer was teary. Im gonna miss warne, langer, martin and magrath but I look forward to the next group of exciting young players who will be very good cricketers as well. The team left in the hands of its captain Ricky Ponting, with Lee and clarke bowling as well as they did and the superb fielding of Clarke and Symonds will be a force to reckon with. Ponting as far as im concerned is one of the best and most motivating captains Ive ever seen. He copped too much flak last year and I hope he is enjoying this moment

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  17. At 05:35 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David Brennan wrote:

    Cricket was the loser overall.

    Every cricket fan wanted to see an exciting series-it never happened.
    The second test was the deciding moment-England losing it despite being 460-4 at one stage.

    The great thing about Australia over the years is that they have always kept their best players fit.

    England without Simon Jones, Trescothick and Michael Vaughan (who had a great tour here four years ago)-and with Ashley Giles, Flintoff, Harmison who were not 100% fit-would always struggle.
    Geraint Jones has been out of form for a good year-so that only left KP, Bell, Collingwood & Hoggard from 2005 who all had their moments on this tour.

    I still believe if England were all fit and better prepared then it would have been a classic series.
    As it is cricket fans were denied and the game of cricket has sufered.
    The ICC must take some blame for this.

    Well done Australia-simply awesome.

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  18. At 05:38 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David Brennan wrote:

    Oh and I have forgotten Andrew Strauss-a good player who was not allowed to get a score by poor umpiring.

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  19. At 05:40 AM on 05 Jan 2007, andrew wrote:

    well I must say the eng team are a likeable bunch and worse eng teams have been here without losing 5-0.

    Why didn't eng play an extra bat, as it just didn't make sense to anyone. If FF isn't fit don't play him.

    There was too much made of the 2005 ashes where aussies had a bad series, and these mistakes could be patched up. Remember the media was saying aus cricket has no one to come in , the national team will really struggle from now on blah blah.
    It WAS that extreme at the time.

    Maybe we are being too extreme on eng because next series they will have Jones,Vaughn and an extra bat, and the swing factor.

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  20. At 05:40 AM on 05 Jan 2007, So long wrote:

    So long and thanks for all the fish.

    Yes Aggers they did try their hardest, let's not forget that, but their best was never even close to the dedicatio, skill and match readiness of the aussies.

    The MCC needs its head read for its absurd comments that the ashes are too fragile to be transported, get real you bunch of old time losers you have done more to harm the game and the credibility of English cricket than anyone else, gow up you pretentious creeps. And as ofr the ECB, what a disgrace!

    Perhaps we should give back the greeks marbles too. At least it would show we have some dignity left. Sack everyone and start again and England GROW UP and start acting like a mature country instead of a bunch of arrogant wanna be's trading on a long dead past. and btw sack Tony Blair too! lol!

    I'm going back to drinking now, so should the rest of the shameful english cricket establishment.

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  21. At 05:41 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Phil in Jamaica wrote:

    Now the nightmare is complete, althoug I too fear that Aussies will feast on England's forlorn cricketers one more time during the One Day series. Jonathan is spot on that, if this is just shrugged off by the powers that be, then the next embarrasment may not be so far away. As I drown my sorrows this evening at Kingston Cricket Club, a sad and disconsolate Englishman in the Caribbean, I find that even my West Indian friends are gleefully rubbing their hands together at the prospect of playing us next summer at Lords! Who would ever have thought that a year ago !
    Barman - more ale !!!

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  22. At 05:41 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David Chapman wrote:

    I agree with Aggers. There needs to be far, far better and more detailed preparation before the next test series and certainly an inquiry into the preparation, selection and performance on this tour.
    Furthermore, it is not enough for players to be selected on reputation or previous performances - players have to be selected on current form. To play certain players who have been out of play or practice for a length of time without giving them provincial or sufficent warm up tests is ridiculous.
    The way in which so much seemed to rely on England (us) repeating the form and atmosphere of the last Ashes tour, on waiting for certain players to return and on ushering in untried or underperforming players is an indictment of a poor administration and corporate management.
    There seems to be a belief in English sport that over-hyping team performance and having a nostalgia for past glories will allow teams to glide through any sea of troubles. It happens in Rugger and Footer as well (media harping on about 'a repeat of '66 etc) - so perhaps the English media should take a look at itself as well.
    This is a tremendously dissapointing tour, and so let us hope and confide that REAL, LASTING and EFFECTIVE changes will result at:
    managerial;
    players;
    coaching;
    preparation
    and yes, A COUNTY LEVEL.

    Perhaps the use of more Australian style management and coaching practices will assist a change in these areas.

    England needs to perhaps get a bit more steel into their playing, and we have two years to acheive this.

    Lets hope this is a turning point, and the lowest ever ebb of English cricket.

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  23. At 05:42 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Dan of Brisbane wrote:

    The point you make about the upcoming One Day Series is an interesting one. At the moment Ashes euphoria will be in full swing, but soon enough someone will have to 'officially' switch attention away from the Ashes and towards the next series, which for Australia is vital preparation for the World Cup.

    In the back of his mind, I don't think Ricky Ponting is quite satisfied with simply regaining the Ashes. If Australia were to win the World Cup for the third time in a row, it would mean victory in the ICC Rest of the World series, Champions Trophy, Ashes and World Cup all within two years. It's an opportunity not to be missed, and a fitting way to end the supposed Warne-McGrath dynasty.

    To compare the preparations and attitudes Australia, England and even New Zealand take into this series will be intriguing. Australia will find it tough to refocus on the One Day game, and complacency may be an issue that could prove costly come the World Cup. On the other hand, England will somehow have to shake off the psyche of damage-control that currently encapsulates the team, and focus on maintaining a positive approach to the game.

    Funnily enough New Zealand, typically the dark horse in the One Day arena, should be favourites to take out the series. They are one of few teams legitemetly capable of beating Australia in Oz, and provided they don't choke against a resurgent English side, they should have the focus and preparation to take it out.

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  24. At 05:42 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Neutral Observer wrote:

    I suggest that england place less importance for the ashes coming in the two and a half years later in 2009.

    There were only two problems that contributed to this whitewash.

    1. English bowlers were not fully fit and bowling like an attack, in combinations like Jones-Flintoff, Harmison-Hoggard.

    2. Batsmen did not get technically suited to the australian pitches, and partly due to the lack of experience, sicne the bowlers did not show attacking initiative, huge pressure placed upon inexperinced batsmen.

    Suggestion to Flintoff:

    DO NOT TALK ABOUT 2009 BECUASE YOU MIGHT NOT BE THERE.

    Concentrate on the WORLD CUP, more important right now.

    5-0 is the best thing that happened to england. Young players like bell and cook will learn what it means to get thrashed and whitewashed.

    Rotation policy must be developed to give international experience to 2nd string players.

    Get rid of friends and develop a team of winners and not losers, by that i mean people who dont lose by a whitewash.

    And pray the next australian generation is not as good as the present one.

    And drop Harmison if he doesn't want to play.

    Hope ponting and clarke break their hands or legs, go out of form before 2009.

    Finally, be happy warne, mcgrath are retired, and dont expect a walkover next time round. If you want to in earn it and rub defeat into australia every time in years to come.

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  25. At 05:43 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Phil S wrote:

    I agree with much of Aggers's comments.
    However, i feel one major point has been missed.

    Although the England team struck a purple patch in the Ashes series of 2005, there is a basic flaw in technique in this team. This can be covered up by the likes of Troy Cooley, but has been horribly exposed by the ruthless (and fantastic) Australian team.

    It is not coincidence that KP has been the top batsman in both the Ashes series he has played in and the fact that our bowlers could not bowl out the Australians twice each test when our bowlers can't put the ball in the right spot consistently was again proof of flawed technique.

    What I'm surprised about is that not many people have linked this to our dismal form in the one-day game.

    One-day internationals put serious pressure on basic techniques and this is why England have been found wanting in both the batting and bowling department in that form of the game as well.

    I'm afraid it all goes back to the grass roots and the lack of competitiveness in the domestic game.

    Enough said.....congrats Aussies!

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  26. At 05:45 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Mark Shueard wrote:

    If Mahmood's display of brilliance when offered the chance of running out Shane Warne- is "their best" then no amount of post thrashing analysis will be of any benefit. You can tell when a sportsman is putting in 100% and only on rare occasions did we see an English shirt doing this, most of the time it was half hearted and some of the time deplorable. The great thing about the Ashes of 2005 was that 2 teams went at it hard, not this time.

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  27. At 05:46 AM on 05 Jan 2007, gav lee wrote:

    Aggers,

    I totally agree with you that this is a job and that playing test cricket does actually matter.
    Too many of these players think its a holiday and personally I would not have the players' families out until Christmas. You are spot on when you say if they are committed to touring overseas then they should not be pro

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  28. At 05:49 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Keith F.C. Van Anderson wrote:

    Totally in agreement.

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  29. At 05:51 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ramesh wrote:

    You are absolutely right. One could see the intensity in the Aussies even during the post match celebrations and more importantly, one could see the bonding between the players. England needs to emulate the Aussies in the depth of their preparation. The time also appears to have come for former England players to stop getting on England's case and put their money where their mouth is. Apart from earning big bucks elsewhere, why cannot some of them use their time to set English cricket back on track.

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  30. At 05:52 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John H wrote:

    Too much superstar behaviour,not enough star quality.The aussies were not flash or flambouyant , they were just professional . Our boys went designer shopping wearing diamond studded earrings whilst their men went to work .

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  31. At 05:52 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Tom wrote:

    I've posted lots of gloating on this blog, but it's all good fun. Very little of it is serious at then end of the day. The Ashes is simply a nice distraction.

    To England, seriously, the 5-0 did not reflect the difference between the 2 sides, I didn't think. There were plenty of times I felt England might get up. The more tests they lost, the more they went down psychologically than anything else. Anyway I'm sure it will be a lot closer in 09. Enjoyed your comments. Cheers.

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  32. At 05:53 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Rahul wrote:

    Hi Jonathan
    I do watch more of crickets being played by Australia than by India. For the last 2-3 years I suddenly have developed more taste in the Ashes Series. I try watching as much as I can.
    Well, I do agree with you on the seriousness factor of the English team which indeed is lacking in the entire series. This may very well be because of the nostalgia. I would like to add that the side MUST have a killer instinct to fetch the match the way the Aussies do!! I will say that it is more of a mind game that Aussie play. You see when your 2 men are there on the crease playing for a long time, Aussie upset, suddenly any one of them give away his wicket. Then you see the attack by them, they wont even allow you to get even a single thereafter. If they are 9 down for 100 McGrath will come and lead the team to victory by is batting. Thats all about the psychology and ofcourse keeping the basics right!!!

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  33. At 05:54 AM on 05 Jan 2007, SwamyCricketAnanda wrote:

    If attention had been paid to the 2 narrow wins, 1 big loss in Ashes 2005;
    If attention had been paid to the disastrous 2-0 loss in Pakistan immediately thereafter... despite the presence of Vaughan and Trescothick;
    If attention had been paid to Flintoff's meagre captaincy skills on the India tour...
    If attention had been paid to the manner Tresco conducted himself during the tours of Pakistan and India...
    If attention had been paid to Fred's persistent injury in the home series...
    If attention had been paid to the indifferent performance against Sri Lanka..
    If attention had been paid to the questionable decisions that got England a win in Test 3 vs Pakistan...
    If attention had been paid to the good performances of Monty, Shah... and the inconsistencies of Harmison, Bell, Anderson and above all, Flintoff...
    If attention had been paid to the sub-standard batting skills of the 'keepers...
    If attention had been paid to Fletcher's dubious selections and proclivity to running away from blame.. etc. etc.;

    If attention had been paid to people like Boycott who've been saying this for a long time...

    the 5-0 might not have happened in the first place.

    And the ridiculous selection of Nixon, the ambivalence over Vaughan, and lack of new batting faces in the ODI squad a few months from the World Cup...

    HAVE SHOWN BEYOND DOUBT THAT THE LESSONS WILL NEVER BE LEARNT... NOT IN THE NEAR FUTURE, WITH THE PRESENT MANGERIAL SETUP.

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  34. At 05:55 AM on 05 Jan 2007, thethirdlion wrote:

    Sad. So much of what went wrong was so avoidable. Sadder still ? Its pretty much the same story across the board in English sport. We continue to live in an era of amateurish incompetence .... except where payment is concerned of course.... its all very professional when wages are concerned....

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  35. At 05:56 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David Chapman wrote:

    Of course, what might make the ECB wake up a little and take notice is if the Barmy Army and associated loyal England supporters had walked out of the ground en masse.

    If teams realise that they have to work to gain fan confidence, then maybe the players will take notice and play harder.

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  36. At 05:56 AM on 05 Jan 2007, oliver brett wrote:

    For as long as England remain the only Test nation not to have an off-season, we will continue to find it hard to prepare properly for Ashes tours.

    The ECB expects England to play seven Tests and a growing number of one-day matches every summer.

    You cannot prepare properly for an Ashes tour while playing a Twenty20 in Chester-le-Street in September.

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  37. At 05:58 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Richard Spence wrote:

    The elephant in the room of course is that Austrailia have far far better players than us.

    All this navel gazing about lack of preparation is a bit academic when you take this in to consideration.

    The underperfoming players in the 2005 Australia team have been replaced with the likes of Hussey and Clark, whilst we have scraped the barrel as ususal.

    County cricket is rotten and has been for most of my life time (I am 40). It is a retirement home for overseas stars and ageing country pros. It clearly does not produce any where near the quality of Sheffield Shield.

    Everything else is mere detail.

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  38. At 05:58 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Peter wrote:

    The fact is the English team did NOT play at their best. They were not hungry for success. They did not function as a team at all. It is a sad reflection on English sports and one that needs an urgent overhaul before you guys host the Olympics. Dont fall into the trap of playing the blame game. Show some team spirit by accepting collective failure at almost every level. Identify area's for improvement and formulate plans for achieving said improvements. As for 2009, dont say we might win, you need to take a leaf out of the aussies book from 2005. Your expected attitude should be, we will do whatever it takes to make sure we can and do win in 2009. Do NOT even entertain the thought that you may not win. Then everyone can enjoy ashes cricket that is tough and close and up for grabs.

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  39. At 05:59 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Greg Hynes wrote:

    The responsibility lies with the coach and the captain. Their all right jack attitude even when thrashed comprehensively shows Duncan Fletcher and Flintoff remain clueless. The coming one day series will cause an another thrashing for England unless their attitude to age gane changes.

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  40. At 05:59 AM on 05 Jan 2007, gav lee wrote:

    Aggers,

    You are quite right about the issue of touring. If you are not committed to playing overseas then dont make yourself available.
    Test cricket is a job and an important one at that and the sooner the ECB realise this the better.

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  41. At 05:59 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Honel wrote:

    OK, time to reflect on what has happened and what the ECB should do to fix it.

    Firstly, well done to an excellent Australian team! We are all left wondering how they could have coped under real pressure - sadly England exerted none and the Aussies did everything expected of them and a little more in Adelaide. They deserved to win the series as convincingly as they did.

    I agree with Aggers' comments re: preparation. England needed more tour matches and longer in Australia before the first test. If they had suggested scheduling matches against every state side, I doubt any would have refused the chance to play the tourists early on.

    Selection - plenty has been made of the decision to bench Panesar, Read and Mahmoud. For my money, the first two should have been definites from the start...and Mahmoud would not play again for a while if I was selecting...failing to back up his bowling and missing a run out (and not seeming to care) told us plenty about his character. Panesar and Read did well in their specialties and also showed promise with the bat at times, something to build on there. Cook is in for the long run, Vaughn was unlucky but is a damn fine player. Pietersen should definitely bat at four, but less charging up the pitch please. It's not entertaining and it gets you out pretty fast too. Gilly didn't play many unorthodox shots in his quickfire hundred at the WACA - KP should watch and learn and become even more effective, rather than a short-lived sideshow.

    Anderson is a good bowler but too inconsistent to play at this level. Until he can group the ball in the same area for six consecutive balls, he is no use to us. If he is the most consistent young bowler we have then we have real problems. Australia spotted McGrath's potential long before even he did and they built on the potential to produce a great player. Our coaches should be looking to emulate that approach - players who have the right temprament and consistency for the long version of the game deserve to play Tests for England - the rest can stay in their pyjamas.

    The tail - obviously it is too long but we get the worst of both worlds at the moment - not enough batters and too many poor bowlers. I would suggest playing an additional batsman e.g. Joyce, dropping the extra seamers (probably Mahmood) and having Freddy bat at seven, Read at eight, Panesar at nine, Hoggie at ten, Harmison (or Jones when fit) at eleven. We can easily get more overs from part-time bowlers like Collingwood (who only had a single spell in the whole series) and get KP to practice his off-spin. When fit and firing, three seamers of Hoggie, Harmy and Freddie's quality plus an attacking spinner in Monty should get us enough wickets.

    Finally on the subject of the captaincy, Freddie has done great things for England in the past but he's a naive Test captain - his field placings and strategies were unimaginative, set way too deep and lacked variety. He sowed no seeds of doubt in the minds of the Aussie batsmen. If Vaughn is not fit, Strauss must regain the captaincy and let Freddie concentrate on destoying the opponents with bat and ball, as he has shown himself capable on many occasions.

    BRING ON 2009!

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  42. At 06:02 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Julian King wrote:

    Re Wags on tour - totally agree with Aggers on this...most of us who earn a living are not accompanied by our wives and/or girlfriends. Wags attendance should be restricted to the last day of the tour at most. A clause should be added to players' contracts so it becomes part of their commitment to the game.

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  43. At 06:04 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Rae wrote:

    Ah well, that's over.

    Now the tears have passed that our legends are retiring, maybe we can dare to hope that England will shape up and give us a contest next time. The Ashes is the most important sporting contest in existence to Australia, and our players are passionately dedicated to playing for their country.

    England, meanwhile, seem to view the Test matches as a bothersome distraction from their Australian holiday.

    We wanted to win this, but we were looking forward to a tough fight. If our own side weren't at least giving us good cricket to watch there would have been blood on the grass - come on, England, do your part for once. Give your fans as well as we Aussie fans something to appreciate. Maybe if the players make believe they think they can win, they'll have a shot at looking better than useless.

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  44. At 06:10 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Bruce Palmer wrote:

    This England team is an embarisment to the country and their cricket followers.Today none of the players showed any guts and folded like meek little lambs.The coach and captain must be replaced and 90% of the team as they are not up to test standard.at the moment they will struggle to beat Zimbabwe.
    this team must hang their heads in shame,go home and decide their futures.The aussies were good but 5 nil is no excuse.

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  45. At 06:11 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Honel wrote:

    I agree with post 17 about Boycott. When will he be given a chance to become a selector for England? It feels like Brian Clough and the England football manager's job. We can see someone who has been there and done it successfully, consistently predicts outcomes and accurately links them to an analysis of the players strengths and weaknesses. Isn't that what you want from a selector/coach? He may be a difficult person to get on with, but he knows his cricket.

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  46. At 06:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, G PARRY wrote:

    BRILLIENT AS USUAL YOU ARE RIGHT ON THE BALL AGGERS. I USED TO ENJOY THE GAMES AGAINST THE STATE SIDES THEY MUST BE REINSTATED. I WONDER IF THESE GUYS REALISE WHAT IT IS LIKE TO LIVE HERE AS AN EX-PAT. WHEN THESE THINGS HAPPEN. SOME OF THEM SHOULD BE FORCED TO ENDURE IT.
    GRAHAM

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  47. At 06:14 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David James wrote:

    Well said Aggers! Look on the bright side though, it'll only take them a hour and a half to trash us in the 20-20 match, not 5/4/3 days......

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  48. At 06:18 AM on 05 Jan 2007, phil birch wrote:

    c'mon aggers - you should know that a team can only play as well as the opposition allows them. 'Poaching ' Troy Cooley - really. He's an Aussie isn't he? And isn't there some story about the skinflint and ungrateful Pommy cricket authorities not offering him a decent contract after his efforts last year? Wake up, England was thrashed by the better side, out played, out thought, out gutsed

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  49. At 06:18 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Chris C wrote:

    I recall Neil Young being sued by his record label in the mid 80s for releasing albums that were not up to par. I wonder if the English Cricket Board will consider suing the English players for breach of contract for under-performing? They have a fair case.

    On another note, this isn't the best Australian side - it is the worst English side to ever land on Australian shores. You don't win cricket games when your number six only averages 32 with the bat and all your bowlers average over 30.

    Speaking as an Australian I am very disappointed with the abysmal performance of the English side.

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  50. At 06:21 AM on 05 Jan 2007, TrueBlue wrote:

    Shell Be Right Mate’s…

    Commiserations TO ALL OUR BRETHERNDS, BROTHERS & SISTERS IN ENGLAND...

    SORRY FOR THE THRASHINGSSS!!!...WE ARE TERRIBLY EMBARESSED FOR YOU AOLD CHAPS & CHAPES!!!

    Now for our suggestions:
    1. As Shane Warne has retired and he is playing in England, I would seriously consider employing him as an adviser to the England team!!! Mind you he would demand a hefty fee!!! Or better still get
    2. Glen McGrath and Justin Langer!!! To do the same!!!....

    Simple solutions to England’s problems!!!

    See YOU ALL IN 2009!!!...

    And better still in the 1010 football world cup where Australia will beat England and get to the FINAL!!!...

    That is our ultimate goal…And We Will Achieve IT!!!

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  51. At 06:22 AM on 05 Jan 2007, chris coombes wrote:

    Really two very different teams played each other and the better organised won....
    The problem seems to be the schedule, preperation and the captaincy.
    Schedule - England played about twice as many tests than Aus since the 2005 Ashes...why?
    Preperation - The Aussies showed their commitment by going on a 'Boot Camp' before the series. This was mocked by many but it worked! The warm-up games in Aus were totally hopeless....no one cared...not even the crowd! And then suddenly the heat is on in Brisbane and the whole team looks like it has not got a clue! The Aussies were so focused it was frightening...men and boys!
    Captaincy - Botham could not do it...and neither can Fred. I think a batsman who goes in early is the answer as they have time to plot and survey the situation...this is critical. Freddie would have played a great deal better if he was driven rather than being the driver!
    You have to be playing really well to beat the Aussies; anything less and its murder! I have no idea what we can do about he World Cup...could be painful!

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  52. At 06:23 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ben wrote:

    "Funnily enough New Zealand, typically the dark horse in the One Day arena, should be favourites to take out the series. They are one of few teams legitemetly capable of beating Australia in Oz, and provided they don't choke against a resurgent English side, they should have the focus and preparation to take it out."

    One of the biggest myths in cricket is the Kiwi hold over Australia. Since the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka (02/03), Australia have won 18 of the last 20 games against New Zealand! The 20/20 is a toss of the coin game but if Australia get up there I would not be backing against them going undefeated through the entire summer - Shane Bond is about the only man standing in the way of the whitewash continuing over into the limited over series.

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  53. At 06:25 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Dave M wrote:

    Re David Drew post #9. To make sure the powers that be get the message, simply link this article vis email to the PCA. You will find a David Graveny address there as well!
    Have done this already on behalf of a mate who has spent a fortune "down under" watching this horror show.

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  54. At 06:26 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David J. Rout (USA) wrote:

    As a Brit. abroad I am bitterly disappointed. Not only do we under perform at football, we elect to do the same at cricket! National pride must be at a an all time low.
    Perhaps we should take on the American attitude of demanding/expecting results regardless of the situation?

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  55. At 06:26 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Sund wrote:

    What annoys me is when England say they are optimistic about 2009 ashes. There is so much cricket between now and 2009 including the world cup. They were so focussed on ashes during champions trophy and screwed up at all ends. Get a grip and play hard cricket. And stop complaining and cribbing about conditions , injuries , lack of practise etc etc . Sack Fletcher , make strauss the captain and let Flintoff focus on his batting and bowling.

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  56. At 06:26 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Honel wrote:

    Sorry, not post 17, was referring to the enlightening post by SwamyCricketAnanda

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  57. At 06:32 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David J. Rout (USA) wrote:

    As a Brit. abroad I am bitterly disappointed. Not only do we under perform at football, we elect to do the same at cricket! National pride must be at an all time low.
    Perhaps we should take on the American attitude of demanding/expecting results regardless of the situation?

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  58. At 06:35 AM on 05 Jan 2007, jollyoldjock wrote:

    Tony Greig, he said it yet again, the 1921 Whitewash, "that was after the war."

    I'll write it again and hope that he might read this or that someone might read it to him.

    The Australians were in that war, as they were at the Sudan, at the Boer war, the Second World War, the Korean War, Vietnam and currently they are in Iraq.

    60,000 dead in WW1 and only 300,000 went, all volunteers, that's 20% killed in action Tony.

    I would like someone to give me similar information about the South Africans; but I know this for sure the Australians held out in Tobruk in WWII, not so the South Africans, all tail-enders from what I read.

    Get over it Tony; A Whitewash is a Whitewash is a Whitewash.

    As for OBE and MBE awards well the Compton-Miller medal, now that is an award, well deserved, and Tony, in case you missed it it went to an Australian!

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  59. At 06:35 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Nick Gray wrote:

    A message to this bunch of wasters, including Fletcher and Graveney:

    "You let your country down".

    And Flintoff ain't no captain (predictably).

    Trite, inarticulate and banal, he was tactically bereft on the field.

    Mahmood's lazy missed stumping on Day 3 in Sydney summed this bunch of so called "professional sportsman" up.

    And the only success of the Tour is a self publicising South African who plays more for his next deal in "Hello" than any love of the Old Country.

    The ECB should refund the Barmy Army, and Fletcher, Graveney and Flintoff should walk.

    An absolute disgrace.

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  60. At 06:37 AM on 05 Jan 2007, denick wrote:

    Its hard being an englishman in aussie during an ashes series, we never have learnt the meaning of the word proffesional like the aussies have, and after your among them for a while the difference is stark, the training and fitness even at the lower levels of the game matches the competativeness and attitudes of professionals elsewhere.
    Youngster are well catered for and EVERYONE gets a game, the system works and the truth is Australia coulld put out two or three competative sides any day of the week and give anyone esle a good game, so maybe the "inquiry" should be looking outward for a change, you see our experts, ingrained in our system, just dont cut the mustard and our best could be better if nurtured properly from and early age.

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  61. At 06:38 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Mike McCartney wrote:

    It has been a joy to listen to the English commentators like Jonathan, mixed in with Skulls dry wit on the ABC. I agree with the review process, as any good 360 degree feedback should i.e., it promotes continuous improvement.

    It was an absolute joy having the Barmy Army provide oodles of spirit and colour to the game.

    Not so much a joy; it was a pity the English players didn't live up to expectations; and, I think our Aussie stadiums/cricket grounds will HAVE to provide dedicated bays for the Barmy Army and Aussie Fanatics to come together to enhance the majesty and colour of the occasion.

    Lastly, why shouldn't the Urn stay with each winning side, but naturally not exposed to the celebratory bubbly champers.

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  62. At 06:40 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Thinesh Rajasingam wrote:

    As far as I am concerned, this is English cricket's worst moment since it took wooden spoon honours in 1999 aganst New Zealand. That was the nadir of a decade of inept cricket, and hardly surprising. But years later, with all the best ingredients of the Hussain-Vaughan-Fletcher era well-mixed and highly successful too, this farce of an Ashes is a thorough diappointment to all who witnessed England's resurrection over the years. That the same same team which contributed one of Test cricket's greatest memories last year now gives us one of England's worst ever is astounding. A whole generation of so-called lesser England players managed to avoid such humiliation since the 1990s, but this team has outdone them, deservingly or not. Mr. Agnew, I find it hard to believe any hopes of English cricket picking itself up in the near future are realistic--with all the hard work since 2000, what more needs to be done for England to be consistently world-class?

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  63. At 06:42 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ben wrote:

    The professionalism, determination and focus shown by the Aussies was admirable from beginning to end.
    The ECB should take note, winning the ashes back was a mission from the day it was lost and it accomplished with pride. I can't help but congratulate the Aussie team.
    My only wish is we take our heads out of the sand and understand coming second is actually last place.
    Putting on a good show is just not acceptable

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  64. At 06:44 AM on 05 Jan 2007, rod wrote:

    england were never going to win -

    i mean which english player is good enough to make it into the Australian team?

    NONE!!

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  65. At 06:46 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Adrian Carlson wrote:

    In the past the convicts in Australia were given a flogging for doing anything wrong.
    Any minor indiscretion. I think that the Australian cricketers have decided
    that when England stole the Ashes last year that it was Australia's turn to
    give the English a flogging.

    I hope the English cricket team hav learnt a lesson. Don't even think about winning the Ashes again.

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  66. At 06:46 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Nigel Gardiner wrote:

    It has been consistently written that England didn't prepare well enough for the series. I agree with that fact and I can't understand that the England Hierachy didn't push for a better prepartion from the beginning. To my knowledge the decision for scheduling warm up matches are arranged between ECB and the ACB prior to a series taking place, therefore why should the blame go to the team and coaching staff.

    While on tour though, all players should be continuously fine tuning themselves to the conditions, whether playing in a warm up match or just bowling, batting for long spells in the nets. Eg Harmison bowling everyday in the nets, and getting the confidence from bowling down the pitch until he knows he has it. Harmison was showing signs of his rythm problems in the Pakistan tour in England as well as the ICC Champions Trophy in India. There were no surprises with his results from the series.

    Was it possible that Giles was ever bowling better than Panesar prior to the Ashes. Panesar had proven himself to be the best spinner Engalnd had selected in a long time.

    To be honest everyone will make a comment in hindsite, it happened when Australia lost the Ashes 15 months ago. Everyone were calling for Ponting, and Buchanan's resignation after that series.

    I don't think England approached this series correctly, but that has been the case in previous series of Australia anyway. The difference this time is that they had a team to be competitive.

    A perfect example is what India have achieved under Chappell. He has re-established the team in terms of the structure of leadership, and ignited the fighting characteristics for a team to compete over five days every session. Coaching is so important to the team. Fletcher has been around and he should prepare and/or assist the players psychologically for most situations. I didn't see evidence of that.

    I believe England have the ability to regain the winning attitude they had before and after the Ashes of 2005. I hope they can now focus on the World Cup to do that. There is time.

    My final comment is that whatever the result in the World Cup this year, or even Ashes 2009 or even 2010, the fact is Australia will fight with that ANZAC spirit. We have England to thank for that.

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  67. At 06:47 AM on 05 Jan 2007, 3rd Eye wrote:

    As an outsider looking in (i'm South African) I take my hat off to the Aussies. When it comes to Test cricket they are bullet proof. Their mixture of street smarts, professionalism and uncanny ability to get under the skin of their opposite numbers is an awe to watch.

    The English seemed not to care one bit. The interviews with the English coach and captain before and after each test showed a picture of non-chalantness. Where is the emotion? Yes, 2005 was a bit overdone and over-celebrated for such a narrow win but at least you could see and sense the passion. For a foreigner to be your best batsman and be the only one fighting back says a lot for the English side and the current development structure in England.

    Although we Saffers are even more pathetic than England at the 5 day game we are using our strong points to be clinical in the one-day version. We beat both Aus (with one game being "the greatest one day game ever" 438/9) and Eng in 2006. Maybe England could follow suit. One Day cricket is a true test for bowlers and fielders and could be the key to getting the spirit back. In 2006 England seemed to be focussing solely on the Ashes and didn't care about any of the one-day tourney's. A key maybe to their demise in the Ashes?

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  68. At 06:54 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Norm wrote:

    So why are Aussies more naturally competitive than the English?

    The thing that really stood out in these matches was that if Australia found themselves in trouble, someone would stand up and come to the rescue with a 100 or more. When England found themselves in trouble, they'd just dig a deeper hole for themselves.

    Obviously Australia was the better team, but this England team seemed to lack any confidence and belief from the word go. The Ashes were lost on the first Brisbane morning

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  69. At 06:55 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Chris Horsfield wrote:

    I have read Justin Langers comments about his pride and honour on wearing the Baggy Green .

    If only it meant as much to the England players to wear our cap as it does to Australia.- This is the impression that is given

    There are those of us who love the game who can only dream about playing it at the highest level, and would kill to have the oppurtunity to do so, and fight like crazy to to do our best.

    Those with the ability and who get the chance need to have this kind of attitude. Only then will we achieve success

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  70. At 06:58 AM on 05 Jan 2007, dazza wrote:

    if you remember 2005 England only just one the Ashes. Even on the final day with Pieterson dropped, the urn could still have gone back (not literally) with the Aussies.
    Coming in under prepared, with out Vaughan, Tresco and Jones was always going to be very very difficult, however they didn't give the impression they were up for it.
    Yes - there are benfits of Read, Cook etc but simply not good enough....you couldn't imagine the Aussie team doing the same...

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  71. At 07:00 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Tetley wrote:

    A key question in the washup of this Ashes blitzkrieg is this: Did England's lack of preparation stem from arrogance or mismanagement?

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  72. At 07:01 AM on 05 Jan 2007, james wrote:

    The biggest disaster that could come from this series is a wholesale purge (of players not necessarily ECB and other manager types).
    Once the team failed early in the series there was no way Australia was going to let them get up off the mat. it is like expecting a relatively novice boxer to get up off the mat after Tyson has thumped him for a couple of rounds.

    This Australian team is one of the best of all time. In the end, it was a pleasure to watch the Australians play irrespective of the pain felt at the way the English played.

    Flintoff captained in the same way he plays - with his heart, he is learning to use his head. Some of his field positions were "interesting" at the SCG but he changed them and got on with it.

    Vaughan should come back at Captain but leave Freddie as vice captain. Let him learn like Ponting did from Waugh.

    The best thing management could say to the team is "that was painful, now get on with it". If they go in for an extended navel gazing exercise then they will merely compound the problem.

    England does not want to be blooding a whole new group of players in 09 at the ashes. They need to build on the current team and give them a few more years experience.

    The worst thing about this Ashes will be reading all the column inches written by "horrified" and "dismayed" overweight journalists who filled the pubs of sydney for most of the Test and whose sole achievement in life is to destroy too many trees so they can write page after page of absolute cr*% about: the need to stand up and be counted, true spirit, the Botham spirit and such like. The only spirit most of them know comes in shots.
    Accept that we saw a great team demolish a mediocre team and leave the players to work out whether they are going to win the next Ashes or go back to their traditional role. I can assure you the Australians will not give them up lightly even without Warne.

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  73. At 07:01 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Stephen Jones wrote:

    Well I wouldn't count on there being a radical overhaul in the game. The counties have too much control. I watched England go down to 3 consecutive 5-0 defeats to the WIindies in the 1980s and I don't remember any great changes then.
    Also I remember a senior English administrator in 1999 when England were bottom of the pile saying that there was nothing wrong with English cricket. It may even have been David Morgan himself.

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  74. At 07:03 AM on 05 Jan 2007, HORTENSE vaughan wrote:

    This was a victory of Aussie professionalism competence, team spirit, confidence and excellence over english arrogance incompetence,mediocrity.disunity and over hype.
    The Ashes series should be played more frequently so we can rub your noses in it more often.
    Just you wait and see what the KIwis are going to do to you in the Rugby World Cup

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  75. At 07:03 AM on 05 Jan 2007, DAVID L wrote:

    Agree with you Jonathan.

    However have to disagree strongly with you Victoreen .

    "cocky, rude and lacking in good breeding"
    - I am humbled by the way the Australian captain Ricky Pointing was gracious in victory, he didn't laud it over Freddie and the team. Lets not confuse rude with aggression, as I'm sure a few replays will show Monty being rude to the umpires on a few occasions. And as for breeding, hhmm, football supporters in the UK come to mind as a fine example.
    "Collingwood could have replied that Warne got a cap and gown, an honorary accolade from the University of Southampton, despite the fact that he does not read. Warne publicly said that he does not read.
    - I thought Warnes exchanges with Collingwood were quite amusing and witty especially for a man that doesn't read. Warne is not afraid to show his weakness. However what a general on the field. I am sure being an anglophile you can roll out the various greats of history gone past that didnt read.
    "Too many bad decisions against the English
    - We must have missed all the bad decisions against Australia in 2005 and this current series. Bad decisions don't loose a game. Its all swings and round abouts.

    Well at the end of the last fours years the scorecard is Australia 6 England 2.

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  76. At 07:03 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Dan James wrote:

    The harder i practice the luckier i get, said the great gary player....nuff said

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  77. At 07:05 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Shane wrote:

    I wonder if England believed all the hype and talk from English supporters and media that Australia were too old, etc.? Considering the English team's record since the 2005 Ashes, why wasn't it thought that that series was a bit of an anomoly? And it seems that they were ambushed by a much more hungry and determined foe who was playing on their home patch. This means Aus were used to the types of balls used, weather conditions, pitches, travel experience, etc. which was never going to be overcome with the miniscule preparation they were scheduled on. And what little preparation time there was, was squandered on 14 a-side games. Fletcher's justification for these games was that they worked in the past - but that was against weaker opposition. Fletcher's smarmieness during and after the 2005 Ashes (remember his reaction to Ponting's run-out?) and his immense failure this time (selection of patently unfit or unsuitable players for example) should be enough for him to seriously consider handing back his gong.

    It will be interesting to see if Aus can beat their 16 wins in a row next summer.

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  78. At 07:07 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Billy wrote:

    5-0? A fitting result after the over the top celebrations England put on last time. MBE's? they'll be wanting them back I think and like in the UK will Australia issue an Ashes postage stamp that conveniently is the exact cost of sending a postcard to the UK? Ahhh revenge is so so sweet. Will the Aussies rub it in or just let the pack in England do it for them?
    Aggers great coverage a joy to be a part of. Thanks mate.

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  79. At 07:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Hrishi Narvekar wrote:

    I for one never understood why this series held so much promise. Before arriving here for the defense of Ashes, England had done nothing right. Their batsmen were patchy at best. The bowlers were even worse. Their attitude in the last six months spoke volumes about their ability to put up a fight. Winning is a habit and it’s carried from one series to the next. England put a predictably dismal performance in India for the champions trophy while still maintaining that their focus was with the Ashes. This is a silly attitude to have where one decides in their mind which series they are going to perform and which series is merely an exercise in futility.

    The selection of Giles and Jones ahead of the more promising Monty and Read was baffling. After the Perth test Monty contribution was minimal, however his exuberance and sheer enthusiasm was enough indications that he bowled with a view to take wickets. Giles was merely a tourist recruited to impart some non-threatening bowling and occasionally spill chances of key opposition batsmen.

    England should take the first flight out of Australia to avoid any further humiliation and work hard towards the next Ashes which in all honesty they will loose………

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  80. At 07:15 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Al wrote:

    England should now challenge the Aussies for a 5 game Soccer series to settle score.

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  81. At 07:17 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Richard Elliott wrote:

    I fail to see how Messrs Graveney and Fletcher can retain their positions. At the age of nearly 60 I am well used to England's sporting failures, but nothing has been such an embarrassment as this. England capitulated at every turn and displayed a lack of moral fibre. Anybody who maintains that the team was adequately prepared physically and mentally is in a state of delusion. The ECB was also in gross dereliction of duty in failing to re-engage Troy Cooley; but they're probably happy in their ivory tower.

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  82. At 07:18 AM on 05 Jan 2007, JIm Priestley wrote:

    Notice how Harmioson improved the more he bowled. Statham and his ilk bowled hundreds if not thousands of overs in a season and were consistent. Tobe good at something you must do it all the time. Gym work and resting are no good to achieve consistent good results at bowling. There must be a link between all this non cricket relate exercise and the injuries that modern cricketers are bedevilled with. As for non walkers I used to tell children I taught that if they cheated they were only cheating themselves. If I have an8 on a hole at golf and put down a 6 that would not make me feel good. Similarly if I knew I was out scoring 10 and went on to get 70 odd I would not feel right.

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  83. At 07:20 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Sean Hamilton wrote:

    As a dual citizen of both countries, well done Aussies, I lived in the UK during the 2005 series and have taken great pleasure watching Australia take their revenge. I'm looking forward to seeing the English respond and I'm certain it will be more level next time.

    Re : the comment by Victoreen Patrick, 06:29 AM on 05 Jan 2007

    I'm sure Warney can read, otherwise where did all those alledged text messages come from ?

    Oh, if someone was born and raised barefoot in a hut in a 3rd world country settled by white imperialists would that mean that they had good breeding ? Grow up!

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  84. At 07:22 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Burto wrote:

    On the money Johnathan!, as an Englishman living in Perth Western Australia it was even more humiliating to see a young underprepared yet talented England side capitulate at several key moments during the five tests.
    As the father of two boys who are passionate about Englands football team (16 year old) and Englands cricket team (12 year old)it is hard to keep their interest in English sport up as they both are let down by the aparent lack of intensity and passion shown by Englands two premier sports teams.
    My 12 year old plays cricket in Perth and is a very talented opener/number 3 batsmen as well as a genuine r/arm offspinner (he does have dual nationality if your reading this Mr Graveney). He plays in a side that has at least two or three genuinely good young Australian prospects, the system here encourages that even at this early age you are to play with intensity and from this comes a passion for the game and your team.
    I wonder if English junior cricket is played with the same ideal or is it purely 'just for fun', and from this comes Englands'play' for your country compared to Australias 'win' for your country approach, it does appear to produce a very competetive type of player even from a young age, by the way this approach seems to be in all forms of sport.
    Englands 2005 ashes victory in my opinion was enhanced to some degree by the fact that the nation and the crowds got behind England and somehow transfered their passion and pride into to the team and this along with gutsy and determined play (ala Punters boys this time round) achieved a more focused and sharper unit
    As you said hopefully it will be a lesson learned keep up the good work.

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  85. At 07:27 AM on 05 Jan 2007, ralph brooker wrote:

    No excuses, England were dire. It will take a while for the extent of this situation to sink in with me. BUT, the idea that Vaughan is hiding and shirking (Post No.6) is offensive. I'm surprised it was posted. As for the Adulation of Aggers, wasn't it he who opted for Giles over Monty!

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  86. At 07:29 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Scott wrote:

    Cant believe that Flintoff is talking about revenge in 2009.

    The gap between these two teams is so enormous any catching up will take a great deal longer.

    The first thing to do is to admit that we were totally outclassed.

    It is also pointless talking about Trescothick, Vaughan and Jones as if they will make all the difference. Trescothick should not be chosen as he has twice let the side down; it is gighly ublikely Vaughan will ever be a force as a batsman again, and Jones will always be injured!

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  87. At 07:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John O'Donnell wrote:

    Why has that "idiot" Flintoff thought it acceptable to state in an interview that "Things can only get better"? How do these people sleep? I work in engineering and I know for certain that if I performed as consistently bad as those fifth rate, under-active under-achievers I'd be out of a job in seconds flat. How many times do we have to listen to, whoever in the England set up says it, "We'll do better next time" Absolutely pathetic England, a shame on you all.
    Make no mistake though, a more deserved victory was never won.Well done Oz! Fantastically well played.

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  88. At 07:31 AM on 05 Jan 2007, DAVID L wrote:

    "England should now challenge the Aussies for a 5 game Soccer series to settle score."

    Do you really need to be reminded!!!!

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  89. At 07:35 AM on 05 Jan 2007, 3rd Eye wrote:

    England should now challenge the Aussies for a 5 game Soccer series to settle score

    Al - using the last Football World Cup as a measuring stick me thinks the Aussies would win that game as well. :-)

    Trueblue, although i think "Vicki's" comments were utter rubbish and hogwash they weren't racist per se...unless you're saying Aussies are another race from the conventional caucasian, african, asian, aboriginee etc. races.

    Interesting comments from all though.

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  90. At 07:38 AM on 05 Jan 2007, MIKE HICKING wrote:

    WILL THE REAL CRICKET TEAM NOW STAND UP.
    Not this lot of ill prepared name in the right place squad.
    17 PERSONS REQUIRED.
    PLS NOTE.
    You will be required to bowl at least 150Kph
    score an average of 60 with bat.
    catch ball when fielding.
    keep mouth shut when required.
    take directions from a captain who came from another suburb other than yours.
    and above all.
    ENJOY PLAYING FOR ENGLAND.

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  91. At 07:40 AM on 05 Jan 2007, DAVID L wrote:

    "England should now challenge the Aussies for a 5 game Soccer series to settle score."

    Do you really need to be reminded!!!!

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  92. At 07:42 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Simon wrote:

    I don't agree that they were trying. The body language was all wrong - this was as gutless and limp-wristed an effort as I've seen. Even Graeme Hick showed more bottle, that's how bad these losers were. As for the Aussies trying to frustrate our batters into wayward shots - let Boycott come in and teach them how to defend. Let the Aussies have 10 maidens in a row, if they stay wicketless, they'll chenge lines and can be attacked. It's a mind game, but our players don't seem to have the basic intelligence to play. Shocking. Totally shocking.

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  93. At 07:43 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ian Simpson wrote:

    Hello Aggers,
    Congratulations to the Aussies on a series of fine, professional perfomances. As for England, from Harmison's first ball, to Giles's dropped catch, we have been the unfortunate witnesses to a lack of dedication, a lack of fight/guts/steel
    which is frightening for the future. The low point must surely be the loss of the 2nd test, when, after declaring at 551-6 at lunch on the 3rd day, England still contrived to lose the match in a display of incompetence which was mind-blowing.
    Where do we go from these devastating defeats?*Flintoff must give up the captaincy and concentrate on his batting and bowling
    *The following players must be axed : Harmison, Hoggard, Mahmood, Read/Jones, Collingwood
    *The management team must all go
    I shudder to think what our 2nd XI will produce in the ODI's.
    Conclusion : A thoroughly depressing tour and an insult to those supporters who took time off work and paid good money to travel across the world to support a bunch of second-rate, over-hyped, overpaid, incompetent, poorly-motivated and ill-prepared, so-called "sportsmen."
    What a contrast to the Australian "Dad's Army" team, whose will to win was apparent from the very start.
    Ian.

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  94. At 07:45 AM on 05 Jan 2007, wood108 wrote:

    problems: 1) flintoff struggles when captain. 2) missing simon jones and did not take broad. 3) should have taken mark butcher. 4) flintoff's ankle still is not right. 5) anderson played. 6) mahmood played. 7) both keepers ar second rate batsmen at best. 8) did not play monty in vital test matches. 9) cook not ready yet, thought he was poor when we needed big ppening stands. 10) strauss out of form. Warny summed it up MBE for Collingwood its is a joke, its not the players fault they got given it, but now they should be stripped of them. They go to work just like anyone else, they have a good year at the office and they are heros, then a bad one, well they should be treated the opposite! if i performed that badly at work i would get the sack. Best get it right lads (not just the players) for 2009.

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  95. At 07:47 AM on 05 Jan 2007, dpt wrote:

    "Where should the English players drop off those MBE's?"
    and where should the australians pick up theres from?? if england get an MBE for their 2005 victory surely the australians should be knighted for their 2006-07 performance

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  96. At 07:48 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ticko wrote:

    In my view there was only one England star this Ashes series: Aggers.

    What an absolute champion! Congratulations on a fine job.


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  97. At 07:51 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Stephen Howard wrote:

    tetley asks "A key question in the washup of this Ashes blitzkrieg is this: Did England's lack of preparation stem from arrogance or mismanagement?"
    As an Aussie, I say that England's defeat has come from a total lack of professsionalism on the part of the England management and players. Part of Australia rebuilding under Alan Border was that our team had to develop a professional attitude in relation to fitness as a no 1 and then developing their skills. But it strikes me that one area that really showed the difference was in fielding. As an aexmaple look at Symonds' hitting the middle stump. Any England players up to that elvel - I think not.

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  98. At 07:53 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Foze wrote:

    Why did England lose this test series? A lot of theories have been postulated about lack of preparation, lack of key players, lack of the captain, picking the wrong players in the first two tests, etc....

    Has anyone considered that England may have lost this becuase they were totally outplayed by a better team?

    Far from being the has-been 'dads army' we expected we found that modern fitness techniques and professionalism means that cricketers can play on very effectively into their mid to late 30's? Have we forgotten that Gooch was opening for England when he was 41? The Australians ruthlessly and professionally rolled England simply by playing better cricket than England.

    But what of the problems?

    Preparation and tour matches: the cricket calendar is not what it used to be. Cricket is a fully professional sport and instead of the old summer and winter test series all nations are playing as many as 4-5 test series per year as well as all the one day series, 20-20 series and ICC series... There is simply no way of arriving in Australia months ahead of time and playing half a dozen tour matches to 'get prepared'. Our cricketers need to be fully prepared at all times and be versatile enough to perform in all conditions. The Australians have done this now for years and won series after series around the world. England have to get this level of professionalism and backbone as well.

    Michael Vaughn MIA: What mystical power does Vaughn bring to England that his presence would have changed the result? Early on it felt like he was being used as a bogeyman early on to try and scare the Australians into thinking he might be back. He played 2 tour matches and made 0 and 9 before it was admitted he wouldn't play in the tests (though he looked 'sharp' making the 9 apparently...). I'm sure the Aussies would have welcomed a player with that sort of preparation and form into the England team! Or is it that the English players are a rudderless mob without Vaughn to inspire them? Is there not another player in the England team that can inspire the rest of the team? A sad situation if that's the case!

    Flintoff as captain: yes, very probably the wrong choice as fast bowlers should simply have to concentrate on steaming in and getting teams out, but remember he was the one that wanted the captaincy and most people supported it enthusiastically... before this series anyway.

    Declaring in Adelaide: ok, so the game was lost but not because of the declaration, it was because of the hopeless capitulation in the 2nd innings. If 550 was too early what should it have been? Bat on to 800 and kill the game off? Play for the draw? England were 1-0 down at the time and rightly wanted to win the test and go to Perth at 1-1, not ensure that they didn't lose. How many people thought the declaration was a bad thing with Australia 29/1 and looking a bit shaky at the close of play on day 2? The game was lost partly because England failed to bowl Australia out in the 1st innings for a low enough score but mainly because of the complete failure with the bat in the 2nd innings. Had they made as few as 200 the Australians would never have had a look in.

    Not picking Panesar (particularly): he took 5 in the first innings in Perth and the immediate typical overreaction was to hail him immediately as a hero and virtually the saviour of English cricket. After that he only managed to get another 3 wickets and was battered about. He'll make quite a bowler one day but I don't think he can be considered the difference between the teams in the first two tests.

    Well done Australia, its been a virtuoso performance and with any luck you will have shocked England into fundamental changes in structure and mindset so that 2009 is as good a series as 2005. Let's just stop looking for excuses!

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  99. At 07:55 AM on 05 Jan 2007, john fordyce wrote:

    The Aussie team that has just completed the whitewash job has helped to highlight a major flaw in the English cricketing set-up. The State Matches last four days which is a much more useful grounding for future Test players whereas the county treasurers in England want more ground-filling events like the 50,40,20-over 'Mickey Mouse' matches. County Championship matches could, in their view, be consigned to the scrapheap. Also the Treasurers are very pleased to be able to recruit a 'big name', or on occassions two or three, to keep the turnstiles ticking over. England has to go back to good honest hard graft and must ignore the 'result in a day while you watch' attitude of a certain TV channel. While Michael Vaughan saw it useful 'to be around' I wish I knew.

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  100. At 07:55 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Scott wrote:

    Looking forward to the next BBC Sports Personalities of the Year Awards.

    Team of the year

    Englands Ashes Test Team!

    What a difference a couple of years can make!

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  101. At 07:58 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Lee Perrin wrote:

    "A National Disgrace!"

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  102. At 08:01 AM on 05 Jan 2007, colin wrote:

    Its a pity in a way the Ashes arent played every yr if not for the very lop-sided games us Aussies have to put up with but just to hear Aggers and our own Kerry O'keefe talk bout the match in progress .Fair dinkum you two would be worth the admission price just to go n sit listen to .. as of your team ..least said the better .

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  103. At 08:02 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Mr Jking wrote:

    I watched David Graveny and a few has beens (Gough, Cork, Ali) at the HK cricket 6's in November 2006. They were disinterested. A year before I had shook Mr Graveny's hand and thanked him for winning the Ashes.

    The people are not right anymore and with time and the right attitude things can be restored - Lord McLaurin made English cricket what it was in 2005 - it needs another leader and a bit of fear to bring the balance back again. Quality time and Comfort zones are for wimps.

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  104. At 08:02 AM on 05 Jan 2007, john biggs wrote:

    The way that we have lost all the test matches
    is terrible, there appeared to be a lack of commitment on some players part.
    The first mistake was making Flinty captain he went the same way as the "Great Both" you can't
    burden match winning players with lots of extra pressure then expect them to bowl,bat and field
    to a high standard.I believe that those sort of players need to be a free spirit, when they enjoy
    themselves they benefit the team.
    I also believe that we should have a manager
    just like a football team who picks the side,picks the squad, and if the results don't happen get sacvked, that way we get rid of the enthusiastic
    amatuers out of our national team affairs.
    The truth is we could on for hours asking all sorts of questions but it all boils down to the fact
    that (a) we weren't good enough and (b) weren't
    professtional enough.
    P.S. not looking forward to the summer.

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  105. At 08:04 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Aled wrote:

    It was obvious that Australia would win back the ashes after the euphoria in 2005. English cricket got carried away in 2005 and stopped thinking which leads to bad organization and preparation and inevitably lacked the desire to and the vision to win. And that is down to the man at the top. It is time to look for a new face as coach and a new direction.
    All credit to the Aussies they learnt from that defeat and had done their homework.

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  106. At 08:04 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Mashton wrote:

    Mostly agree with you Aggers but really....was there any other result...on home soil?

    On paper the Aussies are chock full of world greats....this is a young England team. Form going into the Ashes was fair at best for England, and unstoppable for Australia. As a Pom in Oz I've witnessed many, many whitewashes in the last 6 years I've been here. Aside from India a few years ago, this was one of the better tussles I've seen. England really had their moments. Every other team in the world would also have been whitewashed I believe.

    Despite the ungracious claims of some Australians on this board, England fully deserved the '05 win (bad decisions for both sides), and if anything the the final scoreline flattered Australia (what would they have done without Warne?)...England tried to throw it away on several occasions.

    Comments such as this being the worst ever English team are pathetic. They would have competetive with any other team but Australia....learn from it! Move on! Sacking Fletcher won't help one bit. Lauded in '05, the man doesn't become a bad coach overnight.

    I don't remember seeing Oz play better as a team (backed up some of Ponting's comments). Simply brilliant. Well done!

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  107. At 08:06 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Nick Street wrote:

    'Freddie Five-O' (as a new nickname) - incentive enough to challenge for the 'five' to be the other way round in 2009! Australia gave away the 2005 Ashes as much as England won it. A lesson in itself, but a lesson learnt by Australia.

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  108. At 08:06 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Daraius Ardeshir wrote:

    Jonathan Agnew essentially highlights two issues to explain England's disastrous Ashes sojourn - lack of adequate preparedness and player discipline.

    Both are very valid and aptly raised. But, in my view, there are two other key issues he hasn't touched upon - complacency following the 2005 Ashes win, and an obvious unwillingness to accept reality.

    England were on a roll following their series victories against WI, NZ, SA and the Ashes win in 2005 was the icing on the cake. However, in the euphoria that followed (victory parades, champagne parties, MBEs) some stark realities were forgotten, or perhaps consciously ignored.

    Firstly that all the series wins prior to the Ashes were against teams which, at that time, were in the bottom half of the ICC rankings.

    Secondly, the Ashes itself was a pretty close thing, and two, if not three, matches could easily have gone the other way.

    Thirdly, that in the following three series against PK, IN, and SL, England's true calibre was shown up, and injuries notwithstanding, the overall performances were uninspiring, to say the least.

    All this, however, plus the pathetic showing in virtually every ODI tournament since 2005, was brushed aside using the argument that "the Ashes are the only important thing".

    Sadly, to the unbiased cricket enthusiast, the writing was on the wall for some time now, and the whitewash comes as no surprise.

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  109. At 08:06 AM on 05 Jan 2007, murph wrote:

    "Where should the English players drop off those MBE's?"

    The MCG will be just fine.

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  110. At 08:06 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Phil (Brisbane) wrote:

    The general consesus seems to be that England played poorly. The truth is, England played as well as Australia let them. I think most of you should take your blinkers off and concede just what a great Australian team this is. 5-0 was terrific. I, like many others, weren't interested in watching a contest - we just wanted to watch the Aussies thrash the Poms. We did so, easily.

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  111. At 08:07 AM on 05 Jan 2007, JRB wrote:

    Agree with Aggers sentiment - it's a little embarassing that 2005 was met with such a celebration of what it's now clear was mediocrity. I was out in Melbourne when the "family section" of the tour was in full swing, and it seemed like the players were part of a busmans holiday. Given that the Australians man-for-man are a better set of players, with some of the best ever...realistically England were going to have to out-prepare and out-fight them to have a chance. Neither of which England either appreciated or followed through on. The Australians responded to the loss in 2005 like the best winners do - they observed the pain of defeat and vowed to never let that happen again. It will be interesting to see whether there is the stomach/ desire within the ECB and the players to not be contented losers when 2009 comes around. I doubt they will respond the way the Australians did in 2005...but i hope that they do.
    Nonetheless there are some good players around - many of whom were on this trip. Keen to see Ed Joyce get into the side as his mentality is akin to the best of the Australians - his talent is undoubtable, but his work ethic and desire is even more outstanding but sadly untested at the highest level. That ethic ironically is borne out of having to struggle harder and from less crafted beginnings than the rest of the England crew...try learning your cricket in Ireland - you make your own skill/ luck/ desire.

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  112. At 08:09 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Dave Sloggett wrote:

    This was pitiful but predictable. My partner work me up this morning and said its cricket dave!! I said look we would not have lasted till lunch, oh dear how predictable or what!! This team has been undone by the psychology of Australia and their complete focus on winning, they took the loss as an national afront, they had to put it right and simply focused on that. We wrote biographies, partied, got pictures in Hello magazine and became celebs - what a total waste. Guys failures do not stay celebs, they become also rans. Do the decent thing hand back your MBEs, try and win them back in 2009. This was my lowest point in 35 years of watching cricket, I have never seen such an abject group of people.

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  113. At 08:09 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David wrote:

    Many of the comments here are absolutely correct.

    The cricket team, especially Flintoff need to stop the talk and cease to continue say how they are going to bounce back (as they have done all tour) and actually just go out and do it.

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  114. At 08:10 AM on 05 Jan 2007, twinklesportbilly wrote:

    England approached this tour with a supercillious attitude and took players along who were not fit physically and mentally and it has come back and bit them on the bum big style - GOOD.

    One of the most important things when any team goes on tour is team spirit and the bonding of said team, this never happened with this team and as for the debacle on Christmas day where some players went and did their own thing with their families absolutely ludicrous.

    England need to address the basics and the fans need to stop kidding themselves

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  115. At 08:10 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Dominic wrote:

    Agree with all you say Jonathan.

    1 - Its a job if everybody who got depressed at the thought of going to work quit and leave the whole world wouold be up the creek. So if you cant hack it stay at home in the first place.

    2 - Stuff going to see Kylie and Elton John and co and do some more bloody practicing instead. Was Jones in the team so we could read what he had for his breakfast in the free paper? Pick players on form Read and Monty had to be in from the word go.

    Finally Anderson just is not good enough at this level. Bowled like Dizzy did for Austrailia in the last tour. We would have been better served having someone like Dalrymple in hey he might not get a wicket but he is a better batsman than most of the team from what I saw.

    However well done Austrailia when you lose you have to take it on the chin and England fans have plenty of experience at that in all the games we invented.

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  116. At 08:11 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Monty Halls wrote:

    The Ashes - England were beaten by a combination of experience, application and,more importantly, a bloody-minded determination and grit shown by the Aussie team. I dont think that there is a huge difference in the talent, but,significantly, the 'gutsy' English batsmen (Pieterson and Collingwood and Bell) top the English
    averages.

    Sure, the young team need a bit of time to develop, but the character of the individual is at least as important as the talent and experience.

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  117. At 08:11 AM on 05 Jan 2007, clarkie wrote:

    Why is it that everybody else can see where the problems have been on this tour except for those responsible for it?

    Its all very well Duncan Fletcher saying that we will sit down and review the processes and look at where we went wrong but I can't see what good this is going to do. The people that are going to carry out this review are the same people that are responsible for the poor preparation, poor selection judgements and poor management of the tour as a whole.

    Like JA says if this is going to be carried out it should be done in public so we everybody knows what has been asked and what the solutions are. Although i doubt very much that this will happen. We obviously didn't learn from last winters tours where we went into the Tests underprepared and with some players only half fit so why will it be any different this year?

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  118. At 08:12 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ijon Tichy wrote:

    It's hard to see where Australia's supremacy ends and England's ineptitude begins.

    I think it might be the way Australia always had a couple of players who would save them if they were in trouble. England always hoped a couple of players would get them out of the trouble they were already in.

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  119. At 08:12 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Jesse Holland wrote:

    What can one say? Offer Ricky Pontin tons of money and ask him to coach England for the next Ashes series.

    Australia were never troubled, never frightened, and even when England placed a hugh score, the Aussies never look worried or concerned.

    England lacked passion and presence. Australia attacked both in bat and field, and the days of yesteryear with England prancing around London are a far distant memory.

    Duncan Fletcher and Freddie, what went wrong?

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  120. At 08:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Chris Nriapia wrote:

    Futher to Jonathan's blog above, one thing we cannot loose focus of is that the England side is a relatively young side. The Warnes, McGraths & Langers of this world are all mid 30's and retiring at their peaks. We all know that there were a number of issues surrounding why we didnt perform from preparation through to squad selection. The Ashes have gone and that's that. We need to regroup, probably make some changes from the top down and focus on the future of English Cricket. If the Ashes tour was a school report it would have said 'easily distracted, must do better'

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  121. At 08:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John wrote:

    Having listened to Fletcher and Flintoff I'm sure I watched a different series to them ! Thet say we were competetive and that this side can grow.We didn't have one player that would make the aussie side . The ECB need to get tough and get rid of the old boy network . Get some eager , hungry and angry men in this team .

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  122. At 08:14 AM on 05 Jan 2007, N. Kirby wrote:

    Whilst this a sad day for English Cricket, it should be reflected that we were beaten by a fully committed and professional Australian side, in comparison, some of our play was sloppy, at best. I hope that the England management do not rely on the retirement of Warne and McGrath, to assume that we will beat future Australian teams. On the positive side, we have a nucleous of young quality players, and it was pleasing to see Panesar prove he has the ability to be a match winner, on any continent. It was also good to have a top quality 'keeper, in Read, behind the stumps, despite his poor batting, which must give confidence to the bowlers.

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  123. At 08:14 AM on 05 Jan 2007, scott winstone wrote:

    ok ok, a humiliating whitewash, and the knives are out. Dont lets forget that we were playing a good side, to say the least, with one of the best if not the best spinner of all time along with a pace man out of the top draw. Oh and there are a couple of batsmen in there as well.

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  124. At 08:16 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Barry Cross wrote:

    As long as those who need to learn from the experience it will never be a total disaster.

    Chin up. Be prepared. Roll on 2009 and a truly competitive series.

    OZ again in 2009!

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  125. At 08:18 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Brian Ivon Jones wrote:

    I do agree with much of what you have written above but Troy Cooley wasn't poached by Australia. I understand from the media that England were not prepared to let him sign a two year contract and so he walked, thus demonstrating yet again the unbelievable shortsightedness of the ECB board. This brings me to another point; for England to recover the Ashes we not only have to adopt a similar apporach to the one taken by Australia at the end of 2005 but also look hard and long at the people organising English cricket.I am deeply alarmed at listening to some of the things being quoted from the likes of Dave Morgan and Tom Graveney, who both seem to be under the misguided opinion that we lost becaue we missed a couple of key players and had a young inexperienced team. I believe like you that we were totally unprepared, Harmison's bowling was a disgrace for most of the tour and Strauss was completely out of touch. The whole matter of families and girlfirends on tour, needs to be looked at seriously. Finally the selection and captaincy are obvious areas which need to be immediately addressed althoug I understand that Flintoff is flying home due to his ankle, which will save a lot of embarrassment all round.
    One has to sympathize with the likes of Plunkett who has not bowled a ball in anger for the whole Test series and is now probably expected to step into the One Day side.
    We need radical change and not polite tinkering at the top to turn things around.Fletcher has done very well for the most part but I think he has finally run out of ideas and should be allowed to go with dignity due to his excellent record.

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  126. At 08:18 AM on 05 Jan 2007, reds wrote:

    A disappointing series but still worth polling who people think was England's best player in the series.
    My vote goes to Ian Bell who at least managed four 50s and took some catches in the field. (didn't he also take the most catches in the triumphant 2005 series?) Had more of the top order been more consistent and posted similar scores more regularly it could have been different. Cheers Ian - a pity you couln't get that elusive ton.

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  127. At 08:19 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Nick wrote:

    True, all too true!

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  128. At 08:19 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Fred wrote:

    This total complete humiliating thrashing is not only fully deserved but it could not have been any other way.

    The Aussies lost in 2005 because they were caught asleep and England bowled really well. England deserved to win and a fight to the wire was no more than they deserved as far as the ease of victory.

    Yet almost immediately they were talking of world domination. Then it was off to get their MBE's. This was infuriatingly inappropriate and sowed the seeds for their downfall. Fact is although they bowled well in 2005 they were lucky to win. Yet they acted as if they were a genuinely superior team to the Aussies.

    I can already assure you that the 2009 attempt to regain the Ashes is already lost. I say this because even the magnitude of this defeat still has not shaken them out of their platitudinous slumber, and if a 5-0 thrashing coupled with the occasional record like 'the highest declared 1st innings score to lose a match in Test cricket. Ever.' did not wake them up then nothing will.

    I present to you as a single humble microcosmic example, Anderson's comments about the Colly/Warne sledging...

    "James Anderson yesterday described Collingwood as the best sledger in the team, but the key to the art is to pick the right target, usually a player lacking confidence." Yep that's Warnie alright, shy and fragile personality who has no belief in his own ability, easily crumbles under the slightest pressure.

    What a fool. What a foolish comment. The right to safely sledge can only be earned with years of excellent cricket under intense pressure. Trying to sledge without having earned it only puts more pressure on oneself and is therefore not only futile but self destructive.

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  129. At 08:21 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Chris Rhodes wrote:

    I love cricket but today I just feel an overwhelming sadness at the way we have capitulated in this series, albeit to a superior side.

    Our bowlers seemed incapable of bowling the right length throughout the whole series and it reminded me so much of the past when cricketers such as Peter Martin were called in to toss another 4 ball at an Australian batsman. That combined with a muddled selection policy, batsman who can't concentrate and frankly, a captain out of his depth (and injusred to boot) has led this this humiliation.

    Despite everyones feelings today, we MUST ensure that this series is looked upon not so much as a failure, but an enormous series of lessons learned. If we don't, we will sink back into cricket obscurity.

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  130. At 08:23 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Duds wrote:

    What depressed me is the way Englands batsman threw their wickets away time and time again with soft dismissals. Collingwood is not a top order batsman, yes he got a double century but he is not a world class number 4/5. The bowlers also looked incapable of putting 6 balls on the money and were lost for ideas - I am surprised they even had a plan of attack in their dressing room - it certainly went AWOL.
    The application was not there and Australia wanted it more - all credit to them against a very poor England side.

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  131. At 08:24 AM on 05 Jan 2007, BMFC wrote:

    England are an absolute disgrace and don't bother coming back to England.

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  132. At 08:24 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Graeme Blundell wrote:

    Dear Johnathon,

    Well, there we are then. A 5-0 drubbing by Australia to win this series of the Ashes.

    I am disappointed to say the least but I take some cheer from having listened to the series in the car as I travel to work. The TMS commentary has kept me from going spare in the usual traffic on the M25.

    Geoffrey has been his usual outspoken self and it has been nice to listen to some of the Australia commentators and their views.

    It is quite an odd thing that as we listen you to all, you become alomst as freinds to us the listeners.

    I have to say, well done on making your comments on Chris Read. The Jones / Read debate got quite vociferous and almost spiteful at times on the old TMS message board. I think you are right in that Read is no good enough to step up to Test level cricket. I did see him keep down at Canterbury in the Pakistan warm-up game against England A and he did score 150. His glove work was good and he is an agile keeper, but I think he is out of his depth as a batsman in the full test side.

    I felt that in the absence of a skip then someone like Adams from Sussex could have been seconded not for his playing ability but because he knows the job of captaincy. And that is quite a tough statement to make being a Kent man myself.

    On the batting line up. I have commented that a couple of experienced campaigners, Mark Butcher being one, could have been in the side. The balance between experience and youth was not right in the side.

    Bowling. I am not sure where to start. We know our ranks are depleted but the quality of the reserves is not good enough to step in as replacements. I generalise here and don't think it is right to name names. I do think that the quality of coaching needs to improve and feel we can learn a lot from Glen McGrath and his metronomic style. Line and length as Geoffrey would say.

    Coaching. Developing our coaches is paramount. The ECB must invest in coaches and facilities. Is there a chance that a coaches acadamy can be set up? Is the ECB that forward thinking? I am not sure.

    Well, I have to sign off now - time for some work. Hope to see / listen to you again soon.

    Yours sincerely,

    Graeme Blundell.

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  133. At 08:25 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Mike from Sydney wrote:

    Regarding a 5 game soccer series: it seems there are some with short memories here!

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  134. At 08:26 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Chris Burke wrote:

    Sadly, right to the end, England, and their acting captain, have been in denial that anything is wrong. Flintoff has talked much about the team showing character. However, talk is cheap. These are highly paid professionals who want to live the high life. Leave the family and significant others at home. Be professional - do not bring back an injured player back into the side because he is a mate - it gives the wrong message to the man 'in post' that they are only in the side as second best. It is time for Fletcher to go - he has done much for the side but new ideas are needed now. Flintoff should do the honourable thing and resign the acting captaincy. That is part of leadership - admitting when you have failed.

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  135. At 08:27 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Trevor London wrote:

    If Andrew Flintoff really believes they tried their best, then we really are in deep trouble.
    This series was an embarrassment from ball one.
    I was at the Gabba for the first ball of the series, and the crowd laughed at Harmison's pathetic delivery. I had looked forward to that moment for a long time, and I can tell you, it hurt.
    I can't see one lesson that had been learned by any England player. Pietersen's final wicket was a carbon copy of his dismissal in the First Test... he played well all the previous afternoon, then gifted a catch in the first over of the next day. That's RUBBISH!
    One word will sum up this England team - pathetic.
    Can't wait for the Series DVD to be rushed out... what? No plans for one? There's a surprise.

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  136. At 08:28 AM on 05 Jan 2007, richard wrote:

    Not one word of apology from the captain or the coach, or indeed any of the players, to the fans (especially those who spent considerable sums of money travelling to Australia). Not one "mea culpa". Pathetic.

    Or is Freddy right, and everybody tried their utmost, 100% of the time, and were "just beaten by a better team"?

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  137. At 08:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Tom wrote:

    Harmison has proved a liability on tour. In an interview recently he said something like we would rather be at home than playing australia.

    I want him out I dont want people like that representing my country, im sure he brings the rest of the squad down with his moaning.

    I want strong characters with a real hunger, desire, drive and ambition in the team not weak minded wimps like HArmison.

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  138. At 08:31 AM on 05 Jan 2007, prithvi wrote:

    Whan has England really dominated the Aussies. Probably 50 years back. So, don't dream of anything different for the next 50 years.

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  139. At 08:31 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Will Lin wrote:

    Jonathan, I'm afraid nothing will change. A couple of home Test victories against lesser opposition will just paper over the cracks in the team. Too much bureaucracy in cricket and the talent in the country is thus being overlooked.

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  140. At 08:32 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Rasta Man wrote:

    This series simply underlined the fact that when the Aussies lose, it is usually a one off. I still believe England are a good test side and have the talent for the future. As usual, it is the media and the fans who expect the world out of them - they need to wise up to the fact that England are not world beaters, and be reasonable in their expectations.

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  141. At 08:32 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Jim wrote:

    It's difficult to blame the players for our truly appalling defence of the Ashes because they have been playing under the most extreme pressure since Brisbane and were clearly grossly underprepared.

    We regained the Ashes by dint of superhuman team effort and tremendous individual performances, even then it was a close run thing.

    Why oh why did we go into the tour with several players who are only half fit physically and mentally.

    Why oh why did we not have several proper competitive 4-day warm-up games to get our bowlers operating at t heir peak perfornance. By all accounts Harmison bowled really well in the second innings at Sydney!!! Didn't notice that the Aussie bowlers started the series at less than 100%.

    The Aussies are a great side and I feel it is grossly insulting to them that we did not appear to take the Ashes seriously enough.

    Sadly I feel the selectors let us down badly and should be replaced. The administrators should take a hard look at tour schedules to ensure that our touring sides get proper 1st class preparation next time round. Finally we must pick a fit squad...better to have inexperienced, highly motivated young players than half-fit old lags!!

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  142. At 08:32 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Richard wrote:

    Have managed to resist but must now have my say having heard Freddies post-match interview.

    Apparently all this doom and gloom is a waste of time. England played well (presumably you don't count the number of times batsmen threw away wickets hooking, chasing wide balls - KP this morning was criminal - or getting run out not standing behind your crease, or getting stumped by going too far forward after Warner with one over of the day left, or getting caught in the deep with the side in trouble or not backing up properly to effect run outs, or not being able to consistantly bowl line and length). We showed lots of ability (!) and character (Second innings' in Adelaide, Sydney anyone?). And we have a good summer of test cricket to look forward to (in Freddies mind, the World cup is obviously not happening, or is at least not something to look forward to - OK maybe he has a point there).

    Bottom line is that we have been hammered in 5/5 tests showing poor preparation and amateurish play. We have a good 1st XI, no strength in depth (Mahmood and Anderson look average and inconsistent, last summer Plunkett, Tremlett and Broad we also in squads - two of these need to stand up and make themselves un-droppable). We need a solid opening partnership - Cook has looked out of his depth opening this series and there has been no replacement available - this gives batsmen 3-5/6 a chance. We need players who are fit and have been playing - I'd take a slightly worse batsman or bowler with runs/overs under their belt than a guy who hasn't played for 12 months (Freddie, Giles). The 'keeper and the tail keep getting hammer for not scoring runs but failures by 1-6 have put the Aussies on the attack and those boys under too much pressure.

    It's been a disaster from start to finish and Aggers is absolutely right - the planning of this tour needs to taken apart in all aspects, scheduling, selection, training/practice matches, to give the XI guys who go out into the middle the best chance of putting in a performance.

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  143. At 08:34 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Max King wrote:

    Bonding ? have these players never met before, or played together previously? Are performance, endeavour, discipline dependent on bonding? I was under the impression that they are professional, dedicated cricketers, but it would appear that they need more than skill and application to succeed.

    Under-prepared ? maybe - however I thought that cricket was a full-time job, and that they had played plenty of cricket (including together) not long before they arrived in Oz. I believe that they had played as much cricket as the Australian's in the lead-up. And how could "under-preparation" account for losing 5 tests?

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  144. At 08:34 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Jaydeecee wrote:

    Aggers - spot on about pandering to the players. The problem with cricket and this sporting country in general is that there is no commitment to your country unless there is some reward involved. The Aussies don't want MBE's or open bus tours they just dream of wearing that baggy green cap. This tour was encapsulated for me with the missed run out of Warne by mahmood - he had just given up. Let's forget this sorry tour and SERIOUSLY shake up English cricket from the top down.

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  145. At 08:35 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Phil Matthews wrote:

    It's quite plain and simple to me. When big business buys 'the rights' to televise national sporting events such as this, it deprives the majority of people access to it. How can younger generations get enthused and then involved in major sports such as cricket and rugby if they have to pay to watch thier national teams play in international events - many families simply cannot afford to do so. The so-called 'right' to watch a national sporting event should lie firmly in the hands of the British people and it should be free - what the devil do we pay a TV license for - to watch the Weakest bloody Link everday?! It saddens me and many others that we have sold a major element of our culture so that the priviledged few can watch it. This is simply not acceptable and until we give back to the Bristish people what is rightly theirs, then poor sporting performances like the ashes cricket and rubgy fiascos will perpetuate in the future.

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  146. At 08:35 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Botters wrote:

    "England win something, then a short while later capitulate spectacularly."

    Please apply this to everything since the late 1800's, especially sport.

    So why, is everyone suprised and getting so upset about it? It happens decade in, decade out. Whats more, we all knew it was going to happen, and the same will happen after the rubgy world cup.

    All of you posting comments about feeling short changed and disgusted about this latest miserable performance please remember it is the English way and to have followed up one excellent sporting performance with another would have meant breaking a tradition that is centuries old.

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  147. At 08:36 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Paul Carroll wrote:

    I found the interview with Steve Harmison on Sky TV the other evening most bizarre. Her neither seems to have an appetite for playing cricket yet alone touring and playing for his country. AIf Mr Harmison, wishes to stay in the North East and be with his family, then he should apply for another job and let someone who values the chance of playing for their country do so. I agree with Jonathan Agnew, that there needs to be a move out of the comfort zone for a bunch of highly paid non performers, who would in the real world of work, would now be looking for other jobs having been dismissed for poor performance and failing to care!!

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  148. At 08:37 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Stephen Hoye wrote:

    Great entry Jonathan, preparation is often the key to any competition. Australia were the better side throughout. We should take lessons from our opponents in how they prepared and what they did in over coming their problems. Like you I fear for our the up and coming one day series and the World Cup.

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  149. At 08:38 AM on 05 Jan 2007, GB wrote:

    I wonder if John Buchanan has made every Aussie player watch the Trafalagar square parade night after night.

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  150. At 08:38 AM on 05 Jan 2007, GB wrote:

    I wonder if John Buchanan has made every Aussie player watch the Trafalagar square parade night after night.

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  151. At 08:38 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Peter Sykes wrote:

    It is over-simplistic to say that Australia "had the better players". In the individual performances (highest innings, best bowling performance, wk dismissals) England players took the honours. What England lacked was team ability in depth. Australian players showed on several occasions that throwing your wicket away and poor shot selection are not subject to an English monopoly; this, in spite of the decidedly "curate's egg" consistency of the English bowlers. However, even though the Australians found themselves in a dire predicament from time to time, they could draw on reserves to rally and compensate for earlier failures. From the English point of view we lacked good, aggressive captaincy - setting defensive fields the moment an Australian "slogger" comes to the crease and hits out is a totally wrong strategy. We were also let down by a lack of preparation as well as an attempt to create silk purses out of sows'ears. I am sure that the English management recognised that an established wk-batsman like Adam Gilchrist is a huge strength in the Australian side. They understandably craved a similar advantage, but then made the wrong choices, mainly due to the unavailability of resources.

    I hope that England takes a good hard look at itself and the state of the game in our country and draws thje required conclusions.

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  152. At 08:38 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Adrian G wrote:

    JA is spot on in his remarks. As I wrote yesterday - in inevitable anticipation of the predictable result - will lessons be identified and learnt? I have little optimism.

    Knowing tha the Aussies would be ruthlessly determined to win back the Ashes why did we not prepare equally professionlly and focused? The arrangements made to meet this need beggar belief. We got what we deserved.

    If the players are not going to be 100% focused and committed on the task -as JA wrote(finally) - do not tour. They are being pathetic to say theay cannot tour without them (they do not join servicemen on operations - and the Ashes series should be treated as like) Accompanying families girlfriends? Join after the series is won (or lost!).

    And who is going to accept responsibility? Flintoff - probably not - he did his best but clearly showed that he should not be captain. For starters FLETCHER AND GRAVENEY shobe sacked.

    Finally as a sign of team contrition return all those MBEs

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  153. At 08:42 AM on 05 Jan 2007, GrayK wrote:

    Couldnt agree with your more Aggers.

    What struck me most about the last 6 weeks compared to 2005 was the lack of sustained intensity in the England team.

    I was living in Perth during the 2005 series, and my Aussie mates were impressed/shocked how the English bounced back from lords to really harry them out of that series.

    The England management and team were complacent going into the series and didnt respect the situation they were going into down under.

    The ICC tournament in India was an excuse. If they wanted these Ashes enough, they should have pulled the test players from the ODI team and spent the 3 weeks preparing down under.

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  154. At 08:42 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Muhammad Atif wrote:

    I bet Geoffrey's mother would have fared better in Australia than any of our players did! Possibly a double century and figures of 20-0.

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  155. At 08:43 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Tom wrote:

    I agree with Agger's comments about WAGs and commitment on tour, but the main reason we lost this series so badly was the batting. To win the series was always going to be a struggle with so many key players from 2005 either not there or not match fit. But to collapse so regularly had to be the result of great bowling by Australia (it wasn't that good) or poor batting by England. In 2005 only Vaughan and Trescothick had the temperament and technique to make big hundreds regularly. It didn't really matter whether they did or not, the important thing is that there was someone there who knew how. The only current England batters with the ability to grind out long innings are Bell and Cook, and they need lots more practice. Strauss is hopelessly unable to graft and should be dropped. But, given the current England setup, he won't be.

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  156. At 08:43 AM on 05 Jan 2007, st george wrote:

    i call on english supporters to refuse to come to australia in 2010, if the format for the tour is not changed..........we demand 1 month to acclimitise and minimum three 4 day first class games to warm up........unless england give themselves the best chance after this debacle, what is the fan to conclude?

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  157. At 08:43 AM on 05 Jan 2007, mckennma wrote:

    Lets see how many books the English team publish after this debacle. Too many living on past glories. The heroes of 2005 will now be remembered for taking an embarassing mauling.

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  158. At 08:47 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Godfrey Williams wrote:

    I read one headline this morning with Flintoff stating that he was 'optimistic for 2009'. Pray, where does this new found optimism derive from after such total humiliation? I hope that all who read your 'Wake-Up Call' comments appreciate that your observations and those of many others are generated by genuine English patriotism. There must be immediate changes(hopefully resignations) within the management of English cricket, Fletcher and Graveney now, with the captaincy situation to be reviewed at the earliest opportunity. I firmly believe that until this happens the physcological damage caused during this tour debacle cannot begin to heal.

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  159. At 08:47 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Richard Cudlip wrote:

    This is a very well written comment, I agree totaly with it. We have to look forward and not dwell on this thrashing by the Aussies. Maybe bring in new players so there is competiton for spaces in the England side. Teach some mental toughness that England seem to lack, but I am sure there are other players out there that could to the job.

    Maybe somebody like Botham or Alan Lamb to become the new coach these ex players know only one way and thats winning not losing.

    We can prepare just like the Aussies did when they lost to us, start now and get the ashes Back.

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  160. At 08:48 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Damian Martyn wrote:

    I was a quarter of a way through my half pint at the sports bar in Haymarket and it was all over and had to go home. Oh dear.

    If Robert Key had been playing we would have won 5-0

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  161. At 08:48 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Moz wrote:

    I am in Sydney and went to the previous match in Melnbourne too. The body language of the players particularly Pietersen and Harmison showed it all.
    All our players are singularly good enough but we cannot compete with the Australian win ethic.

    Not one single player can come away from this Ashes series saying they have done well.

    As a footnote Rudi Kuertzen did more to bring forward the inevitable TV umpire in just one game at the MCG. His decisions were woeful.

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  162. At 08:49 AM on 05 Jan 2007, H Oliver-Bellasis wrote:

    Chastening is a kind word to use - humiliating might be a better fit. It all started by inadequate thought prior to squad selection. Don't take match unfit players anywhere. Flintoff himself is hardly fit; they make him Captain (untried). Graveny should resign. Next use Strauss and Vaughan, if he is fit. Find a Troy Cooley replacement who can succeed. Bring some discipline back into the dressing room - give each player a card which says if you give your wicket away - no match fee.
    Build a proper competive selection and playing system that never allows humiliation again.

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  163. At 08:50 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Russel wrote:

    Thing is Jonathon, you use all this hard talk in your reports but I can guarentee the instant you see anyone from the ECB or PCA you're back to shining their shoes so as not to fall out with anyone.

    Us normal england fans are in no position to talk to these people and castigate them, they're not interested, but someone like you can make a difference on our behalf and actually tell them how stupid they are to their face and what you and countless other ex-pros think needs to be done, the question is whether you will forgo the free lunches and other perks you no doubt get for the good of the england team and do all you can to get things changed.

    Will YOU (and others like Gatting and Hussain) rise to this occasion, or will you give up as meekly as the current team?

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  164. At 08:52 AM on 05 Jan 2007, albie fraser wrote:

    You all seem to forget that the West Indies also won 5-0 on English soil.

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  165. At 08:53 AM on 05 Jan 2007, bill wrote:

    aggers i just wont to say how much i enjoy the abc comentary and i think you would be one of the most unbiased commentator i have ever listen to and i think what andy and the boys did for langer was very special i am a trucker driver in brisbane and i listen to most of the comentary job well done to all the team bill

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  166. At 08:54 AM on 05 Jan 2007, jw wrote:

    I feel really sorry for the England supporters who have paid a lot of money to go and see a pile of crap, oh sorry,sometimes the games finished early and they saw nothing at all, at least there's the weather . The England set up and players need to learn now that this is a well paid JOB, so leave the family etc behind until the JOB is done, as a paying cricket supporter,this tour is an insult to my money.
    We MUST build a team that wants to and will win matches and tours both home and away, who are fit and ready to play, players who WANT to be there,if they can't hack that, then go and enjoy safe mediocrity, not the cauldron of WANTING to play and beat allcomers as part of a team,Look at how Australia prepared as a team, worked as a team, they wanted to WIN as a team.

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  167. At 08:54 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Shane wrote:

    Further to Fred (130) - didn't Pieterson try to call Symonds a prefessional fielder before he went on to score 150+ when the game was in the balance? Sledging can always turn around and bite you on the bum.

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  168. At 08:55 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Phil wrote:

    As always Jonathan you are on the money, the Authorities are more interested in meaningless One Day Triangular Series after the tests than proper preparation matches before them.

    Also keep the families away, this is not a holiday for gods sake, it is a job of work! Its no different than the WAGS and the footballers, and look how bad they are!

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  169. At 08:56 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Peter B wrote:

    Jonathon,
    It has been a pleasure hearing your commentary over here this summer. I wish I could say it has been a pleasure to listen and watch the performance of the England team, but sadly for those of us wishing for a close and entertaining series, it has not. Glen McGrath predicted a 5-0 whitewash well before the start of the series and it did not come across as arrogance this time, but it struck me then that the aussies were really "up for it" and were desperate to regain the ashes they had lost the previous winter. There was so much grit and determination, that England had to be a much better side than what many of us suspected. The series was heavily hyped, due to the previous result as finally it was possible, the aussies would be tested after series upon series of one sided competition with the Poms.
    Sometimes I wonder whether it is simply due to lack of national pride in England, that causes sporting failure at the highest level. Perhaps times have changed, but as a kid growing up in the UK, we never sang the national anthem, never saluted the flag and were never drilled to be proud of our country and want to represent it.
    Bringing my own children up here is a very different story. Most persons are proud to be aussies (I am proud to have had "the operation") and we love singing Advance Australia Fair, flying the Southern Cross and everyone wants the national sides to do well (and everyone hates losing so much that they do something about it on the occasions when it happens. We love our heroes and forgive and sometimes forget their off field antics. Politicians openly support the national teams.....vast sums of money is invested in developing sport and not just paying prima-donas, huge salaries for little in return. The number of volunteers in sport here is phenomenal. In the district where I currently reside, our local association has over 3000 registered coaches, managers and other support persons at a local, grass roots level, and they are provided training and attend coaching courses and the like.
    English sport could learn a lot from observing just a fraction of what goes on here. The socceroos have finally cracked the big time after years of being given a raw deal by Fifa and they seized their opportunity at the last world cup and gave a great fighting display.......way superior to the woeful displays from the glamour of the English team.
    I love living here, it is my place of choice. I still love the history of the UK, all the old buildings and stories from a colourful past.........but does the whole country have to be history?

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  170. At 08:56 AM on 05 Jan 2007, charles Hartley wrote:

    I have never been so ashamed to sit and watch us capitulate so easily in every test.
    Even the fantastic "Barmy Army" have turned into the "Tartan Army" ie: knowing they are supporting losers but enjoying themselves anyway.

    English cricket is at an all time low, and this only 18 months after arguably the best ever ashes win. My concern though, is that I don't believe the players and coaching staff believe this. All I've heard throughout this disastrous tour is how the team have picked positves out of a defeat, only to follow it with another humiliating defeat.

    The present England set-up is simply not acceptable, we need a strong coach & captain who will not bow down to making these tours into a family & friends holiday outing, they need reminding that they represent their country......and that's a serious business.

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  171. At 08:57 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Peter Johnson wrote:

    As an Anglo Australian I can see why the English fail so much, In Australia it is the ambition of every cricketer to play for their Country, they are dedicated and unlike the English they put the game first and hate loosing. in short England treat the game as a way to an extended Holiday.In Australia a test team place is contested for at every state match by every player, In a country populated at over three times the size of Australia the UK should be disgusted at this latest showing. I know I am.

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  172. At 08:57 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Reka wrote:

    Let the people of England learn not to get carried away like we did in 2005 and say this could be the best test side in years to come.

    Please keep things in perspective. Please Please Please don't rush to give honours. There is no value at all now.

    The signs were very clear even before the ashes started but we were just kidding our selves and saying we will regain. Any sensible person could see that England were going to get slaughtered.

    God Luck. Shut the mouths and let the cricket do the talking. We should not belong to the NATO.(No action talk only)

    Bye
    Reka

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  173. At 08:58 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John B-H wrote:

    I'm afraid the the England team have been wonderful examples of the national attitude to all sport; its the taking part that counts not the winning. As long as we maintain that attitude then all our sports teams will suffer continued disasters.
    Its all about winning, if you're not winning then you are losers. We must develop a national mind set that we play to win, at all times, no matter what the cost. Schools teach that competion is a bad thing as some of them lose and feel very upset. Good, thats what its all about for goodness sake! Find some guts and some sense of pride and go out there to win and murder the opposition, it might just avoid another whitewash.

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  174. At 08:58 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Adrian wrote:

    So waking up this morning English Cricket and more generally English Sport finds itself in a familiar position; having being totally thrashed, humiliated call it what you want and all the usual excuses are all ready flying around.

    Blame the management.

    Blame the English cricket structure and system.

    Blame the preparation.

    even Blame the bunch of 11 "Celebrities" on the field wearing the 3 lions symbolising the good old British values of passion, pride and empty trophy cabinets.

    So what have these values produced in the last 100 years of the major team sports:

    1. 1 World cup football

    2. 1 World cup rugby

    Can any passionate English fan of whatever team sport they support say this record is nothing short of disgraceful if you take into consideration that England has a larger player pool and much more developed infrastructure than most of its rivals in these sports.

    Wouydn't it be obvious to say that there seems to be a common problem across all these sports ?

    I think there is and it is caused by 2 major reasons:

    1. The first one is you and myself the British sporting public celebrating sporting mediocrity and being statisfied with one off acheivements.

    Wayne Rooney is not a football great. He has talent yes but has he won anything yet no. Stop believing or even reading the headlines (which should stop them being printed.) Ignore Mr Rooney and Coleen. Let him realise he is still only a kid and needs to prove himself over a ten year period (including winning international trophies)before anything near the word great can be associated with his name. Not to do so is to insult the true greats ;the 1966 side who did actually achieve some that can be called world class.

    The same goes for Mr Flintoff. He is another with talent but has not achieved anything near the true great all rounders. Even at the present time Shaun Pollock and Jacque Kallis records make his pale into insignificance.

    So we must stop lavishing these so called icons and start expecting from them. The more they achieve the more we must expect and if they do evolve into true legends they will deliver like Shane Warne and Glen Mcgrath consistently do.

    I think this change in sporting culture will assist with the second factor:

    2. The English sporting mentality. I can tell you from being of Antipodean origin that deep down all cricket and rugby lovers from that part of the world know the biggest weapon we have against English teams is being able to consistently win the mental battle against them. Generally although there have been exceptions (Martin Johnson for one) the word winning has become this over complicated. elaborate almost scientific theory that can only be be solved by having a ward full of coaching staff. Just by listening to regular rugby pundits Dewi Morris and Stuart Barnes dissect a rugby game I feel like going back to tertiary education to feel a more adequate rugby supporter.

    Do you think the 2003 World Cup success was founded on this? Was it not more to do with the almost fortunate timing of having a bunch of players on the field who knew how to do the basics correctly, believed in themselves and team mates and had a leader who understood all of this. Just to prove this point look at what all of Coach Woodwards wonderful ground breaking scientific coaching methods did for the 2005 Lions team and Southampton FC.

    The Ashes was not lost because of the management team, English cricket structure and system, preparation or even players.

    It was lost by following the English sporting tradition and mentality of loosing.

    Winning matches is achieved by applying simple sporting basics in a more successful and consistent manner than the opposition. To do this the players must have belief, mentality and skills superior to the opposition and realise sporting greatness is only achieved by applying these qualities day in and day out.

    If these qualities are developed from a young age starting now here in England and with the natural advantages of large player pools and better infrastrusture the next 100 years should read a lot differently.

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  175. At 08:59 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Philip Rolle wrote:

    I must disagree concerning the players' families

    It will not be possible to persuade players to tour regularly if they are away from their families. The only way is to allow families to visit.

    Families are usually blamed when tours are lost. However, I do not think they were to blame for the lack of team spirit or discipline evident in this team.

    In my view, the lack of team spirit was because some players felt partly excluded by manager and captain. Secondly, Flintoff was not the man for the captaincy. I suspect that, unlike Vaughan he shares Fletcher's faults of inflexibility, dogmatic approach and lack of imagination

    The poor results themselves come about because of a variety of factors. Australia had by far the better side, and the lack of preparation was hardly conclusive.

    Looking forward, I believe we will need to jetison from the side Jones, Read and Giles. Mahmood and Anderson must be sent back to the A side until they can bowl line and length and, in Mahmood's case, until his attitude improves.

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  176. At 09:01 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Barry wrote:

    As a an interested 'sideliner' - I love cricket and am only interested in seeing class players - I have to say this England team was a joke.

    I think the whole sledging thing is an even bigger joke. Who in the England team could even consider themselves to have the "right to safely sledge" ....."earned with years of excellent cricket"

    What a load of rubbish. There should be no 'right' to sledge...and certainly not for any England player. Individual sledging is the fallback of weak individuals, Warne only uses it as part of his superiority, players with real class don't bother, their skill is sufficient.

    As to MBEs - another joke, they should have the courage to hand them back. It also shows where the connections in Lords lie - part of the establishment - what sort of a society is England?

    If they weren't contractually commited to the ODIs they should slink off.

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  177. At 09:01 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ian Smith wrote:

    The England cricket team is simply a joke, and were lucky to win the last Ashes series in 2005 thanks to poor weather conditions.

    How these players were awarded MBE's and voted Team of the Year for BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2005 is beyond me.

    Those awards should have been given to Liverpool Football Club for their Uefa Champions League success in capturing their fifth European Cup. They did far more to deserve these accolades than the England cricket team. Defeating the likes of Juventus, Chelsea, and then AC Milan (coming back to win from 3-0 down at half time, in the final, as everyone knows) on their way to winning the competition.

    It pains me to say that I see troubled times ahead for the team. I don't see England winning a single game in the upcoming ODI series, and I forsee a terrible World Cup ahead.

    I think it's time changes are made immediately, from top (David Graveney and other selectors) to bottom (players such as Steve Harmison, whom is useless) to ensure a bright future for English cricket.

    -Ian Smith, London (Arsenal supporter)

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  178. At 09:02 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Anonymous wrote:

    Hit the nail on the head- Australia prepared for these ashes in they same manner in which we prepared in 2005. We have a good young side and we were thrashed by a well prepared angry Australian squad.

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  179. At 09:02 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Aussie Jeff wrote:

    Aggers,

    No good can come out of this whitewash. Only lesson to learn is to not have open bus parardes, give out gongs and every player and coach writing a book about their famous Ashes victory. This was like raising a red flag at a bull to us Aussies.

    England will not come back from this embarrassment for another decade.

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  180. At 09:04 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Charles Rolfe wrote:

    No excuses, in every department we were completely outplayed. There was absolutely no competition in the series and this 'marquee series' collapsed into an utter shambles for English cricket. Get Flintoff back to being an allrounder and find a captain for captaincy. Congratulations to the Aussies, the fight was over after round one.

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  181. At 09:04 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Old Timer wrote:

    Competition - an old fashioned concept. The way things are with the current England team makes it almost impossible to bring in new talent and assess alternative selections. In other words the 1 XI are not under pressure from those on the fringes. This is not satisfactory. In the 5-0 debacle whilst the top six England batters did get, generally, reasonable starts, that fact remains that only two players had an average above 40. Australia by contrast had 8 with an average above 40. What was need was more matches against State sides with genuine competition for places. As it was Joyce, for example, had no real opportunity and yet both Marsh and Warne rate him highly. In short make the players fight for their places.

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  182. At 09:06 AM on 05 Jan 2007, robert key-ey wrote:

    yes - what a great point England lost because their wives and children were with them and not because Australia were a much better team - and we had 4 number 11s and a number 9 in our bottom 5. Do you seriously believe that had they been unaccompanied by their wives they would have miraculously become good at batting (or bowling for that matter)?

    Yes we were initially unprepared but were we undercooked in the 3rd 4th and 5th tests? - no.

    For those that didn't start watching cricket until mid way through the summer of 2005 please do not post "why does Flintoff bat at 6" - as has been demonstrated in this series Flintoff cannot be relied upon to be one of 4 bowlers - hence we need 5. What we need are bowlers that can do the basics of line and length - look at what Stuart Clark has achieved - and bat a bit. We have the makings of a top six in our batting line up.

    Finally just a word about attitude - people see winning teams running around clapping and showing great team spirit and they believe that that is why they are winning (this applies in many sports) - it's like saying that you have to have blond hair to be clever based on knowing a clever person that has blond hair. We simply weren't good enough - let's just face it.

    Otherwise great article.

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  183. At 09:06 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Arnie wrote:

    I despair at the level of comments being made. I would guess that those over reacting now did the same back in 2005 when we deservedly beat probably the best team that has ever existed.

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  184. At 09:07 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Richard Johnson wrote:

    Freddie Flintoff, Duncan Fletcher, Kevin Peterson, Andrew Staruss, Paul Collingwood, Steve Harminson, Michael Vaughan, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, Mick Jagger, Tim Rice, Jeffrey Archer, Lord Nelson your boys took one hell of a beating!!

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  185. At 09:08 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Damian Martyn wrote:

    I was a quarter of a way through my half pint at the sports bar in Haymarket and it was all over and had to go home. Oh dear.

    If Robert Key had been playing we would have won 5-0

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  186. At 09:09 AM on 05 Jan 2007, bill morgan wrote:

    This is typical of English sports writers once England have lost. Mega-critical.

    As an Aussie I love beating England, but it is not all doom and gloom for England. They were without 2 top batsmen (including their captain) and Simon Jones who tortured Australia's lefthanders in 2005. What if Australia had lost Hayden, Ponting and McGrath. In 2005 it was Australia who made bad selection decisions (Katich over Hussey) and has out of form bowlers (Gillespie and Kasperwicz), this time England had some out of form players and bad selections early on.

    How will Australia go in 2009 without Hayden, Langer, McGrath, Warne, Martyn and Gilchrist.
    My advice is don't have inquiries, meetings and media witchhunts. Focus on 2 years preparation of your still young team for 2009

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  187. At 09:09 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David Broadbent wrote:

    In Aggers and Boycotts post match analysis this morning, Boycott said that ex-England players like himself, Gooch, Gower and Botham have not been sought out for advice at any level not have been asked to help. Whilst this is deplorable, it is not surprising for there will be no public accountability by those administering the game for the 5-nil shambles, no published enquiry findings and the 'money men' will have still made a small fortune, and the team will still have those ghastly gongs.
    Finally, any chance of Warney being invited to be the next coach? About as much as a snowball has of surviving hell!

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  188. At 09:12 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Paul Osborne wrote:

    Aggers,

    I am sooo pleased that my mrspao said "no you are not paying to watch the cricket"!

    This tour has been an embarrassment and I really hope that the selectors,coaches and the players learn from their mistakes after the complacency that seems to have set in since 2005.

    What has happened to that competative edge that we had?

    Do our players want the Ashes back enough to care?

    I hope that everyone involved can at least be honest and shoulder their fair share of responsibilty and work towards the future. Its just a shame that there is a one day series and World Cup to get in the way of that process.

    In the meantime thanks for your and your colleagues stirling work over the last few weeks it has been much appreciated.

    Paul

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  189. At 09:12 AM on 05 Jan 2007, richglos wrote:

    Don't agree with Aggers view that they tried their best on each and every day...they looked a beaten team very early on in the series, and in the last test, most didn't show any passion or fight which was most notable by the dreadful shot selection which several batsman got out to.
    Quite agree about returning the MBE's, should be done as a matter of honour afer they disgraced themselves.

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  190. At 09:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ray J wrote:

    England lost because of a bunch of over-rated players. They will lose again as people continue to over-rate the players.
    Look at the batting averages of the English players in comparsion to the Australian players? They make dreadful reading.

    Strauss was clearly off form though was harshly called out many a time. Cook had only 1 hundred, no fifties, he failed to often, as an opener what confidence did he give to the team.

    Bell too failed too often as 3rd batsman, perhaps some glove training and number 6 beckon.

    Some of the bowlers should never wear the England shirt again. They are too expensive and ineffective particularly Anderson and Mahmood.

    Pansear is over-rated, while he holds promise, he is still very expensive, I lost count of all the times he was bashed at will around the park as Australia increased the run rate. Harmison is still good but just needs a rocket up his backside, how lazy can an international bowler be!

    Only Petierson, Flintoff, Collingwood and Hoggard (as an average grunt) can take anything out of the tour and in that order.

    The rest are Mollycoddled Bums of the Empire (MBEs)

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  191. At 09:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Alan Thompson wrote:

    The simple truth was, that a squad of no hope bowlers were selected for this tour.
    We will go into the one dayers and the World Cup without a coherant strategy and will suffer the consequences.
    Its time for Fletcher to go now !!

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  192. At 09:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Mel Smith wrote:

    Perhaps after this dreadful performance, and remembering how all the counties basked in the reflective glory of 2005 one can only hope that they (the counties) will really try to develop the ENGLISH game. Why, oh why are there so many non-England qualified players on county staffs who are there for the money - not to develop and improve the English game. Do any of the southern hemisphere test palying countries "enjoy" such an influx of England palyers to there top level domestic cricket? For every non-England qualified player in the UK playing there is one England qualified player who is not - and what's more he is not getting the experience or development. Always it is such short-termism. I dread to think what will happen in the one-day series, let alone the World Cup. God helps us - I think He's the only hope!

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  193. At 09:14 AM on 05 Jan 2007, 'Charlie' A wrote:

    No backbone, no fight, no spirit...

    But what else should we expect when our children have non-competitive Sports Days in school ?

    We have a whole generation being brought up on lack of discipline, lack of respect, 'I want and I get attitude without hardwork', lack of drive and desire to succeed etc etc.

    Time for the silent majority to get this Country back on track !!! Sport is just the visible problem !

    England Football Team - over paid and don't deliver time and time again. How can someone be paid to play for their Country ???
    England Rugby - shambles
    England Cricket - embarrassing

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  194. At 09:14 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Tony Cross wrote:

    It's been a fairly disastrous tour all round, one of the main reasons being that the selectors go for out of form 'names' rather ther than those players who are in form but not so well known. It's the same as the Beckham scenario in football.

    We didn't learn from 2005 when we squeaked through 2-1. We didn't prepare enough and we got battered.

    The place in the team has to be earned and then maintained. No-one, not even the captain, should expect to get through on their position. If they're not up to the job then they should be dropped.

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  195. At 09:15 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Daniel Smith wrote:

    Jonathan, you are absolutely right. I only hope that you are listened too.

    The irony is Shane Warne picked the best side for England before the First Test (Read and Panessar) but by the time they got a game the result was never in doubt.

    The problem is the England team has been too much of a closed shop. Replacing Read with Jones, bringing back Giles. There is nothing wrong with either Jones or Giles, both fine men, but what a kick in the teeth it was for both Read and Monty. You've worked hard, but we'll take over now. This is de-motivating.

    There needs to be more professionalism in the England side. This isn't a holiday, and if they don't like that then (as you say) they should go, and make room for someone who wants the job.

    The result, 5-0, is flattering to Australia. If England had got their teeth into Australia and won the second test or even drawn it then it would have been a different matter. As it is thanks lads, the Aussies will be gloating about this for years to come.

    This heavyweight contest became one-sided due to one of the competitors not taking it seriously, being complacent, over-weight, and short of practice. For all the snide comments made about the Australian team's age they certainly weren't complacent. Well done Australia you deserve it.

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  196. At 09:15 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Lynsey wrote:

    I firmly believe that what England were missing the most was the dynamic captaincy of Michael Vaughan. His approach to the Australians; not to stand back in awe of their egos, but to 'come to the party', undermined their ability to play the game their way. Not to take anything away from the Australians. Their strategy was simple and flawless, in particular Glenn Mcgrath'c consistent bowling was magnificent. Shane Warne and Glenn Mcgrath's retirement was the only highlight of the series, but they will be much missed by us england fans. For old times sake; 'bowling Shane!'

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  197. At 09:16 AM on 05 Jan 2007, VOM wrote:

    Congrats Australia, a ruthless performance.
    This is the third England team that I've seen lose a series 5-0, and, for what it's worth, this team is much better than their 1984 and 1986 equivalents. Mind you, the Windies then were a better side than this Aussie team, IMHO.

    Better (i.e., any) preparation, disband the old boys coterie, find a strike bowler who actually wishes to tour and get Vaughn and Jones fit, and at least there's the spine of a competitive team (for spine, one can also read backbone...).

    An honour to have seen McGrath and Warne, they'll be hugely missed.

    And a big raspberry to the Beeb for not broadcasting overseas via the net.

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  198. At 09:17 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Medsy wrote:

    I'm already reading in the press and hearing from some players that it will all be different in 2009 because of the retirement of the key Australian players. This is absurd.

    Those who can remember the 1989 series (unfortunately I can) will recall the Aussies came over with a team of unknown, young players and were rated as the "worst side ever to tour". They subsequently wiped the floor with us.

    Players such as Steve Waugh and Craig McDermott came to the fore under the leadership of Allan Border. Don't be surprised to find the Aussies finding some world-class gems to replace the Warne, McGrath, Langer, Hayden, Gilchrist and Martyn in '09.

    England should stop looking at the Aussies and sort out their own back yard. Time to clear a few out and give some others a chance - how many other countries would tolerate a 5-0 beating without changing things? If the players REALLY believe they had enough preperation and were focused/bonded for the series, then they are admitting they are not good enough and should move on.


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  199. At 09:18 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John wrote:

    Collingwood not a world class #5?

    Pardon me, but it seems to me that he was the only idiot out there trying.

    Open your eyes. You slap him around and you insult him but yet he comes back over and over again. You need him; so quit your complaining.

    God, you English can be so dense with celebrity sometimes.

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  200. At 09:18 AM on 05 Jan 2007, RossBreckenridge wrote:

    Good point by Damian Martyn (#150) (surely not THE Damien Martyn??). Robert Key is a potentially great player and I predict he will be the saviour of the English game. Another of my favourites is Nick Knight (can we persuade him to come out of retirement?)

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  201. At 09:19 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Gary wrote:

    We can use all the cliches in the world, preperation, families going to early, lack of competative warm ups, balance of team. Nothing can cover the fact they performed like a load of spineless no-hopers. I am embarresed to be an England supporter at the moment and I think the players should be made to go on T.V. and explain their pathetic performance without the use of the normal hackneyed team-speak.......and as for Fletcher;

    for all the good you have done here, for the sake of god, go

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  202. At 09:20 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John Bloxham wrote:

    Surely the single biggest thing to learn from this tour is that we should never again throw half fit players into a test.

    Anderson, Jones, Giles, Tres & Fred were all either unfit or had been out of action. Put Harmy in the mix too as lacking match practice and we didn't stand a chance. Apart from the detrimental effect on performance, bringing all these guys back was a negative move which handed the ozzies all the confidence they could want.

    Which makes all the calls for bringing Vaughan back 'for his captaincy' all the sillier. Fair enough if he first proves he can bat, but the rest of the batting isn't strong enough to carry a passenger.

    We can still be the 2nd best team in the world (lets worry about Australia in 2009), so lets focus on the summer now. My team to take on the Windies:

    Strauss
    Cook
    Joyce
    KP
    Colly
    Bell
    Fred
    A keeper (doesn't really matter who)
    Harmy
    Monty
    Hoggy

    Vaughan, Tres and Simon Jones to only be considered again when they have proved they have some form with their counties.

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  203. At 09:21 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Laurie Lesley wrote:

    What a Humiliation..Fletcher should go as he has no passion being a South African,the same as Greg Chapple for India.You have to be born and bred in the country to show any fight or commitment.I have never been so embarresed in all my life being an Englishmen.
    This is the worst side in History to put on an England shirt and I hope the ECB will learn fromn this.
    This team had no fight or determanation and you could see that they were afraid of Australia.
    Never mind how good Australia was and least show some fight and as for the last five english batsman you could see that they were never going to make any fight of it.
    A sad day for english Cricket

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  204. At 09:22 AM on 05 Jan 2007, nick jones wrote:

    I agree with everything Jonathan has written and believe this english side is going to come last in the one-day series and fail dismally at the world cup. This isn't blind pessimism but a judgement based on their poor performance, poor preparation and poor professionalism.
    Flintoff should be replaced as skipper and quickly - for his sake and for englands.

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  205. At 09:22 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Mark wrote:

    It is taking nothing from England's performance in 2005 to say that this series has put that series into some serious context - not that the gongs will be returned! You listen to Nasser and Botham bang on about "heart" and "wanting it" and no doubt there was a gap between the sides in the display of these characteristics. But you have to also sum it up by acknowledging one thing: when everything goes perfectly for England, with no injuries, a strong preparation, COMBINED WITH Australia suffering some terrible luck (eg McGrath at Edgbaston) and it's players being complacent - then only did England STILL only win by a bee's dick. Conversely, when Australia has an injury-free run and a decent preparation and is not cocky but hungry, the result is a 5-0 thrashing. Despite the 2005 series there was a massive difference in the skill and talent levels of both sides which went unacknowledged throughout England's excessive self-congratulation. The fact is harsh but remains - "heart" and "wanting it" doesn't win high level cricket matches on a consistent base - it's a skills based game. "Wanting it" is not to the point when looking at the problems Ausrtalia exposed in Cook's work outside off-stump and his complete lack of footwork, "wanting it" has nothing to do with the fact that Mahmood, Anderson and Harmison can't land 2 successive balls in remotely the same place, "wanting it" is irrelevant when you look the obvious deficiency of skill of both Jones and Read and "wanting it" certainly goes nowhere near exposing the myth that is Kevin Pietersen - has anyone seen him play a match-winning innings on a pitch that was not as flat as a pancake? The Oval and Adelaide were more than batting paradises - even Collingwood made runs in Adelaide! He's yet to step up on a wicket that's doing a bit with his team needing a fighting innings.....Buchanan wasn't far off the mark with KP. Finally "wanting it" doesn't get past the fact that in the big moments England's players got stage-fright and lacked bottle. Nass/Both - get away from the cliches....they do you no service. Instead, remember it's a skills based game and that no further preparation or the prescence of Vaughan, Tresco etc would have saved you - when this Australian side put their heads down and determined to blow England off the park they were not going to be averted from achieving that objective.

    Now I only hope that England focuses on the "no Warne, no McGrath, possibly no Gilchrist thing" for 2009 - if they do they will get a rude surprise with the quality of cricketers waiting for the chance.....

    Over to you guys!

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  206. At 09:22 AM on 05 Jan 2007, M.W.FINCH wrote:

    We need a proper England captain, who knows how to conduct himself and how to be a capatin.
    Leave players like Flintoff to do what they are good at.i.e. bowling & batting.

    Proper acclimatisation in the touring country, good warm up games, practise, practise practise every waking moment to dedicate themselve to win.Play players on form, not reputation. Nothing wrong in a player being dropped and fighting back his place. Back to basics

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  207. At 09:22 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Peter Martin wrote:

    Hey Chris Rhodes (post 131) - I was a great bowler - much better than Mahmoody or james andersonny

    I agree that with Robert Key in the team we would have won

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  208. At 09:23 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Glyn wrote:

    Having stuck with it to the bitter end, I decided to listen to Messrs Agnew and Boycott combing through the debris on their Podcast on DAB.

    So I had to endure the following message, complete with irritating sound effect, for ONE HOUR after close of play.

    "Keep listening... coming up shortly.. the Ashes Podcast"

    I would love to know the BBC's definition of "shortly"

    Groan

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  209. At 09:26 AM on 05 Jan 2007, George Garland wrote:

    I agree with Jonathan Agnew's comments but would add much more. Many players are clearly so obsessed with boosting and maintaining their egos that they are unable to focus on their 'work'. For instance hey are obsessed with watching the 'big screen' after every ball but instead of generating an improvement in attitude and concentration this serves only to inflate egos even more. And without being too pessimistic many of the players have too'cosy' a relationship with the media which in the passage of time, I fear, will result in few personnel changes next year and no opportunities for the numerous County cricketers who would have performed far better than many of the existing team.

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  210. At 09:26 AM on 05 Jan 2007, ringosmith wrote:

    England have been completely battered, and this will bring a few people back down to earth after their very close, but deserved series victory in 2005. Lets remember that England narrowly won the series 2-1, with one test being won by a couple of runs, that's how close it was.

    All Australia have done is remind everyone that they are far superior to England in all departments.

    ..And lets face it England have their best players in Australia.

    The bowling for me has been terrible, Australia claimed most of their wickets nicking off behind or to slips, which basically means they pitched the ball up and let the pitch and seam to the rest.
    England bowled way to short on both sides of the wicket.

    England have ruined the confidence of both Chris Read and Monty by not picking them from the start of the series, everytime Chris Read goes out to bat he is under tremendous pressure, which is just not fair, and the Monty situation was just a joke.

    Flintoff is not a captain full stop. He has bad body language which translates to the other players.

    Harmison is not committed to the cause and would rather be in Newcastle watching football.

    Fletcher needs to go, all this tickering with techniques, forward press and taking the ball i front of the stumps etc.

    Australia do the basics and do it very well, with hard work, team play and disipline being the key.

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  211. At 09:26 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Michael Maegraith wrote:

    If you're selling or buying a house, it's "location, loactaion, location" that is impportant. In a series like this, it's "attitude, attitude, attitude". The one side had it, the other didn't. It might have been better had McGrath not trodden on that cricket ball in England. Then England wouldn't have won the Ashes and the Aussies wouldn't have placed so much emphasis on a whitewash. Foreward thinking is asked for.

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  212. At 09:27 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Neil Hewitt wrote:

    Couldn't aggree more Aggers!

    The primary problems are Management on and off the field. The wrong Captain was selected. Botham was inspirational but not a captain. Freddy is similar, have we seen his best? Will the 'drubbing' affect his psychology in the future? I hope not.

    'Free spirits' need a very strong and strategic captain who can view things dispassionately.
    Very few bowlers make good captains.

    They must all be made to feel proud to play for their country, they are international professional representatives and paid accordingly.

    Although management has let them down, as professionals they have not played to their abilities, consistently

    I equally hope lessons will be learned in all departments! I fear a 'whitewash' from Lords also!

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  213. At 09:27 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ian Morley wrote:

    I think it fair to say that England has been beaten by one of the very best test cricket teams in history. I have been following cricket for 55 years and on no occasion have I seen a more determined, nor more aggressive test team than the way the current Australian team went about their business.

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  214. At 09:27 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David wrote:

    We spent over £10,000 to visit Australia. Australia was fantastic, both its team and its people. England were an embarrassment. "nd at batting, bowling fielding, tactics and team spirit.
    despiite this we considered buying tickets for the Saturday Test and the 1 day international at Headingley, for next season.
    The total price for 2 of us would have been close to £200, excluding the 'customer friendly' booking fee.
    This is an outrageous price! Our tickets for Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth cost around A$45 = £18 per day.
    After this Ashes debacle any England recovery is likely to take place in empty stadia, unless this dreadful price structure is sorted out.

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  215. At 09:28 AM on 05 Jan 2007, R Farr wrote:

    What an absolute disgrace! Don't bother coming home.

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  216. At 09:28 AM on 05 Jan 2007, charlie cottier wrote:

    outclassed simple as that. Combine that with a distinct lack of guts. When we won the ashes in 2005 for months on end all we heard was how great this team was they had countless meetings with the queen photo opps with the prime minister ok magazine deals it simply went to all of their heads. Whilst we were messing around the aussies went to work and demolished everyone in their path. As for lack of guts look no further than trescothick! When will he get over himself and put his country first. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong and those players now need to change their lifestyles forget book deals, sponsorship deals all of that and get serious for 2009!

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  217. At 09:29 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Chris wrote:

    My suggestion would be to have on an open-top bus parade like in 2005. Only this time it could start in Trafalgar Square and drive in reverse back to the hotel.

    Having to go through that might get some of the players firing again.

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  218. At 09:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Gerry Peck wrote:

    Well, from an Aussie perspective, it has all happened in this Test series, which has been a sellout from go to whoa over here, thanks in no small part to the ever present and effervescent "Barmy Army"!

    England's team did it's level best and on several occasions looked like geting to grips with what was needed to bring off a win. Against that, was the Australian sides strength in depth, which allowed the side to recover from situations that would have daunted lesser teams.

    I know that much is said abroad about Australia's attitude to sport but I would simply say that any and every team that is picked to represent its country, should be imbued with the will to win, no matter how uphill the task.

    In the end, it was not so much a difference in the skills held that made the difference, it was the flat refusal to give up that saw Australia succeed.

    I have seen statistics bandied about left, right and centre by various pundits but for me, this was the telling one. On five occasions during this Test series, the England side lost five wickets for thirty five runs or less.

    Even if you are the second best Test side in the world and closing the gap, you cannot go up against the best rated team and hope to triumph with figures like that!

    Whenever things were evenly poised, it was the relative abilities of the two "tail ends" that made the crucial difference.

    England played some excellent stuff but it was in patches, whereas Australia stuck to unrelenting and remorseless assault when bowling and that aforementioned strength in depth when batting. For me, the Aussies merited the five-nil triumph that they achieved today.

    Oz now has to face a cricket future without its senior players, blokes that have made Australia the best side in the World for over a decade.

    When the likes of Lillee, Marsh and Thommo left the game, everyone thought that there would never be players that were their equal. How wrong were they? I for one see upcoming players that will enable Oz to field very competitive sides for years to come. Another talented generation is about to take up play and I look forward to that very much.

    McGrath, Warne, Langer and Damien Martyn were great players all, what a privilege it has been to watch them earn their crust!


    Gerry.

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  219. At 09:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John wrote:

    I, like all other England supporters, am deeply shellshocked by what I have seen over the past 6 weeks.

    For me, the main error was the choice of captain for which the selectors have got to take full responsibility. Flintoff can be a world class all rounder but why saddle him with the captaincy as well. This way, he cant fully concentrate on either captaincy or batting / bowling or fielding. Strauss would have done far better and allowed Freddie to put in those world class perfomances we all know he can deliver.

    His "get out and show 'em" style of capataincy might work on a schools playing field but not against the best team in world cricket. It's simply naive to think otherwise.

    Another grip is the balance of the side with the tail seemingly starting at No7 with at least 4 No 11s in the team - what is going on?

    Mahmood and Anderson looked county standard and were left seriously wanting in terms of ability. How can you call these strike bowlers - they just serve up longhops and wide half volleys. Botham calls these "buffet" bowlers - help yourself!

    Despair, despair, despair...

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  220. At 09:33 AM on 05 Jan 2007, iain mckay wrote:

    In my opinion attention has to be directed to the batting perfomances of the the teams tail end, including wicket keeper. The Australians had nothing to fear once the first five front line batsmen had been accounted for. The tail on almost every occassion barely mustered 50 runs between them yet compare that to the level of contribution the likes of Gilchrist, Warne and even Clark make. A weak tail puts added pressure on the middle order as they will fully anticipate not being at the crease for terribly long therefor that will hasten their shot making which leads to errors. I agree with Jonathan Agnew that any tour requires to be taken seriously and attention paid to detail.

    Regards
    IM

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  221. At 09:33 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Rob Jones wrote:

    Aggers is right, lack of preparation was one cause, selection of captain another. After Strauss's contribution in the summer, without Flintoff was nothing short of fantastic. A brilliant field placing brain along with well timed bowling changes led to a 3-0 win over Pakistan. He got the best out of Monty and Sadj. If you're not taking wickets, what message does this sent to batsman. It's bowlers that win you games and we could not compete in that department.
    With Flintoff we had an overbowled captain, a wicket taking spinner with defensive field placings and not to forget bad selections of Giles and Jones during the first few tests. Lets hope we have a long post mortem in the long room.

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  222. At 09:33 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Tony Worth wrote:

    Well done to Australia who thoroughly deserved their victory.

    The demise all started from the foolish English declaration in the second test and England were not able (or, in their heart of hearts, willing?) to pick themselves up from that demoralising defeat.

    Changes must be made and we need to find a decent seamer who can bat!

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  223. At 09:34 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Tom wrote:

    Aggers, you are so right.

    England have been lamentable. The results have been appalling, but almost worse has been the blind and misplaced "we're playing well, but just losing the odd session, we still have hope" attitude.

    I really wish one of the players, ideally the Skipper or Skipper in waiting (Strauss, please) would say it how it really is. English cricket is in desperate trouble. Not through a lack of talent or funding, but lack of honesty and dedication.

    How many readers of this blog would readily give up an extra week away from their family in order to definitely be ready to take on Australia, to defend the Ashes, in Australia? Now look at the selfishness, arrogance, complacency and sheer idiotic leadership that allowed England to take even half a risk.

    It could be argued that there was no lack of effort from England during the games. Perhaps. The harsh reality is that the lack of effort came before the first ball was bowled (and what a quality wide that was!).

    There needs to be an inquisition, not an inquiry. Someone needs to grip the ECB and the squad and ensure a new, successful era starts.

    The Australians were brilliant. As players, competitors, sportsmen and human beings. There is obvious commitment to the cause and each other. A privelage to watch them, even against sub-standard opponents. The striking thing for me is their whole demeanour and intense pride at wearing the Baggy. Contrast our pyjama and vest wearing balcony of, and I hate to say this, failures.

    I will always support England, but at the moment, its very very difficult!

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  224. At 09:35 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Kassra wrote:

    Mr Andy - Aussie in the USA......what's that about vaughan bottling it this winter? i'd like to see you playin when you're injured and have been for over a year!!! it's not like he opted out cos he didnt feel like it! what's he meant to do? damage his leg even more than it is already by batting? bear in mind aswell that he hasnt played in over a year so he would have been hopelessly out of form and would have been of no benefit to our already poor batting lineup!

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  225. At 09:35 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Tom Robertson wrote:

    It's English cricket that needs examination, not just this tour. We kept Hussey's career alive for years when the Aussies had no interest in him. County cricket is self serving, diluted and overrun by foreigners and has beens. The central contracts system was dreamt up to protect bowlers like Old and Gough who had their fitness continually ruined by Yorkshire and is now a bolt hole for the work shy. Whoever enquires into crciket has an axe to grind on behalf of one of the counties or the ECB who sold us all out on TV rights (unless you are rich enough to have Sky). Step forward a trio of Aussies to sort it out please before "the product" is damaged beyond repair.

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  226. At 09:35 AM on 05 Jan 2007, James Morris wrote:

    Agree with this article by Aggers, the tour was a farce and the performances as a whole were disgraceful. Thankfully (!!) I'm in Iraq at the moment and couldn't waste my time actually watching the games, although I'm sure watching the Australian performance would have been worthwhile for true cricket lovers, despite the obvious pain it will cause.

    I trully believe that a number of players need to have a serious word with themselves and their commitment to the team should be questioned. These players need to toughen up mentally, they are proffesional sportsmen not footballers :) and are getting paid to play cricket, if they can't give it 100% then British cricket needs to do itself a favour and get rid of the pre madonnas and do us supporters a favour. There are some egos in this team that need to be knocked down a few pegs. There are no world class players in this team (and I include KP in that statement), and only by performing as a team can they hope to compete with the best teams in the world.

    I am extremely angry that many people are already looking towards the 2009 Ashes, when there are a number of lessons that need to be learned from this tour and it should be thoroughly analysed by players and coaches alike.

    Lets hope that as much time is spent analysing this drubbing, as was wasted on the back slapping and commending the 2005 win; then hopefully, we will learn from this experience and come out a better team next Summer ready for India and WI, which should be our next point of focus.

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  227. At 09:36 AM on 05 Jan 2007, paul mackey wrote:

    If winning at sports is to be a serious goal in Britain (and the general euphoria following the 2005 ashes victory would suggest that it should be) then a more proffessional approach in terms of preparation, coaching, and fitness is essential. The England team was patently less well prepared than Australia and I for one do not agree that the outcome would have been inevitable in any event; we in fact have a wealth of talent but poor management. This must change.

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  228. At 09:36 AM on 05 Jan 2007, harrystarks wrote:

    I agree with Jonathan about preparation and team bonding.

    Things that have to happen for England to compete with and beat the West Indies this summer:

    Flintoff to lose the captaincy (no doubt he will resign it anyway);

    Strauss to replace him (no place for Vaughan in the team now);

    England selectors to be reconstituted - the team coach to have no place on the panel;

    Fletcher to be replaced as coach - the ECB must act swiftly to get the right coach and the right support team in place - waiting until after the World Cup is too late..


    For the longer term, the ECB must review the central contract arrangements for the players - the effect of current arrangements is that players play only Tests and the Test team appears a closed shop for anyone knocking at the door.

    The ECB must also integrate the Academy with the Tets and ODI teams - it has not been clear what the purpose has been of the Academy's stay in Perth (other than to have players ready to join the Test squad when needed).

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  229. At 09:37 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Matthew Bacon wrote:

    I am mostdissapointed by the lack of ambition and guts showed by our 'team'...well hardly a team, and that is also a key issue - where is 'matemanship' as the Aussies call it...where eveyone fights together? Freddie may be a good cricketer - but he is no leader. Start again England and for national pride alone learn from your mistakes - of which there are many.

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  230. At 09:37 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Mark wrote:

    I am glad we lost this last test. I could see the headlines had we have won it, " There is hope" or "We are on the up". We are not good enough. Too many books were wrote on the back of the last Ashes and that is typical of our mentality.
    Lets win something and make extra sure we win it again....and again...and again and then write the book.

    Lock Botham in a room with the MCC and get it sorted.

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  231. At 09:38 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Anthony wrote:

    Who would have thought it? After 2005, England won 2-1 and the whole team were awarded MBEs. Now England have a team of MBEs who have been thrashed 5-0. Lets see some consisteny here and have the whole Australian Team awarded Knighthoods. They certainly deserve it.

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  232. At 09:39 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ben wrote:

    England rightly deserve the stick they are getting. Just as with success, failure brings with it all of its charms and trappings. However let's not over react. Sixteen months ago the core group of these players won us the Ashes and, before that series, were playing the best Engish International Cricket for two decades.

    I'll make some observations.

    - Our form going into the test series was poor. An Ashes hangover? Perhaps, if you buy into that. It may be the pinnacle match for most of the media but I assume that victories against Pakistan and India in the sub continent and at home would have been equally as important for any English cricketer.

    - Major contributors to our ashes success were struggling for form or were injured. The partnership of tresco and strauss averages over 60 runs. Tresco has been our opening rock for sometime. I hope people now realise how important it is he comes back mentally healthy. Although I personally believe he is finished. No Vaughn, a man who going into the Australia series of 2005 had a 40 average. Our best captain for some time. A real leader. Flintoff struggling with injury and the pressures of leading a team not capable of competing. Harmison out of form for twelve months. A long term injury to Simon Jones. No spin control from Ashley Giles. Hardly any kind of contribution with the bat by our top two choices of wicket keeper. They averaged 11 over the series between them. Over the year the average is not much better.

    There are compelling reasons as to why England lost here. The preparation could have been better. To anyone better prepared to look at facts over blind optimism the result would have been exactly the same. Don't decry the death of English cricket just yet though. It's in a much better state now than it has been for a very long time.

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  233. At 09:40 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Laurie Lesley wrote:

    What a Humiliation..Fletcher should go as he has no passion being a South African,the same as Greg Chapple for India.You have to be born and bred in the country to show any fight or commitment.I have never been so embarresed in all my life being an Englishmen.
    This is the worst side in History to put on an England shirt and I hope the ECB will learn fromn this.
    This team had no fight or determanation and you could see that they were afraid of Australia.
    Never mind how good Australia was and least show some fight and as for the last five english batsman you could see that they were never going to make any fight of it.
    A sad day for english Cricket

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  234. At 09:42 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Matt Corton wrote:

    I think there's more to it than practice - England players have performed much better than that on the same practice in series past. The problem here was that Fletcher sent out a team to "not lose" rather than win. It never works. How many times in football do you see the team playing for a draw, or protecting a 1-0 lead, actually come out with that result? It's 50-50 at best.

    Also, it seemed to me from the comments post-first test, that the England players were treating it as a privilege to be on the same pitch as "such a great team". Nonsense. They are cricket players, all of them, even Warne and McGrath, nothing more than cricket players on an opposing team. England should have gone onto the pitch on that first day knowing they were Ashes winners, believing they were not only as good as Australia but better, knowing it would be a close contest keenly fought.

    Instead, they went onto the pitch craven, like a small child hanging onto a toy its parent was trying to take away from them. Fear is shameful, but never more shameful than in International sport and the nation is ashamed of its cricketers right now, just as it was ashamed of the footballers in the summer.

    What's worse is that the players don't seem ashamed at all, they seem to think the natural order of things was for "this great side" to win. They are a great side, but so were we in 2005. What happened? Fear. Shameful fear.

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  235. At 09:43 AM on 05 Jan 2007, jim wrote:

    isnt this just another example of english teams doing what they do the best..?? ie: not having the stomach for a real fight..??

    seems to me that its the same in rugby and football, antiquated management, who are more interested in keeping themselves and their friends in power and a national league thats too fat..

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  236. At 09:43 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Dave wrote:

    We were well beaten by a great side.

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  237. At 09:43 AM on 05 Jan 2007, DAVID L wrote:

    From an Aussie (although English born) I don't really worry that much about the state of English cricket. I think in 3 years time England will be a great foe again.

    Remember that Australia did not make wholesale changes after their defeat in 2005. The names in this series are the same. Why such a turnaround then?

    Belief and attitude. Just look at the differences of the two sides in these 2 attributes and its easy to see why England failed. I have been attacked in other posts as people dont belief that attitude is a reason for poor performance. Of course it is. If you have the attitude that it will be a walk in the park against Dads Army then all the underlying indicies that make up a winning formula will be lost.

    The attitude of a walk in the park will then lead to the belief that no practice is needed, that mediocre performances by the team will be accepted as good enough, that sub standard players can rest on their past glories.

    The players need to change their attitude and start preparing for contests as if it were a contest and not a walk in the park. Skill alone is not going to carry them far. Warne says it all the time; he also relies on mental toughness including mind games as well as skill. He has the right attitude to win. Could you imagine Warne as a captain accepting sub standard performance?

    The current team for England looks good so don't chuck out the baby with the bath water.

    Solid openers who will grow if allowed to with a solid Bell (maybe he can move down to allow Vaughan back in - who goes - PC?), a middle order that is good (KP and Freddie have the skills), a wicket keeper who can get at least get 20 or 30 runs (don't be fooled into thinking another Adam Gilchrist will come along so settle with what wicket keepers used to be like). Monty is a star in the making and probably Hoggard as he is of world class now. Out of all the players maybe Harmy has been the most disappointing as his attitude certainly affected his bowling. He should have gone home with Trescothick.

    Duncan has had his time, even in business we all run out of ideas in the end. Bring in a coach from overseas (and I only say this as it appears a majority of the ex england players would rather comment than coach), someone who has the mental toughness - Steve Waugh or Ian Healy would be excellent -Why? because they tell it like it is, perform or your ought, no old boy networks in england to get in their ears, and they know how to think like champions.

    Good Luck...


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  238. At 09:43 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John wrote:

    I, like all other England supporters, am deeply shellshocked by what I have seen over the past 6 weeks.

    For me, the main error was the choice of captain for which the selectors have got to take full responsibility. Flintoff can be a world class all rounder but why saddle him with the captaincy as well. This way, he cant fully concentrate on either captaincy or batting / bowling or fielding. Strauss would have done far better and allowed Freddie to put in those world class perfomances we all know he can deliver.

    His "get out and show 'em" style of capataincy might work on a schools playing field but not against the best team in world cricket. It's simply naive to think otherwise.

    Another grip is the balance of the side with the tail seemingly starting at No7 with at least 4 No 11s in the team - what is going on?

    Mahmood and Anderson looked county standard and were left seriously wanting in terms of ability. How can you call these strike bowlers - they just serve up longhops and wide half volleys. Botham calls these "buffet" bowlers - help yourself!

    Despair, despair, despair...

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  239. At 09:44 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Lao wrote:

    The real disappointment of this series has not been that we lost the Ashes, but that we were denied the thrills of a great professional sporting competition.

    There is no game in the world that loses its attractiveness so completely as a totally one-sided cricket match.

    All the good that was done for the game in England in 2005 has not quite been undone in Australia, but it is a crime that there was a whiff of complacency about the whole England set-up following 2005.

    Lessons MUST be learnt, and given the magnitude of the defeat perhaps they will be. Every cloud.........

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  240. At 09:44 AM on 05 Jan 2007, kina wrote:

    Congratulations Aggers and the whole team it was fantastic listening to you all. Great work especially in maintaining your dignity with KO'K.

    I will never listen to TV commentary again whilst there are the likes of you on the radio.

    Though England were thrashed most of the players showed they have the skill to match the aussies. However they MUST learn how to apply all that skill ALL the time. There is much to look forward to though it seems so grim now.

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  241. At 09:44 AM on 05 Jan 2007, downunder wrote:

    Good old Collingwood for never,
    He knows how to play the game,
    Side by side he sticks together,
    To uphold the british game,
    See the barmy army barracking
    As all barrackers should,
    O the Ashes are a cakewalk,
    For good old Collingwood.

    Memo Paul Collingwood,
    When you have played over 100 tests
    and have the world test wicket bowling record
    then and only then can you diss who you like
    Even the aussies show Lara and Tendulka
    the respect they deserve...
    Warnie and Boycott got it right
    1 test 7, and 10 runs does not equal an MBE
    We won 5-0 because we slipped up in 2005
    Came back ,regrouped, learnt from our mistakes In OZ respect and credibility have to be earnt
    We went into boot camp, you lot got on the piss
    We showed the Ashes the respect they deserve
    You lot came over for a holiday with missus's + kids
    Who should not have been here until xmas Thank you for giving Langer the respect he deserves
    Strauss once you play over 100 tests and form the
    second highest opening partnership in test history
    You will be given that respect

    Australia knew it had to beat the great West Indies at home to be considered a great side
    You won in 2005, well done, but what since then?
    You have a very good squad of talented players
    But until you learn it's not about MBE'S, book contracts and page 3 calender shoots you will never
    mentally succeed, skill is only half the answer
    Aggers got it right, learn from this pathetic effort
    Come back in 2009 and show the cricket world you mean business and deserve to be number one
    Then and only then will Australia give you the respect you deserve, it has to be earnt.

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  242. At 09:45 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John wrote:

    As an Englishman of course I am very disappointed, but the Australian team was superior in every aspect of the game. Most significantly at this level you have to 'scale the heights' psychologicaly and emotionally, and Australia showed why they are number 1 in the world by some margin. Yes we showed some flashes of good play becuase we have a couple of world class cricketers, but we were beaten before we got on the pitch, and then once on the pitch we were totally outplayed.

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  243. At 09:45 AM on 05 Jan 2007, James Arthur wrote:

    Good to see the experts are writing for the BBC website:

    "Warne almost had Harmison lbw - an appeal went to the third umpire who ruled in the benefit of the batsman"

    Seriously?

    Anyhow... a last comment for the series. Congratulations Australia, thoroughly deserved. Whilst the England team does have some talent, they have lacked courage, determination and motivation. I am actually glad you completed the whitewash, anything less would have been flattering to England.

    Where now? Well, it's time for English sport, not just cricket, to aim a bit higher. "We played our best" isn't good enough. If you lose, you lose. I want to see them saying, "Our best wasn't good enough and we are going to work until it is". They need to start looking at the commitment of the Aussies, which is something few English sportsmen and women can match. Do you think someone like Sir Steve Redgrave (someone who truly earned the honour) would have accepted anything less that gold?

    I hope England are truly hurt by this series. They should be. Somehow I'm not sure they will be though. Pieterson sat picking his nose after getting out (nice work Sky), still too many smiles in the field at the end of a truly humiliating defeat.

    I thought for a while that Collingwood might turn into a sort of Steve Waugh of the England middle order. Sadly, I don't see it any longer. One good innings, in a match England managed to inexplicably lose, 4-0 down and he thinks it's a good idea to sledge Warne? Admittedly it was funny to watch, but there was only ever going to be one winner.

    Anyway, I'm actually not bitter about things. The result was the right one. Australia are the better team. Hoggard and Panesar can be proud of their efforts. Bell and Pieterson were ok but have a lot of work to do. Read's glovework was excellent, and now I'm struggling for any more positives.

    After England's early exit from the World Cup, I hope they begin some serious work. All the best lads, I'm still behind you, but you need to show a bit of backbone next time.

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  244. At 09:45 AM on 05 Jan 2007, michael gale wrote:

    Wonderfully honest feelings and far less expletive driven than I could possibly be. I have saved to go the World Cup ( I live in the US) and feel that the omens are incredibly bad even at the group stage. The players and organization lack the guts neccesary to survive a tough tour. At key stages games could have been won or saved but on every occasion England - as a collective failed. That is a team building issue and while they are incredibly highly paid athletes the management (including Flintoff) fundamentally failed to use common sense in preparation. We celebrated last year but like school children who beat the seniors (once) we forget the lessons that got us the win. We need to learn - right now - that the best approach is to be Australian in style of preparation. The talent is there but the preparation and leadership has got to change right now.

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  245. At 09:45 AM on 05 Jan 2007, tom huelin wrote:

    it started badly and got worse and worse and worse. at least in past tours there was no optimism at all of a result, but here we actually considered it plausible that we could at least draw the series to bring home the ashes, now that optimism just seems foolhardy.

    England never joined the races. the warm up games were a joke. i always rated cricket because it didn't seem to have been tainted with the same degree of celebrity as football, but the lack of preparation and the reliance on previous glories such as 2005 was utterly short sighted and you could almost be forgiven for thinking that england thought they could waltz to victory in this series without any kind of preparation, simply because they did it last time.

    look at australia tho. they were so hungry, so focused from day one of the first test. harmisons first ball was exactly what we all feared at the time - a sign of things to come. unfocused, innacurate and totally off the pace. it's hard enough winning the ashes at the best of times, but when you've got injured players missing (vaughan, tescothic, jones) unfit players playing (flintoff, giles, anderson) and in-form players dropped (panesar, reed) then it's no wonder the whole team was all over the shop.

    i wish flintoff had come out and admitted that we were garbage and that we had no chance and that he was eshamed and actualy apologied to all the people that have spent thousands of pounds to go and support the team in Oz. Instead we got drab soundbites about how we can challenge next time. that is no god given right, we need massive changes from this, don't expect things to just change like the tide, we were so far short here and we need massive improvement to be able to challenge again.

    The pity is Warne and Mcgrath won't be around next time. they are the best bowlers i've ever seen and australia being without them next time my give us a chance next time, but their abcense will be felt, as everyone wants to see winners on the cricket field. it's just a shame there weren't any on the england team this series.

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  246. At 09:46 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Jeff McRib wrote:

    I agree completely Jonathon.

    I'm thinking of writing to the ECB to demand the money back that I spent on upgrading to SkySports, just so I could watch this debacle live.
    If I'M this angry, I can't imagine how dissapointed and let down the Barmy Army feel. They were absolutely magnificent and I hope that Fletcher and co. (all the way up!) appreciate the sacrifices they made and the money they spent to follow the tour. Let's hope for a full and proper enquiry, so that things are put right for subsequent tours.

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  247. At 09:46 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Jon wrote:

    Only one comment to make...

    How many Englishmen play in Sheffield Shield Cricket?

    Why do we persist in developing Australia's talent for them, when there is clearly no reciprocal agreement.

    All overseas player county contracts should be conditional on an English player receiving the same length/type contract in the highest grade of overseas cricket.

    Next Ashes 2009 - so all overseas player contracts in English County Cricket should be terminated at 31 Dec 2007 and a new system brought in.

    Has amazing parallels in the FA Premier League don't you think?

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  248. At 09:46 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Kathryn Streatfield wrote:


    I completely agree with the sentiments in this article, although I think Jonathan is too kind.

    One of the reasons Australia have done so well is that ever man has played absolutely for his country and his country's reputation.

    Can the same be said for the England players? I doubt it.

    One the most annoying things about this whole shambles has been the spectacle of Flintoff (nice man, decent player, too intellectually challenged to make a decent captain) talking about these matches as though they were game of dominoes at the local. (Oh well, we lost. Shall we have another pint?).

    Why aren't they weeping with shame?

    What is the motivation for these players when they seem to be feted as celebrities and plied with sponsorship money regardless of the fact they are abject failures? Our cricketers are now no different to our our footballers : they live in little complacent bubbles of self-regard, out of touch with reality and their responsibility to the nation.

    Send them down t'pit to harden up.

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  249. At 09:48 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Robert Ash wrote:

    The England Cricket team were always on a hiding immediately after they won the ashes series in 2005.Australians do not like losing to the "Old Enemy"Plans were made and a totall focus given to each and every player on winning the ashes back in the 2006/7 series.
    A Lot of talk has been around the selection process of the England cricket team whether that could have been better or not I do not know. What I do know is that there are a number of very talented players in the England cricket squad but what they do lack is an understanding of the intensity required at the very highest level. Everyone talks about the Warne. McGrath factor Yes it was a factor but the pressure from the Australians in the field put pressure on the English batsmen all of the time. At times the England field settings were poor.
    One last comment, If the England cricket authority replace Flintoff it will be the biggest mistake they will ever make. It really did not matter who was the Captain the result would have been the same.Flintoff will grow into the job and will be a better cricketer because of the last five tests.

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  250. At 09:48 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Richard Price wrote:

    A sensible article.

    As an England fan, my opinion is that losing 5-0 is no disgrace. Every team gets 'whitewashed' in australia, its just England are in the unfortunate position of being the only team who play 5-match series against the aussies. South Africa could have played a 50 match series and would have lost them all.

    What disapoints me, like most people, is the manner in which England capitulated. As far as preparation goes, I think you need to balance practice with resting to be in peak physical condition. With the Champions Trophy in the way, England had neither.

    I don't agree that it is just a 'job', its much more than that. Cricketers should be willing to pay to play for England. I'm sure Steve Harmison is a stand up guy, and I can sympathise with him missing his family, but if it's so bad he should get a job in Durham as a postman and not play cricket.

    For all the negativity, once we've been soundly outplayed in the various one-day events coming up, I fancy us to win both test series at home this summer.

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  251. At 09:51 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John wrote:

    I have lost count of the number of comments from Down Under that it was ludicrous to think that one series win in 2005 made the England team champions and heroes. "Win the Ashes, once, just, and it's gongs all round - what a joke".

    Fair comment and most Englishmen would agree too. But what about a team that manages just one whitewash, at home, and then all the stars want to retire? To be a great side, a really great side, you need back-to-back 5-0s. Including one in an away series.

    For me - and having seen them both - this Australian side is very good, but not quite as good as the all-conquering Windies side under Clive Lloyd. When even your number 5 and 6 batsmen and your second change bowlers are the best in the world, then you are some side...

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  252. At 09:51 AM on 05 Jan 2007, James Arthur wrote:

    Post 171 - Peter B,

    You are spot on. I think the difficulty in England now is what people associate with the flag. It now appears to be, incorrectly, associated with racism, and those who would fly it with true patriotism are perhaps worried about how they would be viewed were they to do so.

    There certainly needs to be more national pride. I despise what the English football team has become, and hope the cricketers do not follow. I fear they are perilously close.

    All the best to you.

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  253. At 09:51 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Phil (Brisbane) wrote:

    Blah, blah, blah, blah. The problem with you Poms is that you only seem to win something once every 100 years. (okay, okay, an essay of no more than 50 words to dispute). Its great sitting back and watching you blokes just implode. Let me explain something to you... England weren't bad - Australia was good. Now, just let out a collective sigh and concentrate on beating some smaller fish.

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  254. At 09:52 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Chris wrote:

    I think we are going to be battered by two teams who are high on confidence. The striking power of the bowling is non existant and the batting fragile.

    .

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  255. At 09:52 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Nick Mermagen wrote:

    It's not losing, but the manner of defeat that is so disappointing. Lets put this into context.

    1. After the 2005 Ashes victory I felt that, even with all our players fit and in form, beating Australia on their home soil would be extremely tough - they're still the best team in the world and their hardened veterans were eager for revenge. For legends like Warne and McGrath this was their last Ashes. Defeat for them was simply never an option.

    2. However, this wasn't our strongest team. In the absence of Vaughan, Trescothick and Jones, and with injuries overb the summer to Flintoff, Harmison, Giles and Andersen, England arrived with a weakened squad.

    3. Despite this, I felt that there was still an outside chance that we could draw this series 1-1 (I just couldn't see us winning more than one). But even this moderate objective depended on getting our preparation and team selection absolutely spot on. I was dismayed when I saw how little time England had to acclimatise and get ready for the Brisbane Test. And I couldn't understand the logic of leaving out last Summer's regulars Pansesar, Read and Mahmood, for Giles, Jones and Anderson, who hadn't been playing in our Test team for months. It almost seems like we hadn't thought our Ashes planning through properly.

    4. Given all these factors, we were destined to fail. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I predicted that, even if we lost this series, we would win in 2009 and I stand by that. The future of this young team looks good.

    5. However, the key to the future lies in our domestic structure and this is another area where the Aussies have got it just right. Australian cricket operates in two tiers - Club and State cricket - with the best young players at Club level graduating to one of the 5 elite State sides. The cream rises to the top. State cricket is about quality not quantity, with the 6 teams playing 10 intense, highly competitive matches (5 home and 5 away) - this is a breeding ground for mentally tough Test cricketers. That's why superb players like Hussey and Stuart Clark break into the national team and perform.

    6. County cricket should be like club cricket in Australia - the grassroots, feeding into an elite regional structure, where the top English-qualified players do battle. I would have only 3 Regional teams, playing 4 each other home and away in 4 matches (with possibly a final at at the end):
    NORTH/MID: Durham, Yorks, Lancs, Notts, Derbys, Leics.
    EAST/SOUTH: Northants, Essex, Kent, Middx, Surrey, Sussex
    WEST/SOUTH: Warwicks, Worcs, Somerset, Glamorgan, Gloucs, Hants.
    *Overseas players allowed in county cricket (to boost quality and help youngsters learn) but not in Regional.
    ** All counties receive money from the regional competitions to fund their development and academies.

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  256. At 09:53 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Andrew wrote:

    Pretty well spot on Jonathan.
    For me the danger signs were there when Freddie Flintoff was interviewed in a clearly drunken state the day after the Ashes were won He and Harmison were also clearly the 'worse for wear' when interviewed again by the BBC at the World Cup in 2006 in Germany. Having fun, fine, but being captain of England is more than that. We are too ready to celebrate.
    We need a much more professional approach to our cricket if we are to rebuild successfully. Freddie needs some better advisors around him and the burden of captaincy needs to be removed from him, that should have been learned from the Botham experiment. There were a number of players on this tour whose minds were elsewhere.

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  257. At 09:53 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ron Morgan wrote:

    Yes I am very disappointed with the result but I do take on board the facts and they are that we did not prepare as well as we might, especially in warm up games.

    The loss of Vaughan,Trescothick,Jones and too an extent Giles who can bat a little were important.

    The fact we went into the test with players like Flintoff coming back from injury was a factor

    But more than anything I belive the ability to be aggressive and win at all costs is something we lack for the most part, and one of the reasons the Aussies are top of the tree.

    We have some bright young cricketers but we need to first of all find a bowling attack that is goo enough to bowl a team out and a number of these bowlers need to be able to bat like Brett Lee and Shane Warne can then we will be in a position to take them on

    Fletcher should be retained to show this was a one off and too get us back on track but like the Aussies after 2005 we must leave no stone unturned in learning from this whitewash and making sure we go on to replace the Aussies as number one in the world

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  258. At 09:54 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Andy wrote:

    Having set the standard for honors by giving "her" England cricket team MBE's for winning the Ashes 2-1, I hope the queen is Getting ready to give "her" Australia team suitable honours all round for recording the first 5-0 whitewash since the 1920's. Knighthoods all round? How does Sir Shane Warne sound?

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  259. At 09:55 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Phil Taylor wrote:

    We are still the best in the world at some sports though.......oh hang on.......whoops

    I like Robert Key

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  260. At 09:55 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Brian Jones wrote:

    Further to my earlier missive it; it must be apparent that Kevin Pietersen has been handled very poorly by the team management and his captain. He was obviously targeted in a sly underhand fashion by Buchanan because the Aussies fear him most. It was a neat trick to claim that our most talented and flamboyant batsman for a generation was not a team player and therby encourage him to adopt a Geoffrey Boycott approach at the crease and completely stifle his innovative brilliance. What worked so well for Boycott is not Pietersen's way and Fletcher and Flintoff should have immediately spotted the fact the their player needed to be told to get back to his flamboyant style quickly.Pietersen like the great Viv Richards, makes-up strokes as he plays, which made them both so dangerous as well as entertaining.
    I do hope or though it is probably a forlorn hope, that Fletcher and who ever is captain for the One-Day series will tell him to forget all that Buchanan rubbish about not being a team man and knock the skin off the ball at every sensible opportunity.

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  261. At 09:55 AM on 05 Jan 2007, mark wrote:


    I strongly urge every follower of English cricket to write to the ECB in order to demand why so many pathetic managment decissions were taken prior and during this series?
    No one cares about one day cricket all the real fans want to see is England v Australia and the managment have let the fans down badly.
    Graveney is a disgrace and Fletcher is a poodle for putting up with this nonsense bring in Gatting Gooch Boycs and Botham and lets all sit down and discuss why this farce was allowed to happen and ensure it NEVER happens again!
    A pissed England fan!

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  262. At 09:56 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Adam wrote:

    5-0!!!! :)

    All of my pommie mates are ignoring my emails... haha this is beautiful.

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  263. At 09:57 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ramesh wrote:

    I don't see any hope for English cricket unless there is a paradigm shift. Both players, officials and fans have to recognise that the 'Ashes' series isn't the only important event in the cricket world!
    In 2005 all talk and focus was on the the Ashes 2006/07 and now, after a 5-0 whitewash, its the Ashes 2009! Unbelievable!! This has become such a hype that no cricket fan outside of England and Australia takes it seriously anymore.

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  264. At 09:58 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David E P Dunk wrote:

    As a Man of Kent living in Australia, I can accept the slings and arrows of my Australian friends over the past weeks. What I cannot accept is the total lack of guts from this dismal collection of holiday makers, fraudently accepting obscene payment from the cricketing public.
    Apart from an unfit Flintoff, not one player, or the so called "management" had an ounce of dedication or resiliance.
    Yes, this is a good Australian side, but that is no excuse for the pathetic display, lack of guidance and capitulation.
    In a few weeks the media will be back promoting the virtues of yet another Titanic! Excuses will flood in for Fletcher, as they did for the second rate footballers at the World Cup. We will praise Henman again, when we know he is not good enough to win Wimbledon.
    Thank God this collection were not alive to "Fight them on the beaches!" I would be brushing up on my German.

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  265. At 09:59 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Graham Stickland wrote:

    Aggers is right! A full review is necessary if we are to learn from this drubbing. I feel let down by the England team and management. I fear, though, that we will get another dose of defensive denial from Fletcher et al. The players, coach and whole entourage must be held accountable and change must be made. Our cricket still needs to harden up and get more ruthless on and off the field.

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  266. At 09:59 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Denis Roffey wrote:

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything Aggers has written. This shambolic debacle has been nothing short of a total humiliation and demonstrates very painfully the fundamental flaws in the English attitutude and approach.

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  267. At 10:00 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Brazilnut wrote:

    I don't suppose it would be "cricket" if we could just come home and forget about the one day nonsense, thereby avoiding further humiliation.

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  268. At 10:04 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John McConnell wrote:

    I could not agree with JA's comments more. But -and its a very big but, how much notice will the suits at Lords take note. They are in a comfortable [almost impregnable]position and unlikely to accept any blame for the Ashes debacle. They are even less likely to ensure that the Australian way of preparing and winning is instigated. Will we see any resignations? I think not. English cricket will muddle on as it has done for as long as i can remember. As for the players on this tour they should take a long hard look at themselves - and decide whether they should carry on being a professional cricketer, or overpaid non achievers similar to their collegues in the national football team.

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  269. At 10:04 AM on 05 Jan 2007, DAVID L wrote:

    What a Humiliation..Fletcher should go as he has no passion being a South African,the same as Greg Chapple for India.You have to be born and bred in the country to show any fight or commitment.
    - I dont think this comment would stand up -
    - Take KP as well then and how about Strauss (is he considered English bred or SA or maybe AU).

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  270. At 10:05 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Stan Elder wrote:

    Pride goes before a fall. England's success in 2005 was a close run thing and maybe wouldn't have happened had McGrath not stood on that ball. To celebrate them as national heroes was absurd and however down to earth you might be it must have an effect on your vanity. That said, NO-ONE played consistently well in Australia.

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  271. At 10:06 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John Yeomans wrote:

    Jonathan, I could not agree more.
    You, me, ex players like Boycott n' Botham & the thousands that have written here on the BBC all have seen the problems & can see the solutions. We admire the Australians pride, passion & fight however, as the comments made by no 34 clearly illustate, we are not being listened to.

    England's form & performances have been poor for 18 months now but nothing changes. The ECB like the FA & Rugby will sit back & cash in on our blind loyalty. We will still watch on TV so revenues will be secure & the players can just turn up & get their cut.

    The heart & desire of the English sportsman is so fickle that we as England supporters are cheated compared to other sporting nations like Australia where playing for the national team truely means everything. Some people in England might think these crying Aussies are in sincere but having lived in Aus for 6 years I know they are genuine. As I walked the dog tonight around the local primary school, yes primary school, there was a 7 year old padded up with helmet being bowled quick deliveries in the nets by his dad & off breaks by his older brother, the Gabba tonight was holding a 20/20 game & 30,000+ were rushing to get in. Aussies love cricket, unfortunately in England, it is just a summer sport played in private schools & club cricket is just a snob ridden social networking jolly. I've played in England & I quit after a year because is was just not competative. I've played here & everyone can bat & bowl, it's friendly but hard.

    I am glad England lost badly 5-0 today as a win would have papered over our failings. Please Mr Agnew carry on a public fight to get things improved. I know you fear that everything will be held behind closed doors but to make all the humiliation worth something you & others must champion England's cause. England supporters also need to get the message across that we can not be taken for financial & more importantly emotional rides any more but how we do this i do not know... signing off to 2009.

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  272. At 10:07 AM on 05 Jan 2007, hit_wicket wrote:

    Some interesting end of series stats.......

    Highest individual score in an innings:-

    Collingwood 207 Eng


    Best bowling figures in an innings:-

    Hoggard 7/109 Eng

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  273. At 10:08 AM on 05 Jan 2007, philip fielder wrote:

    It seems the time is ripe for a review (?mercy killing) of the whole structure of the modern English game. At the highest level the lesson must be learned from the notoriously ruthless Australians i.e. that you cannot allow sentiment, or conditions of travel. If someone is unfit, they must not be risked, and if someone will not tour unless the wife and kids come along from the start, then find someone who will.

    At normal level there seems to be too much gash money swilling around, so that the richest clubs put out the best sides and are fielding sides of children to play in the lower leagues against blokes from the ordinary clubs.

    As for the brilliant innovation of 20-20 cricket, I remember playing in 20 over cup games in youth club sides and as mid-week competitions which brought together all sorts of sides in an FA Cup style "village green-ers against the local posh clubs" in a wonderful melting pot. That was over 40 years ago.

    Philip Fielder

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  274. At 10:09 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Jimbo wrote:

    It's as true today as it was before Fletcher's glory years...you can't have a consistently top-level, competitive England squad without a top-quality, competitive first-class game. Doesn't matter whether DF rests players in the English summer or lets them play, the standard of county cricket is now so bad players aren't graduating through the ranks. Reduce the number of teams down to the international standard playing venues (10), can the rest, and make every game a selection dogfight for England places. The lack of hunger and preparation we've seen on this tour starts on wet afternoons in Derby, not when we get off the plane in Oz.

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  275. At 10:10 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Paul Baker wrote:

    The keys words in previous messages for me are intensity and professional.

    The Australians want to win, almost NEED to win,
    and do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal.

    In England, we need to decide if we want to win the Ashes back in 2009, or whether just trying
    to win is good enough.

    How many Australian players will take part in the County Championship between now and 2009 ?

    How many English players will play in the Pura Cup ?

    We need to learn how to play hard cricket over 5 days.

    Umpiring decisions will come and go, but bowlers need to learn that line and length never goes out of fashion.

    Batsmen need to be prepared to bat for 7 / 8 hours, collecting scores of 150 / 200 or more.

    The Australians HATE to get out, and that attitude is why we've been stuffed 5 - 0.

    The English team, and the English game in general needs to learn some simple rules.

    1). Don't give away your wicket easily.

    2). Don't give away easy runs.

    3). When you have the upper hand, drive home that advantage until you've won the game.

    Congratulations to the victorious Australian team
    and let's hope that the ECB learn from this tour.

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  276. At 10:12 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David wrote:

    Cricket, football, rugby - the malaise is the same throughout virtually all of English professional sport. They all love the glory and the money but when it comes to delivering for the long-suffering fans they fail abysmally.
    Many of the previous comments refer to the partying, wives and girlfriends, book deals etc etc. Its time they all got down to some hard work and started to earn their money and show some guts.
    Michael Holding commented last night how after a similarly disastrous WI tour that certain players were told in no uncertain terms where they stood and what they needed to do if they ever wanted to play for their country again.
    I think there are many sportsmen ( no I re-phrase that - wannabe celebrities) who represent England at their sport who need to be told the same hard truths.
    Also, it is no surprise that given the downgrading of competitive sport in schools that we have such a generation of sportsmen. Can you imagine an Australian sportsman being told that competitve sport was harmful and somebody might have their feelings hurt if they lost? Ricky Ponting, do you realise what you and your magnificent team have done to the feelings of the English cricketers? I can see it now - the ECB are already arranging for a team of counsellors to be on hand for the traumatised English team.
    We were beaten by an excellent and worthy side and I salute Ricky and all his men - well done.
    As for England (and I include the football and rugby teams) take stock, learn well, grow up and give us back our pride as a nation. We will not always win but at least show us your committment, pride and passion, both on and off the field. If you can't do that then get out and make way for some players who can.

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  277. At 10:12 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Jim Allison wrote:

    Aggers as usual you are spot on with everything you say from your Australia learnt from 2005 sic.onwards. Its probably THE most galling fact for us older fans that playing for the England cricket team does'nt involve personal discipline ,personal sacrifice and an esprit de corps mentality. Like you say those that dont like it dont go. Mental strength and dedication count equally as much as talent in the biggest sporting contests. Please please on our- the fans and your listeners- behalf do all you can to get this wooly liberal attitude removed from the England Cricket set up. You ex pros have the contacts vote them in set up "ginger groups do whatever is necessary because this lot (ECB and whoever) are denying true England cricket fans the opprtunity of national success and the right to see a committed and determined team who win lose or draw give their all. Love to listen to your radio commentary great knowledge great presentation/delivery

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  278. At 10:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, slimeybones wrote:

    as to be expected- 5-0
    i think everybody in the cricket world could see this coming except for duncan fletcher
    what is that man on?
    right till the end he was harping on about the england preparation being fine and the team being up to the challenge
    GOOD MORNING,MR FLETCHER!!!!!!!!!
    i think the run-out of panesar this morning summed up the tour
    symonds did what was expected in an exemplary method and the woeful misjudgement of the english,i mean,if you were to pick an aussie fieldsman to take on for a quick single,you couldn't possibly make a worse choice,.so for me symonds personified the ruthless perfect cricket of australia and the english personified slack play and terrible judgement
    well done,aussie although i do admit i would have liked to see more of a contest

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  279. At 10:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ross wrote:

    only reason they lost 5-0 was cricket has evolved!
    worst teams might have lost 2-0!
    draws are just not common on a track that helps the batter and gives a bit to the bowler, especially when u have two positive teams like aus and eng!
    england were never gonna bowl them out twice cheaply and post substantial runs twice themselves, so how can people think they could ever get e result!
    the mind boggles! gone of the old days of posting 90 runs a session......teams look to post 400 on a good day now!

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  280. At 10:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Peter Kenyon wrote:

    I'm surprised everyone is so shocked at this result. All the pundits asked what the score would be before the series said 4-1 to Oz, so 5-0 is not far out! Not to say that many of the performances were extremely poor, but why the big surprise?!

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  281. At 10:14 AM on 05 Jan 2007, peter rutt wrote:

    Well we new this would happen,when will players wake up to their responsibilties it is after all they who are paid to perform,Flintoff should never have been captain it is too much for him and although I understand he does not want to blame any one he needs to get real and be more crirical of the non performers,he does not need to name names we know and the players know who needs to be put right.
    It is after all the English way we think we are better than we are, that goes for Footballers in particular with cricketers close behind.
    The praising of the Barmey army is ridiculous they make me cringe who else would sing the national anthem,jerusalem etc when their team is getting hammered,Ponting was taking the perverbial when he praised these so called supporters,in football the team would have been booed off and quite rightly so.
    Come on lets face it yes they were the better team,and we were beaten mentally before the first ball was bowled and even more so after Harmison had bowled it,Flintoff/Fletcher were to blame they gave him the first over,and as for Giles do me a favour no chance,Monty should have been there from the start.

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  282. At 10:14 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Keiran wrote:

    Firstly Aggers I have really enjoyed your commentary on the ABC radio. Kerry O'keeffe and yourself are a great team - very informative and entertainly

    I remember watching the 2005 series on late night TV (in Australia) thinking what a brave and comprehensive performance from England. Even though my team lost it was a great series.

    After the loss I remember office I work in being excited by the 2006 /07 series we jsut couldnt wait for 15 months to arrive.

    The office almost grinded to a halt to watch Harmisons first ball of the series such was the interest and anticipation.

    Even after England were smashed in Brisbane (i went to Day 2) there seemed to a real chance of a tight series in Adelaide. After Day 5 in Adelaide England were broken and never recovered

    I am really happy Australia won convincingly but a little sad the series was a one sided affair

    Australia wanted to win and England were underprepared physically and mentally

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  283. At 10:14 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Alex wrote:

    I am not quite sure why people say this is the worst England side of all time, or at least to visit Australia.

    How short people's minds are, regardless of the result, this side is infinately better than the dross that was sent over in the nineties and early 000's.

    Devon Malcolm
    Dean Hedley
    Dominic Cork
    Mark Ealham
    John Crawley
    Alan Mullaly

    etc....

    The list is bloody endless, and if anyone thinks that these players and the teams they played in are better than this current lot they are absolutely barking mad!!

    Granted, they have collectively played poorly, but in addition, they have been given as little assistance as was possible, not to mentioned pandered, with which the blame should lie soley at the feet of The ECB and coach.

    Not enough cricket, hit and giggles warm up games, players who haven't played in nearly a year, WAG's being over for practically the whole tour, stupidity over selection and captaincy, poor back up support evidenced by the debacle over Trescothick, the stupidity of Duncan Fletcher and The ECB in letting Cooley slip through their fingers, and lastly, The ECB not being harder on the players, this is not a jolly and winter break, it's a damn Ashes tour, and after all, it appears that The ECB have been too weak to ensure the relationship remains one of employer/employee not the other way round in the players favour. I don't blame the players, it is weak management.

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  284. At 10:15 AM on 05 Jan 2007, chris newey wrote:

    that was the most embarrasing spineless incompetent performance i have ever seen from a english cricket side in a test series

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  285. At 10:15 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Rich Edwards wrote:

    Well first off congratulations to the Aussies who were magnificent. True professionals who deserved to win.

    England on the other hand. Well where do you start? Well you might identify the following:

    - Resting on laurels after 2005 win. A battle won is worse than a battle lost.

    - Believing the media hype. You are not footballers.

    - Poor coaching. Fletcher should have a pay cut for this. Or be fired.

    - Poor preparation. No excuses for this.

    - Wrong captain. Top chap Flintoff. But he is no captain. Strauss should have been given the job. You captain with your head not your heart.

    - Lack of professionalism from players. They look like they don't give a damn. And probably don't frankly other than Flintoff.

    - Crazy selection. Leaving Monty out until the Third test was barking. Giles was a poor choice. What he's doing in Test cricket is beyond me.

    - Playing unfit players. What was this about?

    - Presence of WAGS dilutes the necessary focus and bonding needed to perform as a unit.

    I could go on. But we all know that nothing will be learnt or done about this disgrace. We'll be back to the media hyper in eighteen months saying how sans Warne and McGrath we'll beat Australia. And what fools we will be.

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  286. At 10:16 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ian Taylor wrote:

    I agree with you Jonathan, The cricket players are just the same as the pathetic soccer players. They start to believe all the comments in the press and think they just need to turn up. No prep work no commitment and no Balls. I live in New Zealand and see how the Australians love to WIN and unfortunatley cant see that attitude coming from the over paid England so called cricket players. We must play the guys that are in form not the name players who are full of themselves. The Barmy army were fantastic and give these ashes awesome support and atmosphere, just a pitty the players let them down badly.

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  287. At 10:16 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Colin Brand wrote:

    Absolutely correct Jonathon but should we the public/media take some of the blame for our reactions after the 2005 series. We were right to get excited over the result but it could just as easy have gone the other way.Then we all went wild and over the top, MBE's etc and the players themselves must have believed that they were world beaters. Last summers test should have been a walk up call but no we were just ticking over waiting for the Aussies. How the mighty have fallen

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  288. At 10:16 AM on 05 Jan 2007, aussie matho wrote:

    Depth Depth Depth!!! This is something completely foreign to english cricket.

    I have been reading with interest the debates around the wicketkeeper position, lack of preparation, selection mistakes etc.

    The one thing that has been overlooked (by public comment and yourself aggers) is that english cricket does not have the depth of players that can step into the side when injuries hit.

    The ECB should be extremely worried and I support a review of this pitiful performance. I just hope the look at why there is not the calibre of players coming through the system (or lack of system as I think it is).

    I am australian and congratulate the aussie test team on a job well done!

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  289. At 10:17 AM on 05 Jan 2007, codelad wrote:

    We can go on about all those zillion reasons why England possibly failed - poor selection, lack of preparation, presence (or absence) of WAGs, player injuries, black cats crossing their paths, etc. etc. Still, the fact of the matter is that England are just an vastly inferior (and terribly overrated) side, at this level, and at this point of time.

    At this level, you need a few batsmen who average above 50 in a series - not ones who make 4 fifties or one double-hundred in 10 innings. And you need bowlers who consistently take 4-5 wickets in an innings. Else, it hardly matters if they give it their all on the field (which I doubt they did, anyways). They'll still end up loosing, like they did. Time for a serious reality check.

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  290. At 10:18 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Lisa Muzzelda (from Bury) wrote:

    I see the US congress has appointed a woman speaker, Germany has its first woman chancellor, France has a female presidential candidate and of course, Britain has already had been there, done that..

    Why can't we get more female participation in cricket. Ok, our women's team is good, but why are we restricting our men's managerial team to men only. Surely, this is the time to appoint a women to replace Duncan Fletcher. Women would have much more backbone to counter Aussie arrogance..(I digress, but Robert Key in a dress would look good)

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  291. At 10:18 AM on 05 Jan 2007, jl wrote:

    To discover the English mentaity for this series a good comparison is the S Africa tourof Australia last season.

    1st test in Perth SAfrica need 450+ to win with 4 1/2 sessions remaining. No chance of winning and 4/100ish at end of 4th day. Rudolph and Kemp dig deep and fight to the death to salvage a draw and only lose one wicket in the final day. SA got a draw in a test that was all but lost 3 1/2 days in.

    3rd and final test in Sydney SA down 1-0. Playing very well and have upper hand in test. Rain comes in and suddenly the test is looking like a draw. Graeme Smith declares despite only haveing a lead of around 200 because there is only 1 day left and if they bat on the test will be a draw and they will lose the series 1-0. Despite having a nearly impossible task of bowling Aus all out under 200 in one day he realises that thisis the only chance (slim as it is) to win the match. History shows that Aus got the runs and won 2-0 but the attacking mentality and the never say die attitude of SA earned them respect amongst both Australian players and spectators.

    Compare this to England this series. Harmison didn't want to eb there. Thoroughly underprepared. Last day capitulation in Adelaide . No bowler averaging under 30. Only KP averaging above 50 with the bat and constant low scores and low order failiures. England didn;t think they had to improve after 2005 despite their failings in the following series against SL, PAK, India etc. (5 wins from 18 isn't the formthat'll beat the world champs).

    I didn't think England were ever going to win this series but to lose 5-0 with thoroughly convincing margins in each test was just poor.

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  292. At 10:18 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Jim Allison wrote:

    Aggers you are spot on with everything you say from your Australia learnt from 2005 sic. Its probably THE most galling fact for us older fans that playing for the England cricket team does'nt involve personal discipline ,personal sacrifice and an esprit de corps mentality. Like you say those that dont like it dont go. Mental strength and dedication count equally as much as talent in the biggest sporting contests. Please please on our- the fans and your listeners- behalf do all you can to get this wooly liberal attitude removed from the England Cricket set up. You ex pros have the contacts vote them in set up "ginger groups do whatever is necessary because this lot (ECB and whoever) are denying true England cricket fans the opprtunity of national success and the right to see a committed and determined team who win lose or draw give their all. We need a change at the top

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  293. At 10:20 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Jim Allison wrote:

    Aggers you are spot on with everything you say from your Australia learnt from 2005 Its probably THE most galling fact for us older fans that playing for the England cricket team does'nt involve personal discipline ,personal sacrifice and an esprit de corps mentality. Like you say those that dont like it dont go. Mental strength and dedication count equally as much as talent in the biggest sporting contests. Please please on our- the fans and your listeners- behalf do all you can to get this wooly liberal attitude removed from the England Cricket set up. You ex pros have the contacts vote them in and do whatever is necessary because this lot (ECB and whoever) are denying true England cricket fans the opprtunity of national success and the right to see a committed and determined team who win lose or draw give their all. We need a change at the top

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  294. At 10:20 AM on 05 Jan 2007, R. Swaine wrote:

    History once again reminds us that most past great batsmen made poor England captains. Botham, Gower, Gooch and Atherton. Freddie just joins the list. Truth is, in this last test, those were the best players we could offer. I doubt by dropping 2 and adding a different 2 would have made any difference to the result. When Man U play Accrington, there is only ever one result.

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  295. At 10:20 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Graham Marley wrote:

    Shambolic - thats all that can be said.

    The complete lack of preparation and both squad and team selection play a large part in England's heavy defeat.

    You can't however take anything away from team Australia - and thats the big difference they played as a team. Whenever they were struggling someone raised their hand and took the game away from England. When England struggled they crumbled like Cheshire Cheese.

    If one lesson needs to be learnt its about pulling together in adversity (we briefly learnt this skill in the series prior to the Ashes win, but have got too cocky).

    We don't need major changes to the team but I think it is time for Duncan Fletcher to move on -he played a major role in turning English Test Cricket around, but I think he must carry the can for a big proportion of the problems on this Tour.

    Role on the Summer (as we can right off the World Cup)!

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  296. At 10:21 AM on 05 Jan 2007, HORSE wrote:

    England's upper echelon of management is wholly to blame for this debacle.

    Australian coaches Rod Marsh and Troy Cooley had everything going in the right direction,the team winning and a whole bunch of young players coming along (eg Cook,Broad)

    So then what does the ECB do?

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  297. At 10:22 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Buckers wrote:

    Dear Aggers,
    Again it has been a pleasure listening to your dulcet tones for another Ashes series. i am sorry that you are not remaining in Australia for the pyjama series.

    Thanks for another Ashes series and I will have to seek solace in listening to Kerry.

    From an appreciative Australian.

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  298. At 10:22 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Paul D wrote:

    I can't see the one day series or World Cup being any better, Jon Lewis is our best one day bowler but looking at the squad which is full of "younger" players he won't get a sniff until the games are meaningless.

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  299. At 10:23 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Colin wrote:

    Always fascinating to read all the blogs and to hear the pain in everyone's posts. As a 'Pom' living in Sydney, let me tell you, it's just as painful from where I'm sitting.

    I just wanted to make mention of the fact that what we have witnessed here these past couple of months is symptomatic of a general English sporting ailment. Just look at the Rugby World Cup. It takes us 2 decades, the alignment of planets, particular weather conditions and a whole heap of luck (remember that the Aussies pushed England worryingly close in that rugby final) to claw a win of any meaning, we celebrate like no tomorrow, and then we slump back into the quagmire of defeat ... probably for another 20 years. Key players get injured (Wilkinson, Vaughan, Rooney, etc), poor management decisions are made, general arrogance grips all concerned and we're thumped by all and sundry.

    The problem with England is that we praise amateurism and still feel we rule the world. It's time to wake up and smell reality. Given our wealth and population size we are one of the most pathetic sporting countries on this planet.

    I for one have had enough of the pain and suffering. I'm going to take Australian citizenship and start supporting a team and country that knows how to win.

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  300. At 10:23 AM on 05 Jan 2007, James Marchbanks wrote:

    Jonathan, your article makes complete sense and should be copied to all members of this dreadful Ashes tour. England did not deserve a 5-0 thrashing but if you give the Aussies a sniff of victory and a glimpse of your own vulnerability and fear, then anything is possible. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. What would have happened if we had not lost the second test? Adelaide was a freak result. What would you have written if the series had been lost 3-0?
    One issue that I fail to understand is the ridiculously small amount of cricket played by the England team on tour (including during all five tests, none of which lasted 5 days). Whenever the Australians come to England it seems that they always have several warm-up games as well as a couple of County games before the Test series begins. How many serious games of cricket did the English test side play outside the Test matches? How many opportunities did out of form players and other squad players (Read for example) have to actually play some cricket in case they were called up due to injury? We should copy the Australian Cricket Board and be less than generous hosts and make visiting teams play Tests against us with minimal preparation OR expect to receive the same courtesy away from home as we afford the Australians. Who decides the tour itinerary? I imagine that the ECB has the opportunity to ratify the arrangements? If they did then more fool them!
    As for the MBEs, even I (staunch monarchist and sports fan) was uneasy with the knee-jerk reaction of Tony Blair and his advisors to award gongs for the 2005 performance. That smacked then of political opportunism and how dreadful it feels today.
    English cricket has to accept that our players are overpaid and under-performing possibly due to overplaying. An overhaul of English cricket is essential if we are ever going to see a genuine Ashes series ever again. At present the Aussies could send over their second XI and still expect to pommel us. The 2005 Ashes success was as much due to poor Australian cricket and injury to McGrath as to superlative cricket from our boys. That series was won by a whisker. Let's not forget that fact.
    I am so pleased that I am in Budapest at the moment so that nobody over here can talk to me about the cricket!
    Happy New Year Aggers!

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  301. At 10:24 AM on 05 Jan 2007, paul wrote:

    England were simply not up to the task I'm affraid in the series.
    What distrubs me is the amount of glossing over of the mistakes and poor performances by England players and management in interviews, which did not come over with any genuine sincerity. Spin is alive and well within the England set up off the cricket field it seems.

    All credit must go to the Aussie's and well done to them on the whitewash, finally great coverage on Radio 5 Live Extra from the team.

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  302. At 10:24 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Geoff Stubbins wrote:

    Dear TMS Team

    It would appear that the England team have gone backwards drastically to the 'bad old days' when particularly the wheels would come right off under any pressure whatsoever.

    Against the best team Australia, their attitude is everything and they never know when they are beaten, the 2nd Test which England somehow contirved to lose from a very formidable position to say the least, sums this attitude up the best.

    Australia were very professional in their total approach, their batting was adventurous and always positive, with batting in depth with good support from Shane Warne at 8 and Brett Lee below and even Stuart Clarke proving troublesome at times.

    Australia's bowling was consistently good, obviously too good and when the sessions really mattered, they had the fire power and control, bowling to good lines to put the England team under enormous pressure and unfortunately on this occasion, despite individual cameo performances, the England batting was not up to scratch and just simply too inconsistant.

    One player of the series for Australia and scoop of the year for the Aussies was the recapture of Troy Cooley, only England would have allowed this to happen, particularly just before an Ashes series, this simply should not have been allowed to happen, just ask youself the simple question on how much information did the coach have at his finger tips!

    England never, whether it be batting or bowling seemed to gell as a complete unit in this series and questions have to be asked why. Team selections for the early tests were somehat strange to say the least and why Giles played, having been overlooked during the two previous tour games, ahead of Pannesar is still a mystery. Surely if Giles was to play in the first test he should have played in the warm up games, isn't that logical.

    I believe the Aussies couldn't wait for Read to keep wicket as well, as they knew then that the England tail definitely started at No 7 and with the structure of Read's batting and basic inability to have any straight defence he was an obvious target for the Aussie bowlers and they were able to apply full pressure as soon as Read walked to the wicket.
    Gerraint Jones had actually kept quite well, remember his tumbling reaction catch off Monty in the 3rd Test and although anyone can bag a pair, Jones had not previously recorded a duck in his international career and when in form is a quality batsmen. However almost led by the Press calls it would appear Read was inserted for the 4th & 5th Tests, with the obvious shortcomings still evident for all to see,
    The rest of the England batting was as a group disappointing, for a player such as Strauss how many times was he out either hooking or edging to slip after another flashing attempt. The occasion for Cook appeared to be one step too far too early and especially opening for the first time in his international career, how much of a difference would it have made if his steadiness could have been better served as a No 3, this would have then proved easier for Ian Bell to have slotted in middle order where he had all his success in the previous winter and summer, leaving KP & AF to destroy from the middle order.

    Then as for the bowling, how many times was the bowling too short and too wide and allowing the Aussies too many four balls. In 2005 the bowling at times might have been short but it was delivered with menace & alot straighter, there just seemed to be a total lack of control.

    The captaincy proved virtually impossible for Freddie and in hind sight to have England's leading player thrust into the limelight, with all the added pressure of being captain was simply too much. I'm sure fitness allowing Freddie will bounce back and be an even better player,as I'm sure he wouldn't want o go through such a mauling again in his career.

    If Strauus had been captain with Freddie as his VC this would have been a better solution, would Strauss have allowed Australia to bounce back in the 2nd Test. I would have hoped not and the final straw was the naive field placings as Australia were chasing their target, why were England so defensive when their only chance was to take wickets and then put Australia under more pressure, very strange in deed.

    So the balance of the England team is absolutely critical. A batting wicket keeper is a must and if Gerraint Jones remains out of form and I still believe with some confidence and support he is the best option, look at his 2005 contributions, valuable runs at critical times. What are the alternatives Pothas of Hants or Barry of Surrey. Who will make way for Vaughan's return, it has to be Bell, Cook or Collingwood! What if Trescothick is able to return! Strength in depth adds to competition and can only be healthy. Simon Jones would make a difference however he has only to date performed in one series and how long will his fitness last, very unfortunate and hopefully he will be OK this time around. However with Simon Jones in contention this still leaves a long tail and with Freddie apparently unable to bowl longer stints England would have to go in with 5 Bowlers. Just look and see how under bowled the England bowlers were compared to the Aussies, just look at the Old Guard of McGrath & Warne. Harmison still bowled the most overs for England and he was under prepared, which should have been known as Steve is the type of bowler who needs overs under his belt, as in previous seasons.

    So who is going to keep wicket and bat or can Read bat at 8 or 9 if England can find some good bowlers who can bat, not too evident at present though! Monty, Hoggy and Harmy with the 4th seamer unable to bat must somehow be improved, so who is the new Freddie to lighten his load or even a spinning allrounder, can the Yorkshire legspinner prove successful, we shall see. However the planning for the next 2009 Ashes series needs to start now and one or two players may need to be grooomed for that series. Good old fashioned basics like line and length pressue bowling or good well directed aggression must be the order of the day. All the existing players should still be available for selection for the next sereis, something that the Aussies won't be able to do so hopefully these experience will stand England in good stead and with a couple of additions or so, allow England to strike back at the next chance.

    It's not all doom and gloom and England do not become a bad side overnight however they must learn from this tour as Australia did previously after 2005 and do the basic things right and consistently and get the body language right & Positive

    Geoff Stubbins

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  303. At 10:25 AM on 05 Jan 2007, James Marks wrote:

    Jonathan, your article makes complete sense and should be copied to all members of this dreadful Ashes tour. England did not deserve a 5-0 thrashing but if you give the Aussies a sniff of victory and a glimpse of your own vulnerability and fear, then anything is possible. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. What would have happened if we had not lost the second test? Adelaide was a freak result. What would you have written if the series had been lost 3-0?
    One issue that I fail to understand is the ridiculously small amount of cricket played by the England team on tour (including during all five tests, none of which lasted 5 days). Whenever the Australians come to England it seems that they always have several warm-up games as well as a couple of County games before the Test series begins. How many serious games of cricket did the English test side play outside the Test matches? How many opportunities did out of form players and other squad players (Read for example) have to actually play some cricket in case they were called up due to injury? We should copy the Australian Cricket Board and be less than generous hosts and make visiting teams play Tests against us with minimal preparation OR expect to receive the same courtesy away from home as we afford the Australians. Who decides the tour itinerary? I imagine that the ECB has the opportunity to ratify the arrangements? If they did then more fool them!
    As for the MBEs, even I (staunch monarchist and sports fan) was uneasy with the knee-jerk reaction of Tony Blair and his advisors to award gongs for the 2005 performance. That smacked then of political opportunism and how dreadful it feels today.
    English cricket has to accept that our players are overpaid and under-performing possibly due to overplaying. An overhaul of English cricket is essential if we are ever going to see a genuine Ashes series ever again. At present the Aussies could send over their second XI and still expect to pommel us. The 2005 Ashes success was as much due to poor Australian cricket and injury to McGrath as to superlative cricket from our boys. That series was won by a whisker. Let's not forget that fact.
    I am so pleased that I am in Budapest at the moment so that nobody over here can talk to me about the cricket!
    Happy New Year Aggers!

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  304. At 10:25 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Nigel Cozens wrote:

    Like you Aggers, I hope that this is the catalyst for change in the England set-up. As an Englishman I am embarrassed and disillusioned by the team and game I love.

    The Aussies got it spot on this time. In 2005 they had key members injured/out of form and I think that they were a tad complacent and didn't quite take the tour as seriously as they should. This was given 16 years of untroubled victories. We have slumped to this attitude after just 18 months. Those street parties of 2005 do seem rather silly now.

    Defeat spurred the Aussies on to revenge and greater achievements, I dearly hope the same will happen to us.

    Get Vaughan back, get Flintoff fit, get Harmison a one way ticket to Durham, just get the Ashes back.

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  305. At 10:25 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Realist wrote:

    Before the aussies get too carried away, they should reflect that what we have seen this series is an ageing, not great, side comfortably beat a badly prepared and absolutely awful England team. No more, no less. Warne and McGrath are no fools and have timed their retirement wisely.

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  306. At 10:25 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ralph Ingram wrote:

    This was a huge embarrassment, but not unexpected. We entered this series with a bowling attack that showed little threat and a batting line-up that became distinctly frail after the departure of Trescothick. We missed Vaughan terribly, but choosing a talisman as captain is never good idea. The damage that has been done to Flintoff's prowess as an all-rounder by the burden of captaincy can not be underestimated. Freddie is not a tactician and I feel sorry for him that he has had to suffer so during the tour.
    Jonathan, you are right about the team being pampered and unprepared. Teamwork was never really displayed, and this is crucial when playing the Aussies. It was summed up for me at SCG when Mahmood ambled back from his bowling run-up to miss Cooks throw at Warne's stumps. Had he been behind the stumps Warne would have been out and the result could have been different. Whatever Mahmood's feelings about his part in the series, he is still part of the squad and he has to play his part in the team. His "bowler's arrogance" was not needed here.
    However much it hurts, the Aussies deserved their victory. We must now learn from this and build a system that encourages talent and makes us world class!

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  307. At 10:26 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John Lynton wrote:

    Our thrashing was due to misplaced loyalties by The Coach ,the captain and the Sectors ,combined with lack of ruthlessness by the England captain in situations where they were on top. Why declare when you know the Aussies are capable of scoring centuries down to batsmenn no 8...We were beaten by a fantastic side.
    In the modern game perhaps the best there has ever been.

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  308. At 10:26 AM on 05 Jan 2007, sw wrote:

    England were never going to wein this series but the players mentality since the 05 series has been nothing short of disgraceful. 5 wins from 19 isn't it? Compare this to Australia who have not lost since that series and have drawn but one.

    The fact is Aus were complacent and thoroughly underprepared for the 05 series. During the preceeding one day series Pnting joked that losing an ODI to Englnd was more embarassing then their loss to Bangladesh. Symonds turned up drunk to a match. Only Warne turned up. Despite all this and the other attitude failings in that series England only won 2-1. This attitude also took years of world dominancne to set in.

    England on the other hand took 1 series to become arrogant, careless and cocky. They didn't turn up to play and got humbled 5-0.

    At least the rugby side won the world showcase of their sport. The cricket side won one series against one nation (albeit the best nation) and were on top of the world (this is despite them being the worst ODI side in the world (out of the half-decent cricket nations).

    Australia are the best in the world because they have dominated both test and ODI for years. One series does not make a great side. its just a shame England can't get their heads around it.

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  309. At 10:28 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Billy Fluke wrote:

    i cannot believe that everyone is overreacting so much

    i think we should shoot them all

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  310. At 10:28 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Mr Grinch wrote:

    "What went wrong" many people are saying including Aggers and the many blogs on this site. The question should be "What went right" ?
    Answer : Absolutely Nothing ! I struggle to remember a positive to come out of this tour. I remember watching the Ashes in 1990/91, 1994/5, 1998/9 and 2002/3 in Oz. All of these tour were very disappointing and i remember feeling low. But these all pale in insignificance to this tour. At least in the others we won the odd Test, we had some positives and occasionally we showed a bit of fight. We showed none of these here. It was very very embarrassing.

    Mr G

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  311. At 10:29 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Sean wrote:

    In response to the criticism of Michael Vaughan, he couldn't win could he? (bit like England really), if he was in the dressing room he was a distraction and now he is being criticised for NOT being there!
    As ever, we went over the top with our celebrations at winning the ashes in 2005. It was a very close thing and we could well have lost a couple of those tests. So in reality we weren't as good as we thought we were. Certainly not good enough for gongs - but that's another debate.
    I would have liked the players to acknowledge this and have less of the "there are things we have leraned" and more of the " we were a disgrace and we owe it to oursleves and our supporters to start to earn the money we are paid" More humility rquired.

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  312. At 10:29 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Mike Marsh wrote:

    I personally think that the honouring of the players ie OBE, MBE etc. when the Ashes were won lin 2005 did no good to the players, they went across with the imprssion that they were the "bee's knee's" on big salaries with long contracts and came short!! They call themselves professionals, bring on the cricketer and lets get back to grass roots cricket!

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  313. At 10:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Anonymous wrote:

    John 238, I take it you believe Ali was right to keep fighting rather than retire when the time was right. McGrath and Warne aren't simply retiring cos they've won 5-o..the announced retirement before this last test. They are both fiercely competitive and obviously have a considerably greater knowledge of their bodies than you do. The idea that their retirement shows some kind of lack of spirit is ridiculous. Also as far as I can tell winning the Ashes easily is generally a routine matter for the Australians.

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  314. At 10:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Matt wrote:

    As a counterpoint to the doom and gloom, we have to remember just how good Australia are and how invincible they have been at home for the last decade or so.

    I lived in Sydney for four years, and was there when South Africa were the number two ranked team in the world. There was huge anticipation when SA came to play in Australia, but they were utterly thrashed 5-0. Then Australia went to SA and beat them again - I think it was 5-0 again, and South Africa were simply unable to compete. They were clearly the second best team in the world at the time, but were not in the same class as the Aussies.

    Whilst much of the criticism and soul-searching is justified, I think we have to admit that the 2005 Ashes was something a bit special. It wasn't a flash in the pan, but it was a case of English players playing to the peak of their powers and a whole country getting energised behind their cricket team. This combination managed to create pressure and doubt in the Australian team, and we pulled off a great win.

    Everyone said they thought this series would be close, but I feared it wouldn't be, simply because I saw how South Africa were demolished. I felt there were three key players if England were even going to be competitive; Trescothick, Flintoff with the bat, and Harmison. No need to add comment to that.

    Australia will come back to the pack now, with Warne and McGrath going, and England have a bright future with young players and others like Broad / Tremlett coming through.

    We needn't be so despondent.

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  315. At 10:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, stephen, durham wrote:

    i've said before this strip had the feel of a holiday camp. the players didn't beleive they could win.
    i didnt either.
    but i expect them to be professionals and give 100 % . they didn't.
    flintoff in his soundbites after the game talks of learning, a young side , will get stronger etc.
    UTTER CRAP!
    his motivation is to keep team england together, jobs for the boys , playing with mates.
    with central contracts, performance does not really come into it. once you get in the england team . thats it . you're in. regardless of how well you perform.
    this is why england cricket is so mediocre.
    then look at the one day side. ranked 8th in the world?
    yet the english team is the best paid and rewarded in the world!

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  316. At 10:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Matt wrote:

    Going into this Australian summer the Aussie boys set themselves 3 goals.
    1. Win the Champions Trophy (Check that one off)

    2. Regain the Ashes (BIG tick there)

    3. 3rd consecutive world cup (preparation starts in the upcoming tri-series which you can be assured our Aussie boys will take VERY seriously and consider nothing short of a convinving series win a failiure)

    Who's going to bet against us making it 3 out of 3?

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  317. At 10:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ammo wrote:

    Aggers et all,

    Lets forget the MBE's, forget the preperation, or lack of it, forget everything that surrounded the cricket for one second. The one thing England now have is a base. They can only improve, and a 5-0 killing is almost a perfect start for them for 2007. They have 2 series coming up, against teams that can perfrom brilliantly, or poorly, so they will be evenly matched to them. I think the first thing they need to do, when the seasons kicks off again, is play England v England A matches. 1 dayers, 4 dayers, and have a little tournamnet. The best and worst performers switch sides and try and play with a new team. See how they adapt the their new colleuges. This is the only way the team can improve. Its not good enough to keep saying, the Aussies outplayed us. That would go down a bit better if we felt the team actually played at their best, which obviously wasnt the case. The team can only get better, thats something atleast.

    Lets hope the 1 dayers arent as painfull to watch!!

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  318. At 10:31 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Andrew K wrote:

    The rsponse to John 238 from myself, I think I forgot my name on the post

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  319. At 10:32 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Andrew Morton wrote:

    All of this is true, but surely the big message that comes out of the scorecards is that going into a test match with no more than four people who can hit the ball is a recipe for disaster. Strategies have to be developed for ensuring that bowlers and lower-order batsmen have plenty of experience facing good bowlers.

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  320. At 10:32 AM on 05 Jan 2007, john lynton wrote:

    WE missed Tres badly...he would have given the backbone to the side we needed. You have to get a start against this side if you are to have any chance.

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  321. At 10:32 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Davo wrote:

    Hey Aggers, loved your commentary on the ABC, especially with 'Skull' O'Keefe.

    Did you get to say 'Bollocks' on air?

    Great cricket, played in an even greater spirit. Hats off to Flintoff and his 'lads' for forming the guard of honour for Langer today. Jolly good show, what!


    Has Australia become better? Turning evenly poised tests in a very short time. We'll never see the likes of it again I think.

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  322. At 10:33 AM on 05 Jan 2007, DAVID L wrote:

    to 238 John: What a load of rubbish. You think a 5 - 0 win away from home is what makes a great side. Well what would be the point in winning 5 - 0 away to the current side (not berating them but it wouldnt be a contest). Australias percentage win away is 55.98% - the highest.

    Why do people roll out the WI when comparing to this Australian Side? Look at the WI versus Aussie statistics and you will notice that Aust comes out on top as a team. WI had great individuals but not great teams. Australia has a great team with everyone contributing.

    Although you cant compare teams from different eras, I would say without a doubt this Australian team would wipe the floor of any WI team.

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  323. At 10:35 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Colin Geeves wrote:

    We did not lose The Ashes, we surrendered them.

    I also think that those members of the England squad who only 16 months ago were awarded Honours when winning The Ashes (something I didn't agree with at the time), should now in all honesty return them or, if they haven't the courage to do that, have them withdrawn.

    Previous Ashes winners were not rewarded in this fashion.

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  324. At 10:36 AM on 05 Jan 2007, VOM wrote:

    Talking of stats, I reckon four bowlers taking 20+ wickets in a 5 match series is some achievement. Happened before?

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  325. At 10:36 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Asif wrote:

    Hit the nair on the head as usual Aggers.

    I don't know whether to cry at our shambolic state or laugh at the gross incompetencies that are endemic in our cricket, from players to selectors to administrators.

    I mean things like not keeping Cooley...it boggles the mind!

    Why can't the captain and the coach come out and say we weren't good enough, we have to go back to the drawing board? Saying anything else is laughable because we can clearly see the truth out on the field.

    The first step to rectifying a gross error, an abject failure, is to acknowledge it.

    I fear 2005 was a one-off. Both preparation and team selection (both selectors and coaches/captain) have been off for this series.

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  326. At 10:36 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Greg Kingston wrote:

    Firstly, hats off to the Aussies. They were hungrier, far better prepared, and really wanted the Ashes back.

    Now to England - so many places one could start. Having followed the series like everyone else, the place I'd like to start with is the national pride. The honour of pulling on your country's shirt seems to be diluted as the game gets more 'professional' (read players get paid more). This is one of the reasons why Monty endeared himself to the public - my god - when he takes a wicket he reacts just like any fan would playing in their first test for their country.

    Outside of this though, there is one point I would like to make which deviates a little from the discussion, and that is the end of match / day interview. Speak to an Aussie and he'll tell you what happened in the day, whether they were good or bad you'll get it straight.

    England seem to come out with a carefully prepared media statement for the chosen player to communicate that often bears no relation to what has actually just happened. I swear they spend more time planning these end of day interviews sometimes than planning game tactics. This has now become so common that every interview ends with the commentator saying something along the lines of "I'm sure there's a different message in the dressing room".

    The trobule with this approach by England is that
    a) it really annoys the fans and
    b) I think some of the lpayers actually start believing the position they've been told to maintain.

    Steve Harmison's comments at the end of day 2 or 3 were a joke. He refused to offer any explanation as to why his form had been poor and slowly improved. Does he know or doesn't he? If he doesn't know, he shouldn't even be considered for the team - bowling is his job and with the help of the huge coaching resources he should be able to identify exactly why he isn't performing. If he does know, then why not say? What harm is it going to do, other than admit that something isn't working?

    Not singling out the same player, but going back to the original point about really wanting to play for your country, Harmison pulling out of the World Cup squad at this late date is an absolutel disgrace. Everyone knows that he's just homesick and wants to get back as quick as he can and he hates touring. Even though they're not much better at the moment, can you imagine Wayne Rooney retiring from international football just before the next football world cup? He's letting the whole team down, and based on this and his performances in Aus, I'd drop him from the whole team and central contract altogether. He epitomises everything that is wrong with the team.

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  327. At 10:37 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Keith Standring wrote:

    Everybody has about covered it for me....
    Lack of planning
    Lack of Intensity
    lack of Professionalism
    too much pandering to egos.

    However a few people for me cannot be criticised flintoff ... always tries 125% even if he is not fully fit... but we cant always rely on him a few other people need to stick their hands up.
    Bell/Pieterson have generally batted well but have lacked the support from everybody else. Panesar ... always enthusiastic always give of his best... must have been distraught originally not being picked, but showed great professionalism by not moaning.
    Hoggard another 125% man

    Whilst you could go thru individuals and pick on various short comings or failings for me Steve Harmison is our biggest worry... on his day as destructive a bowler you will find .... but as a professional has a very poor attitude if he thinks that the 1st Ball he bowled in the series is acceptable at a professional level then he needs to give up.!!!!
    Picking up on what somebody has said earlier the technique for bowling is the same wether you are playing 1 day cricket or Test match cricket... he has retired/ or is retiring from 1 day cricket.. strikes me the lad doesnt want to put in the effort and unfortunately will never be remembered as a great Cricketer just another waste of potential.... lets hope Im wrong but my gut tells me not.... lets put the effort into finding somebody who does want to learn ,who does want to play all forms of cricket and wants to be the best there has been...Like warne and McGrath so obviously do....


    And I know ive said a lot but my last comment is on Paul Collingwood.... a great fielder ,a man with great determination but take away 1 innings ( a very good innings at that ) and he would be considered to be dropped.. please dont let 1 innings mask his obvious technical shortcomings at this level of the game... he is allowed to have a dip of form , because he has scored well all of last year... but the real great players dont dip so badly.....

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  328. At 10:38 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Rich wrote:

    They should be forced to ride an open top bus through London and to complete their humiliation stop off at the palace to give their gongs back

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  329. At 10:38 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Dave Thurstan wrote:

    I have not agreed with much that Aggers has said during this tour, but he is absolutely correct to say that some good must come from this humiliation. The whole structure of English cricket must be reviewed for us to have any chance of competing in the future. However I fear this will not happen because any review of the tour will be carried out by the people who have contributed to the failure, and they are more interested in protecting their positions rather than forcing through change.
    I can't remember if we have actually won a game in Australia this tour? but I'm certain we won't win many one dayers, if any,because the one day side is in a worse state than the test side!

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  330. At 10:39 AM on 05 Jan 2007, tragic wrote:

    what can i say? bloody hopeless! what a difference can 16 months make or break?

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  331. At 10:39 AM on 05 Jan 2007, marc brown wrote:

    Stan Elder (post 250), you are spot on. "To celebrate them as national heroes (in 2005) was absurd"

    I thought so at the time - I'm English and was as happy as anyone when we won the series, but I had to switch off as they cavorted through the tickertape at the Oval that evening (was that drunk bloke from the morning-after really made captain?)

    Then they lost their hunger, focus and professionalism during the one-month lap of honour that followed.

    90% of cricket is played in the head, and so it is back to the drawing board.

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  332. At 10:40 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Stefan Ellerbeck wrote:

    I'm not so sure that this series whitewash should be regarded as one of the greatest disasters to befall English cricket for 80 odd years.

    I reckon this all-time great Australian side would have done the same to most of the other test playing nations too.

    Look at their record of soundly beating all comers over the last 18 months. At least England should find things a bit easier in their next few series...

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  333. At 10:40 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Roy wrote:

    A very good Aussie side (on and off the pitch) made to look even better by a poor England side that lacked spirit and determination on the pitch after promising so much in all the pre-match media interviews.

    Remember the London celebrations of 2005. Perhaps we should parade the current bunch (management included) round London when they get back in an open top bus, so we can pelt them with rotten tomatoes.

    However, the writing was on the wall after the winter 2005/2006 Asian tour !

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  334. At 10:42 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David Bradbury wrote:


    Does MBE mean 'More Bloody Excuses'?!! Take note England's (Mis)Management Tour organisers.

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  335. At 10:42 AM on 05 Jan 2007, murph wrote:

    #267

    Well nobody else was going to do it.

    Hoggard ended up with a very average average of 37.

    Stuart Clark ended up with 17, McGrath with 23.

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  336. At 10:43 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Paul wrote:

    The whole episode from start to finish was a farce and a wholely embarrassing one at that. You could suggest a myriad of reasons as to why this tour ended in humiliation, from the preparation, the performance of key players, the lack of any sting in the English batting tail, the woeful bowling, the timid nature of the English players, the pure class and aggression of the Australians, the presence of wives and girlfriends early on, the distance from home etc etc etc.. I could go on and on, but are any of them the reason. NO. They are ALL the reason. It's a combination of everything that has led to the battering English cricket deserved! I was just as proud as the rest of the nation when we finally brought the ashes back home in 05, but that couldn't be a more distant memory now. Even after that final nail in the coffin and the acceptance of a 5-0 whitewash, Freddy Flitoff didn't look overly upset or concerned. Ok.. so I wouldn't have been blubbing, but I would have been livid with the inept performances the whole team had showed and had a steely determination in my eyes to redress the balance. AND MEANT IT. But therein lies the true cause of the problem. The Ausies were a class act from the first ball to the last stroke of the willow, they wanted it from the minute the game at the Oval ended in 2005 and have gone out of there way in effort and determination to get it. They deserve it and they should be applauded for there resolve. We were unprepared and complaicent from start to finish and frankly looked bored and bemused at times. Harsh words and a few size 9's up the backsides of several key figures are needed now.. and for the foreseeable future or this will become the first of many hammerings we suffer at the hands of the Australians (and probably other nations too!) PS.. there's a reason this country is now referred to simply as Britain now-a-days... it's because the rest of the world and ourselves to some degree, have come to realise there is nothing "Great" about us in the sporting domain!! Nothing at all....

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  337. At 10:43 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Tim wrote:

    Thank god that's all over then. My biggest fear now is that we get a whole raft of books of the tour. A period of quiet humility from this lot would be good, although I dare say that is too much to expect. If any of them do publish, I hope their thoughts are as well-received and as successful as Ashley Cole's literary tour de force!

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  338. At 10:44 AM on 05 Jan 2007, dave Chung wrote:

    To represent your country is a privelige, for which you should have to demonstrate sacrifice.
    Hardworking people up and down the land expect that the team representing them are putting in the same graft, if not more.
    This is what the Aussies did.
    How many times did Flintoff go to see Elton John?

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  339. At 10:47 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David Waddle wrote:

    Spot on as ever Aggers. I just wanted to thank you and the rest of the team for making a pretty miserable experience bearable, bordering on the enjoyable at times. Your double act with Boycott is assuming legendary status now and his comment about MBEs and his cat will be one of the funniest things I hear all year.

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  340. At 10:48 AM on 05 Jan 2007, bernie s wrote:

    at least the agony was over quickly last night and the sleep deprevation can end for now . i thought the lack of sleep was making me halucinate, but my wife assures me that the nightmare 5-0 really happened .

    All that has been said about selection,preparation etc. is certainly true but with the exception of the first test we have had chances to take the initiative in every test and have just not seized any of them - we were not strong enough mentally when it really mattered and that is where the aussies really beat us - in the mind

    it is such a shame that we were so meek in our surrender when we waited so long to win them back - oh well, at least in 2009 i can get some sleep !!

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  341. At 10:49 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David Lloyd Owen wrote:

    Aggers and Boycott's voices need to be heard where it matters. This series was lost on that day of hubris after the last series was won. The bulk delivery of MBEs (Money Before Excellence?) set the foundations for the whitewash. I am tempted to say that it should be OBEs all round (Orful Beneath Expectation?) for 'making history'. Awards and celebrations should be for sustained excellence rather than a one-off wonder. May the road to 2009 be a chastening case of sackcloth and Ashes.

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  342. At 10:49 AM on 05 Jan 2007, aussie matho wrote:

    Comment 253 - Nick Mermagen.

    Spot on with points 5 and 6!!!

    ECB have a chat with Nick, this is exactly what should come out of any post ashes review.

    I am australian and Nick you are exactly right.

    If I could only add one more point and that is that cricket should be on free to air TV not sky sports (pay tv). You need to get more people watching the sport as this will increase the sports profile and get more kids playing cricket.

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  343. At 10:50 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John Armagh wrote:


    Well - a one-off win followed by a whitewash.

    So when does Flintoff give back his MBE?

    Maybe he will hope to redeem himself in next year's Strictly Come Dancing

    I'm afraid the English are one-hit-wonders. (Soccer 1966, Rugby Union 2003 and Ashes 2006).

    I am proud to be British, and I am proud to be Australian. I'm just glad I'm not English just because I was born here.

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  344. At 10:51 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Gregory Hine wrote:

    I am not an avid follower in the sense of staying up all night to watch the tests. But I have watched the occasional highlights and saw a dismissal caught by Pieterson off Mahmood when, far from the usual 'high fives' and other such jinks, the two could hardly bear to acknowledge one another. This gives the lie to assurances from the captain and others that the spirit is great within the dressing room. It is clear to even the uninformed observer that things have been strained between the players themselves.

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  345. At 10:51 AM on 05 Jan 2007, alpscarter wrote:

    England made the same mistake as Sir Clive Woodward did when selecting for the Lions tour of New Zealand. As the initial selection was made trying to get "the old guard" who had done so well prviously to repeat their herculian effort of times gone byand the picking of half fit players.
    Same result a whitewash!!

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  346. At 10:51 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Simon wrote:

    As a Englishman living in Oz, this is very hard to take, a loss I can take but the total capitulation in this series is something else. Most has already been said but I wanted to add that our last 5 averaged under 35 runs (not including the 2nd test) and Australia's last 5 averaged nearly 140 runs!! Maybe we should be looking for bowlers who can bat as well for the next series.

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  347. At 10:52 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Lee wrote:

    Hi,

    I'm disappointed at the way England played, but with the preparation being so poor, and our best players either off from injury or just coming back, we were never going to be strong enough to give ourselves a decent chance.

    However, I do think that the very public slaying the English team gets from English media can't help the boys feel that the country is backing them. We have reporters who know nothing about cricket, commenting on a 'poor performance' one day out of a five days test, only to then have to change their opinion the next day as the team recovered. If these people knew anything about cricket, they would be able to reserve judgement until at least England had batted AND bowled!

    While I think the celebrations last year did a lot to damage the spirit of the team, by getting them involved in areas of celebrity that they were actually quite uncomfortable with, I do think it was a fitting tribute to a team who had been amazingly consistent over the previous couple of years and they deserved the accolades. it was just a shame the press didn't understand what they had done, before the Ashes!

    The Barmy Army are fantastic and just what the boys need - true cricket fans who support our boys regardless of current form. They will be back and so will the team - better than ever!

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  348. At 10:52 AM on 05 Jan 2007, steve wrote:

    Right on Jonathan. Did we not learn from the mistake in 1981 when we made our best all rounder the captain>> No offence Freddie, but you're not a captain. Fletcher should be sacked for not using Monty, and sticking with the awful Giles, and there should be no wives, girlfriends or families allowed until the series is won.

    This is not a holiday for the players and families, it is a sporting occasion where these guys are representing the nation, and getting paid handsomely for it. You've let us down badly - very badly.

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  349. At 10:53 AM on 05 Jan 2007, shoeson wrote:

    I'll start by thanking the Aussies. It's been a few years since I was last out there and I miss the place. Hoping to travel out there with my new wife next year. But I'm thanking you not for giving us a demonstration of true cricketing professionalism but for giving us a hiding. Anything less than that and us Poms would have come away thinking maybe things aren't so bad.

    But there is something rotten in the domestic game in the UK. As posts here have pointed out, counties are more interested in the shorter forms of the game than in the longer form. Personally I don't see a problem with that - the summer is long enough to accommodate both. What we really need is a short, sharp championship. Merge the counties into six teams. Play them at the best venues in the country i.e.: test grounds. Play twice over a short period and then finish with a five day game for the top two.

    Yes, it is the Pura Cup, but it will breed better cricketers. Too many "professionals" in the UK are milking limited talent. With only six teams, there would fewer players on the payroll, so only the best would survive. And the best would also, by default, have to have the guts, desire and determination to get to the top. And that would breed mentally tougher players.

    This format would allow for the long form game to be completed within a maximum of twelve weeks. And since there will be numerous grounds around the country lying vacant during this period, guess what, short form cricket could be played at the same time. Meaning teams of specialist one day players that could be used to enhance our test match team in the international one day arena.

    There can be no debate - this has to happen! The county game is lazy, lethargic and pointless and it breeds cricketers to match! The one day game is about money and the people playing it are constantly only interested in money. By adopting this approach we will end with a much smaller pool of crickters who play firstly because they love the game. That's a great start for building a test team and with a shorter county competition we give plenty of time for the top players to be coached and involved in the England setup. In fact, there may not even be a need for central contracts any more as the domestic season would conflict less with the test calendar!

    On a final note, I'd just like to dispel the "myth" of the Barmy Army. Yes, when it began it was a hardcore group of real fans that travelled the world to support England and, through cameraderie and good humour, became a vital, amusing and witty addition to the England "squad". But as with all good things, commercialism took hold. Somebody saw a way of making money and now the Barmy Army is no more than an 18-30 Cricketing holiday. They're not even witty any more.

    Contrary to popular belief, the real fans are those of us who stayed at home. Not because we wouldn't have given our right arm to go out to Oz but most, like myself, couldn't afford to go out there. So we sit up until the early hours praying that our team shows a bit of fight and, disgusted when they don't, vent our frustrations on the Beeb forums. Hands up any other writer on these forums - Aussie, Brit or any other nation - who wouldn't have boo'd their team off the pitch at the end of the Adelaide test, or any subsequent one? Is it because we don't support them or are fickle? No, it's because it's the only way we can let the team know that they haven't tried hard enough.

    So when the Barmy Army say they're still behind the team the inference is that we aren't. Sloblocks. The difference is that we don't have a commercial interest in seeing the fans continue to invest money in the team, whilst the ECB, the Barmy Army and the sponsors all do.

    So if you're a real fan of English cricket, vent your anger and frustration. Demand change. And don't stop until we see the whole organisation of the English game changed for the better.

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  350. At 10:54 AM on 05 Jan 2007, David Ayres wrote:

    There is a fine dividing line between success and failure. England were three runs from going 2-0 down in 2005, and contrary to many opinions of Australians on this blog, we were not lucky to scrape home 2-1. The weather saved Australia from a 3-1 defeat so get your facts right. England's win was pretty comprehensive. As long as we learn our lessons, like Australia did after 2005, I believe England will come back fighting in 2009 after this humiliation. Those of you who believe it will be another Australia walkover will be very much mistaken.

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  351. At 10:55 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Adam wrote:

    this 5-0 whitewash effectively invalidates England's Ashes win of 2005. the critics will have a field day putting that victory down to Glenn McGrath's injury, bad umpiring and controversy surrounding the 12th man (i.e. Gary Pratt's run out of Ponting).

    Plus the two games we won (Edgbaston & Trent Bridge) could've so easily been won by Australia.

    The best sides prove even in defeat their world class attributes. England most definetly did not do that this tour.

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  352. At 10:56 AM on 05 Jan 2007, sam wrote:

    I don't mind England losing (well I do), but what really gets my goat and disgusts me is the way that they just capitulated.

    If they play well and lose I can cope, but they just did not play well, there was the odd bit of individual spirit but as a team they folded. There seemed to be no desire to win, and no ability to play as a team, and this went from the selectors down through the captain to the newest players.

    We clearly have some fantastic players, but we need to get them motivated as appatantly the honour of playing for your country and having the hopes and dreams of their fans is not enough for them (leaving out their generous salaries).

    It is time for a public autopsy of this tour, it is the fans who keep cricket going and we deserve a very good explanation as to why it went so wrong (I think we all know why, the article above pretty much spells it out, but it would be good if the powers that be could admit to their failings and implement ways to make sure this never happens again), and an apology.

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  353. At 10:56 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Colin wrote:

    No heart, no drive, no show of patriotism much like the English footballers and rugby players

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  354. At 10:56 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Duc wrote:

    well if you poms keep moving out to Oz there will be no one left to play

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  355. At 10:58 AM on 05 Jan 2007, daveo wrote:

    This is a big wake up call.
    Lets see if the poms can do what the aussies did when they lost the ashes.
    Maybe they can, maybe they will crumble and hide under the blankets.
    That is what makes a team.
    Are you up to it Freddie.maybe not too, nice a guy, everyone likes him, he does the right thing, but can he win the ashes.
    There is no mongrel in him!!
    Stand up and be counted or leave it to someone else.

    Give us a game in 2009 for the sake of the game!!!!!!
    Open question ..If thats the best you can do dont bother!!
    We want a competion not a whitewash!!


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  356. At 10:58 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Sam Turvey wrote:

    Aggers, you are bloody spot on mate. If some fool in the ECB set up fudges an inquiry into why we were so bad on this tour I'll sue them for every penny I wasted on following this poor England team Down Under!

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  357. At 10:58 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Kieran wrote:

    Yes England have lessons to learn but already less that 12 hours after their victory they are talking about 2009 and that is their first mistake. They should be focusing now on the ODI series and the World cup and the Test team should be concentrating on the West Indies in the summer. They should be starting to make plans for Lara & Co. This to me (apart from Australia being very good in all departments) is teh main reason for thei demise. They treated Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka with disdain and a serious lack fo respect - if they had have treated each series with the same intensity and desire then there would hav ebeen noproblem going home for 3 days after ICC Trophy as they would not have had to lift themselves up!

    Also why, why, why, why, why was Andrew Flintoff the skipper. I have lost so much respect for this guy!!! Yet this morning he is saying he wants to remain in the job- wise up Freddie, you're a joke. And becuae the media and the ECB have put you on such a high pedestal they wont knock you. So I will tell you what will happen: Your ankle is going to mysteriously flare up, you will have to go home early and play no part in the ODI series and therefore the transition back to Sir Vaughan will be smooth and wee Freddie wont lose face!

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  358. At 10:59 AM on 05 Jan 2007, keith powell wrote:

    It's sad but it should put English Cricket geeks heads into perspective as to were we really are in the real world.

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  359. At 11:00 AM on 05 Jan 2007, rob moston wrote:

    I don't think England have all that much to worry about. The state of interntional test cricket at the moment is so weak that they should be able to pick themselves up and continue to dominate most of the other test nations, especially at home.

    As for Australia, they'll struggle to replace both Warne and McGrath, maybe even Langer too. Forget all the talk about them having several young guns in reserve - they don't. The old sheffield shield competition is not that strong.

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  360. At 11:01 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Douglas Lee wrote:

    A few positive things to come out of this series:

    1 The privilege of watching one of the best sides in cricket history playing at the top of their game

    2 The emergence of Monty Panesar onto the international scene

    3 The spot-on analysis of Jonathan Agnew

    4 Geoff Boycott's ridiculing of Andrew Symonds being stuffed down his throat

    Errr... that's it!

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  361. At 11:02 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Andy Lea wrote:

    Aggers is spot on as he tends to be 95% of the time. It worries me that Boycott and now Aggers are trying almost it would seem, to convince themselves that ther will be a proper inquiry into this debacle. Could it be that at heart they belive the whitewash will be whitewashed?

    I think the point on the PCA is also apt. Sports players in this country lead a cosseted lifstyle- MBE's, WAG's, great salaries. its about time they started finding a backbone and acknowledge where their priorities lie.

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  362. At 11:04 AM on 05 Jan 2007, STEVIE H. wrote:

    I feel everyone is missing the point. History tells us we very, very rarely win against Australia,
    practically never in Australia itself. I've been saying this for years that the ONLY way to win in Australia is to totally change the mindset. We need an English side to be playing competitive cricket in Australia so we can blood ALL our players in the art of Australia wickets, weather, attitude, grit, etc every single year. I'm sure the Aussies would love it if we had a side playing Sheffield Shield cricket every year, even more chances to thrash us!! Also, I think the side that plays in Australia should bear very little resemblence to the side that we play elsewhere. We need players who are very, very mentally tough. That completely rules out most of this side. We need 11 batsmen with at least one county hundred to their name, if not don't select them. And that must include the number eleven. I say this because the way our tail has wagged & always wags in Australia is appalling. We need to know that if the top order fail we have people who can bat all the way down. We can't bowl out Australia twice with our best bowlers so you need to approach it from a different angle. We need 11 batters & 10 bowlers because otherwise we will NEVER beat Australia in Australia again. If you are mentally tough enough you can bat & bowl for your country, we have players who struggle to do one of these things. I would rather have 11 fighters who will fight like crazy & maybe sneak a 1-0 victory then the yellow bellys out their at present.

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  363. At 11:05 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Dan wrote:

    I thought Fletcher's attitude was disgraceful. He spoke as if England had been beaten say 3-1 or 2-1, not drubbed 5-0. He seriously has to consider his position. There are 5 main points we can learn from this series. Firstly, Flintoff doesn't have the intellectual capability to be a captain- he speaks and acts like a drunken pub cricketer. He is a great player but has not the wit or imagination to set good fields or make timely interventions when bowlers aren't performing. Captaincy requires a tactical brain- Brearly had one, so does Vaughan- they realise that neanderthal posturings about Queen and Country don't get you anywhere- it takes sense, lateral thinking and sensitive but firm leadership. Flintoof has not the subtlety for any of those three.

    Secondly, Geraint Jones should not be playing test cricket. His batting and glovework are sub-standard for a team supposedly the second best in the world. Read CAN bat against lesser opposition- which England WlLL face and his glovework is excellent. That brings me to the third lesson- to play just four bowlers instead of five. If Read is to play, the batting needs strengthening so there could be a place for Vaughan when he comes back and as an opener too- where he scored his runs. We can have three seamers, a spinner and Paul Collingwood who can get a bit of swing with his medium pace. It's really all we should need. Fourth lesson, we need to acclimatise more and have decent four day matches against Australia' state sides who are already hard opposition.

    And finally, we have to restore discipline with the batting. Pietersen's attitude is atrocious- he doesn't give a damn about staying in to protect the tail, he is a one-trick pony, unable to revert to cautious play when it's needed. Playing reckless, attacking criket when following on is a recipe for disaster. You don't have to be overtly defensive, just put away the bad ball. Instead, we see a lack of application, excused by the pathetic excuse "well it's my natural game". Against Australia, what is natural has to be modified.

    Australia are a great side but they are not the team of 2001. Taht they still won is testament to their motivation, organsiation and to our sheer incompetence.

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  364. At 11:06 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Antony Ornstin wrote:

    Totally agree with comments inpost number 217. I think both Strauss and Flintoff would both have performed better if Strauss had been captain. Overall team performance would have been better too.

    Captain's role crucial in test cricket in term of tactics/strategymotivation-remember Mike Brearley? I think Strauss far superior to Flintoff in all these aspects.

    Think Robert Key has been treated misreably unfairly by England management (clearly not only one) Australians rated him highly on the last tour. I think would have scored more runs than Cook (who is a very good prospect).

    Clearly lots of other issues which have already been exhaustively discussed.

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  365. At 11:07 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Antony Ornstin wrote:

    Totally agree with comments inpost number 217. I think both Strauss and Flintoff would both have performed better if Strauss had been captain. Overall team performance would have been better too.

    Captain's role crucial in test cricket in term of tactics/strategymotivation-remember Mike Brearley? I think Strauss far superior to Flintoff in all these aspects.

    Think Robert Key has been treated misreably unfairly by England management (clearly not only one) Australians rated him highly on the last tour. I think would have scored more runs than Cook (who is a very good prospect).

    Clearly lots of other issues which have already been exhaustively discussed.

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  366. At 11:08 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Matt Thornton (Six and Out) wrote:

    I've been fearing the one-dayers since before the ICC CT. And this Winter is already a nightmare. Things can still get worse.

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  367. At 11:08 AM on 05 Jan 2007, K.Townley wrote:

    After our success in 2005 I was very dissapointed when SKY got the rights to all the TV coverage. The thought that there would be no more terrestial TV cricket was soul destroying. OK, Jonathan, TMS is brilliant (I listen to you but watch the telly - or used too!) but I knew I was going to miss the pix on the box...until this year. Thank God I didn't have to sit through the debacle that was the 2006/7 Ashes and actually WATCH it! Listening was bad enough. As you say, there are so many lessons to be learn't...let's just hope we learn them!

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  368. At 11:10 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Richard Woolley wrote:

    I 100 per cent agree with Jon Agnew. If England can learn from this hammering 5-0 hammering then they will improve in future but the truth is will the ECB, the players, the selectors, the coach really learn from it? I think there has to be changes in personell. England need a new coach, new captain (not necessarily Vaughan because of fitness concerns, I'd revert to Strauss), a new chairman of selectors (Graveney chose Flintoff as captain and selected GJones and Giles, he has just picked a 36-yr old keeper for the one-day series, what a joke! and bringing back Vaughan for the one-dayers is very risky, surely he would have learned not to bring players back too soon after a long period out injured) and above all a new philosophy and approach. The players need to toughen up, wisen up and sharpen up! We need a coach unlike Fletcher who doesn't come out with silly excuses, is honest with the media and one who believes that you don't get better by playing no cricket!
    Flintoff is an overrated cricketer, he has been massively overhyped by the English media (he is a shadow of a great all-rounder, there is nothing special about his batting and bowling averages), Pietersen is England's only world class batsman and Panesar our only really good bowler. England possess no world class fast bowlers. Hoggard got 13 wickets before the 5th Test but 7 of those were in just one innings in Adelaide. Harmison's bowling has been in decline for 2 years now, he has a poor bowling action and is inconsistent.
    The likes of GJones, Giles, Trescothick and Harmison (the most mentally weak cricketer I have ever seen) should never play for England again. They should bring in Broad and Tremlett and perservere with the likes of Panesar, Cook and Bell as these players are the future. Also neither Read nor GJones should be selected as keeper; select Davies, Prior or Foster instead.
    Finally Ian Botham should consider his career as a media pundit. Before the series started he branded Australia as 'Dad's Army' and said that England's "Fab Four" of Flintoff, Harmison, Hoggard and Mahmood would prove too much for Australia's ageing batsmen. Someone buy him a crystal ball!

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  369. At 11:10 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Maurice Dando wrote:

    I crashed my car whilst listening to the cricket - I was so infuriated I pulled out of a junction without concentrating properly. That's what this english team has done to me.

    Thankfully no-one was injured although my brown Metro will not be the same again..

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  370. At 11:10 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Foze wrote:

    Sledging, such that it is, is ingrained in the Australian cricket mentaility. I was a fast bowler and was taught how to 'sledge' by my fast-bowler father when I was a junior and all members of the teams I played in employed it constantly. We also expected and got the same treatment back from the opposition. For the most part it is not malicious nor personal and it was always left on the ground at the end of the day's play. It was just part of the weaponry to dislodge batsmen. I'd 'have a go' at members of an opposition team from my cricket district and then have the same people joining in the sledging when we played together at district level.

    Its all about aggression, passion and wanting to get the guy in pads down the other end out and win the game. It comes in lots of forms - consider the Merv Hughes occasional long follow through and eyeball-to-eyeball glare ("you're rubbish, and you're my bunny"...). Picking your target is all important though, sledging the wrong guy - Alan Border or Steve Waugh for example - would probably only make them angry and more determined to score a ton!

    As a batsman I was hopeless and found the best way to cope with the sledging that was pointed in my direction was to smile broadly back down the wicket at the bowler and wander down the pitch to carefully 'repair' the patch that caused the ball to fly unexpectedly past my outside edge... Once you understand sledging then it can be used against the opposition quite effectively, especially if the bowler in question has a warmish temprament.

    Of course people say its "just not cricket" or "ungentlemanly" but then so are bouncers aimed at the body (consider Bodyline!) and overenthusiastic celebration when taking a wicket. Cricket is not a game about being 'nice' any longer and probably never was.

    So the England players need to simply let the sledging wash over them, concentrate on their job, wait for the next loose ball and knock it to the boundary. Otherwise you are just falling for the trick that sledging is seeking to achieve. If they're easily upset by a few words (assuming they are not racist, etc) then they probably don't have the mental fortitude to be playing international cricket anyhow.

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  371. At 11:13 AM on 05 Jan 2007, arthur wrote:

    England seemed to feel they had achieved the cricket equivalent of winning the football World Cup when theyt won the Ashes, and could not seem to get motivated for cricket after that.

    It was a great achievement, upsetting one of "the greatest teams of all time" one that has just slaughtered England again. Australians say that their current team is one of the best of all time. Wasn't it a great achievement to beat them? The MBE's and the parades were mildly over the top - but I don't know why people want to denigrate 2005 all the time.

    England have become more competitive since the dark days of the 1990's and hopefully they will regroup after this bizarre tour.

    G.Jones has lost it and Read is not good enough to bat against the top teams. Why were they here? Why didn't England play six batsmen? If Flintoff is not fit enough to risk 3 seamers, then shouldn't he be at home resting? Why throw poor Mahmood straight in? Why not do what the Aussies did and pick an experienced seamer (Stuart Clarke).

    Why didn't they plan for this tour from October 2005? Didn't they realise that Flintoff, Vaughan and S.Jones are injury prone?

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  372. At 11:14 AM on 05 Jan 2007, toneye wrote:

    This shameful defeat echoes outside of sport. It is representative of a malaise in the British character that began to develop post world war 2 and certainly post 1966. We have become a nation of self-deceivers from the top down ----- in sport, politics, anything you care to mention. We are lied to and we take comfort in self-deceit ----- the surviving myth of superiority that kindles the "spirit" of this Barmy Army of a Britain. So sad that a people who in my childhood once led the world have become the masters of incompetence and seem only to recognise it briefly at times like this of national sporting crisis. Former British traits for understatement, decency and clear-eyed dogged determination that saw us through to surviving the Blitz and defeating Hitler have been undermined by a cult of celebrity hype and acquisitiveness. If we were to take the Aussies on where we excel ----- at binge-drinking, hooliganism, personal debt and teenage pregnancies, for example, we might stand some chance of winning!

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  373. At 11:14 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Andrew Quinsee wrote:

    It matters not that Trescothick, Vaughan and Jones were missing, they would have had no effect at all on the main difference between the two sides, namely the batting from number 7 to number 11. Our tail started at 7 throughout the series, far too long, and to a man they were hopeless.

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  374. At 11:15 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Henry Langer wrote:

    This shabby and shameful performance undermines and indeed devalues the Honours system for the rest of us, who perceive it as partial recognition for doing something beyond the call of duty. It would be nice to think that those recipients of 'gongs' for winning the Ashes in 2005 will now reflect on their individual efforts in Australia and some at least, find the integrity to return their ill-gotten gains - somehow I doubt this will happen!

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  375. At 11:17 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Judy & Sally P wrote:

    Is Roger Twose still playing cricket? He was really good.

    PS I'm not feeling well

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  376. At 11:17 AM on 05 Jan 2007, M Sheen wrote:

    The worrying thing is that if you had to name a theoretical "Team of the Series", the only Engalnd player in it would be Pietersen.

    Going through the team, Strauss had some awful umpiring decisions but also looked as though the Aussies had worked him out somewhat.

    Cook was dismissed caught at the wicket almost every innings this series which points to a technical flaw outside off stump that he really needs to work on.

    Bell has improved immeasurably from the frightened rabbit he was in 2005. One of the few positives of the series, but he really does need to learn to make the most of his good starts and turn 50s and 70s into big 100s.

    Collingwood, well what do you say? Shane Warne wasn`t a million miles away with his club cricketer jibe. One double hundred on a very flat deck doesn`t convince me the bloke can cut it against the very best. He plays on the walk outside off stump and it has been his downfall on many occasions, and always will be against the moving ball. Not good enough for Test cricket, though his fielding will be missed.

    As for Pietersen, I refer you to my opening paragraph.

    Flintoff`s captaincy was questionable - too quick to go on the defensive when the Aussies looked like getting on top. You also have to question if his ankle will even allow him to bowl, let alone at the level he bowled at in 2005. Big problems for the balance of the side if he just becomes a specialist batsman.

    Geraint Jones has undoubtedly improved his keeping, but his batting has gone 10 steps back at the same time. Doesn`t look like he can score a run!

    Chris Read is obviously the better keeper, but was miles out of his depth with the bat at this level. Take a look around the world and you come to the conclusion that even Zimbabwe's Tatenda Taibu is more likely to contribute runs to his side than Chris Read to England's cause.

    Mahmood bowls too many four balls, and seems to have no interest in developing his obvious talent with the bat. Perhaps someone would care to teach him the basics of fielding which most 6 year old Kwik cricketers are taught as well?

    Hoggard is another plus point - his bowling is now the most dependable in the side.

    Harmison seems to be on the road to recovery from his shocker in Brisbane. Could be one of the greats, if only he manages to motivate himself to put the work in................ Capable of tail end runs too.

    Anderson looks like a Test bowler again. As for the need for tailend runs, Anderson has always struck me as having some ability with the bat. I really do wonder if anyone works with the tailenders on their batting...?

    Panesar, ditto on the batting stakes, he isn`t the out and out rabbit he was made out to be. Not sure about him being a genuine Test No. 8 for the future but occasional 20s and 30s aren`t out of his reach. As for his bowling, he`ll be taking damn good number of Test wickets in his career.

    Assuming Vaughan is fit, he has to come in for Collingwood. A new wicketkeeper batsman is needed, maybe time for James Foster to be given his chance, though personally I`d prefer the young Worcestershire keeper Steven Davies.

    Mr Agnew, your comments are all spot on, I can`t disagree with a single one of them.

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  377. At 11:18 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Prestwick wrote:

    Never a truer word spoken. Possibly the best autopsy on the corpse that is England's tour of Australia 2006/7 that I have read so far.

    The incredible thing is that nobody involved in the running of English Cricket genuinely didn't see this coming, rolling off of the plane looking like movie stars and spending more time posing for photo shoots than actually playing some cricket, practicing and preparing. Australia were running up and down hills with bags of rocks tied to their backs and letting the Aussie SAS give them a good workover and what were England doing? Raking in the money in sponsorship and media revenue and getting in some nice rays on Bondi Beach.

    Astonishing, it just boggles the mind. We really do have to change. If I were the new England team coach, I'd send them to the Paras and let them deal with this sorry lot, give em' some backbone.

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  378. At 11:20 AM on 05 Jan 2007, peter wrote:


    England, do yourselves a favour.

    Get an Aussie coach and don't get in his way.
    Let him make whatever changes he wants and hire whoever he deems necessary to assist.

    I believe Aussie coach John Buchanan tried to do some coaching over in England but found that the "old boys club" were impossible to work with and he left in frustration...

    Don't hire Darren Lehmann - he doesn't have enough experience to be a national coach...

    Oh, you should probably sack Fletcher before doing all this... ;-)

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  379. At 11:21 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Brian Hale wrote:

    As a Scotsman on hols in Oz even I was embarassed by the England performance. These guys seemed to out here on their hols... no real commitment or leadership. It was clear Oz were the better team but there was no fight as underdogs and they gave the impression we will win anyway. for a Scotsman it's great to see England totally humiliated without any real fight which must worry the MCC. The team needs real leadership both on the field and behind the scenes.

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  380. At 11:22 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ed wrote:

    Oh dear! Oh dear!
    What a lot of moaning.
    Who ever actually thought England would be competitive?
    Only journalists who were selling media space and those who believe what the journalists say!
    Before the series started England were equal odds with Australia to win the series, if they were given a 3 and a 1/2 test start!!
    People who put their money down rather than just talk saw a thrashing coming.
    England won in 2005 with several strokes of very good fortune, especially Glen McGrath's injury and Australian overconfidence.
    This time round the England had the misfortune of no Jones,Vaughn, Trescothic etc.
    The gulf between the teams was revealed to its full extent. This has little to do with backbone, courage etc and all to do with ability.
    This Australian team is the only one to match Clive Lloyd's Windies team in the 40 years I have been watching cricket and I think on a variety of wickets the Aussies would win a dream series.
    McGrath and Warne do not have 1200 wickets between them by accident. Australia dont have a man with a test average of over 40 batting at 7 for fun.
    Yes the preparation was poor.
    Yes Panasar should have played from the off.
    It would not have mattered one jot.
    As for all MBE stuff, a bunch of rather quiet chaps (Freddie and Kevin excepted) managed to beat this great Aussie bully of a side in as sporting manner as you could hope to see and people loved them for that, not because they had suddenly become world beaters.

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  381. At 11:23 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Benny wrote:

    Well Done England! So it appears that in all the sports that "originated" from your British "mud island", you are absolutely no good at any of them! Cricket, Golf, Hockey, Rugby, Soccer - what a shower! Well done the colonialists! Even your Premier League Soccer teams are full of foreigners - oh dear, what next?

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  382. At 11:24 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Matt wrote:

    Hear hear Aggers. There are millions of use who spent our childhoods dreaming of playing cricket for England and there were 11 guys out there who barely looked like they cared. Duncan Fletcher has been a great coach but he cannot be allowed his usual get out clause of saying that the preparation was correct etc. Every armchair pundit in the land knows that Steve Harmison has simply not played enough cricket in the run up to this series and as for playing Giles and Jones the mind boggles.

    September 2005 was one of the best days I can remember for English sport (only rivalled by the rugby in 2003 for my money), I really hope this cricket team - which has some extremely talented players in it - is not allowed to sink to similar depths by the morons who are meant to run the game in this country! Change please, and change NOW before it's too late....

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  383. At 11:24 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Darryl Squires wrote:

    Preparation, preparation, preparation... you got it. Practice makes perfect and we didnt practice and therefore we were not prepared.

    Did you see Justin Langer on the first day in Brisbane? He was focused, prepared and mentally ready for a fight!

    Did you see some of our players messing around in the same morning? Ready for a beach ball competition!

    That's where it started to go wrong.

    And then the selections...I am not going to go on about Monty and Read, that's well documented.

    But why is Mahmood in the side if he is not going to bowl. Surely that means we can play another batter and just bowl Fred, Harmy, Hoggard and Monty.

    If he's picked, then bowl him. Otherwise its wasted headcount.

    Aggers talks about pandering. Well Nasser Husssain saw the same TV footage as me. Players arriving at the SCG. Warne, the BEST bowler of all time, carrying his own bags. Our lot pampered, bags carried and no doubt baths run for them...

    Winning is not just about talent, its also about desire, hunger and attitude!

    Lets hope they now realise this is why 'Dad's Army' are still no 1

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  384. At 11:24 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Dave wrote:

    Just been to the ECB site. I find, that NOT ONE question to the ECB has been posted by fans in January 2007. Can this be true? Are we all happy with our team. Are we all totally content with a 5-0 whitewash?
    Or more likely, the IT officer at the ECB has his finger on the delete button!

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  385. At 11:24 AM on 05 Jan 2007, G B Smith wrote:

    A team and coaches that together played out of their skins in 2005 and won the ashes with all that meant to them and to a nation that were very happy - from Tony Blair down - to share in the euphoria of their celebrations would inevitably have developed enormous team spirit and cameraderie. You saw that in spades with the Australians last night.
    The emotional desire for those who were involved to keep that team together and re-create 2005 must have been very strong. It required very strong leadership from the coach and selectors to look at what had happened since 2005 and take account of that in their selections, even if it meant breaking up that team.They were not able to do that. So we had Trescothick selected despite the serious intervening problems he had faced, Giles who hadn't played for a year, Jones back, ignoring all that had happened last summer. Heads were ruled by hearts ( for understandable sentimental reasons) and difficult but logical, cold decisions ducked.
    Is there not a very interesting parallel with Clive Woodward and the England rugby team. They scaled Everest together by winning the World Cup and such was the sentimental attachment he had to that team that when he was put in charge of the British Lions to go to NZ the bulk of the players he chose were from that World Cup winning team. Like Fletcher and Graveney and the rest his heart took him back to the former glories and team spirit of the World Cup and he could not take the hard decisions to reflect in his squad selection what had happened in rugby in the interim. And, as I recall the result for a Lions team in NZ also built on the sentiment of the past was rather similar to the results in Australia of a cricket team based on the same insubstantial foundation.
    For that team and coach 2005 was the summit. A new team. albeit with a core from the 2005 team needs to be rebuilt with its own team spirit and goals.(Even when Monty and Read were introduced to the team was there not a real sense that they and others like Mahmood were being treated as intruders by the rest of the 2005 team?) A coach and selectors who failed to recognise that by taking cold, logical decisions despite the understandable sentimentality of hanging on to the past, failed English cricket, its supporters and the 2006 team.
    We need to move on. And it has to start with them moving on. They succeeded wonderfully in 2005. That success and its implications for squad and team selection in 2006 lead to the failure we have just witnessed - just as it did for the Lions and Woodward.

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  386. At 11:25 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Embrassement!!! wrote:

    I think the England team needs to wear ladies skirts. It would suit them!!!! Hopeless.

    The Australians deserve it!!!!

    Good luck Cowards!!!!.

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  387. At 11:25 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Mrs Entwhistle wrote:

    My husband was so upset by their spineless display that he spilled his hot tea and burned his leg through his pyjamas.

    I think if you look at the county averages we were foolish to go in without R.Key, H.Drury and N.Knight

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  388. At 11:25 AM on 05 Jan 2007, TonyB wrote:

    Well said. I also think that they should be forced to take the boat home, it would give them time to consider how they have embarrassed the nation, and lots of time to bond and practice!

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  389. At 11:26 AM on 05 Jan 2007, oman felahi wrote:

    Too many excuses makes the game complicated and that's what England did. Australia played simple great cricket, which was to make runs and comfortably did.

    Alarm bells rang when England drew the test series with Sri Lanka and whitewashed by them in the one-day series. They were not focused nor prepared.

    Mr Flintoff's comments such as "alot to play for, pride, etc etc" really showed there was no conviction in the team. England just narrowly managed to win the ashes in England, not convincingly though.

    Excuses are easy to create, accept defeat courageously and valiantly. But don't make excuses!!!

    5-0 that's a score which will haunt all England cricketers in their sleep, on field, and in the practice nets.....and the mention of Australia.

    It was great to see the cricket won by a great side Australia.

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  390. At 11:26 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Stephen Trowell wrote:

    I remember in the coverage of England's 2005 Ashes win, a clearly delighted and rather drunken Englishman telling the Australian camera "We gave your boys a hell of a beating, a hell of a beating." In the circumstances, his hubris was understandable but unfortunately the England cricketers and management seem to have believed him. Yes England won fair but by the slimmest of margins. Two runs was the difference by my account.

    The team that lost in 2005 and won just now is probably the most talented Australia has ever fielded, which made the loss even more searing for them. I believe that Ponting and his team would sooner have died than go down in history as the ones who lost the Ashes twice in a row. Therefore my assessment beforehand was that retaining the Ashes away from home without a confident and intelligent captain, their best batsmen and best bowlers would be an impossible challenge. I don't know whether England was in denial or just delusional.

    As a pom who has lived in Australia for half his life, all I could really hope for was that the England team made Australia work for it, which did not happen for many of the reasons catalogued in other posts.

    My biggest worry for English cricket now is the 2009 comment. Beware, Ricky will still be Australian Captain and the replacements for "Dad's Army" are from the same mould.

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  391. At 11:27 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Andy Cole wrote:

    I agree with Aggers but only up to a point. There were some quite dreadful umpiring decisions against England at Crucial times - these need to be investigated by the authorities with some urgency, as I think there was a suggestion of bias (possibly linked to the "Hair" fiasco last year)?
    I also believe that the single most important factor between the sides was the intensity. The Aussies were really fired up at each session - our team seemed to be happy at sauntering along by just strolling onto the park at the beginning of each innings in the field - where's the passion for the game gone?
    Has Fletch lost the ability to instill discipline and passion within this team - if so it's time for him to step aside and bring on someone like Winker in from Lancs - look what he's done for that side in the past couple of years?
    Not sure about the WAG situation though - if the players have got young kids then there will be increased pressure from home to "Help". This needs to be investigated by the ECB and perhaps a solution similar to the NASA astonauts brought in whereby a "Creche" for all the Mums at home is created.

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  392. At 11:28 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Richard Addison wrote:

    I could turn this into a rant about the gutless batting and guileless bowling of young men with too much money and too many MBEs, unimpressive captains and uninspired coaches, daft selection panels making daft selection decisions, money-grubbing CA officials whose greed in seeking to wring every last cent out of possibly the most loyal (certainly the most optimistic) fans of any sport in the world has only been matched by that of local hoteliers and airlines, and spineless ECB officials prepared to forgo any prospect of England hitting the deck running or having a chance to find form by allowing the most important tour in a generation to be shoe-horned between two joke one day tournaments that can only be of interest to the ICC's and CA's bank managers.

    And having had the pleasure of spending a large amount of money watching some truly inept displays over the last 25 years, I didn't think England would better the 191-2, 244ao in the fifth test in Perth in '91, or the classic fourth test v a very ordinary NZ at the Oval in '99 (143-3, 162ao). But that was before Melbourne. And Sydney. Can anyone recall playing in or watching any game of cricket where batsmen 5,7,8,9,10,11 managed to accumulate just 6 runs off the bat for the loss of 5 wickets in two hours play?

    But I shall desist and offer more cerebral criticism. The old adage that the game is about partnerships has never been better exemplified. Australia have consistently had pairs of players step up to the plate, whereas with the exceptions of Collingwood & Pietersen in Brisbane and Adelaide, and Panesar and Harmison, and Cook & Bell in Perth, England have effectively been performing as a one man band. And frustratingly, unlike four years ago when it really was just one man, the man has generally been different each session. The fact that England have failed to win any session when a game has been in the balance, despite having players who - with just a couple of exceptions - have shown they are able to take wickets or score runs, bothers me. And it should bother the powers that be. I can't put my finger on it but there has been something wrong with morale, with the team ethic. Small things, but nevertheless pointers: why did the players not have Christmas lunch together, or
    spend New Year as a team? The captain & coach must front the blame and will doubtless be sacrificed to appease the red-tops, but unless their successors are able to fix whatever the issue is, we are going to have a problem - at least away, on tough tours - for some time to come.

    But of course you have to give credit to the Aussies who plotted and executed to a tee. Yes, they have Warne, McGrath & Gilchrist. But their performances have been sporadic, as has that of Ponting after the first two tests. It is interesting how some pretty average players (Symonds, Clark) or those out of form (Hayden, Clark) have stepped up to the plate at just the time they have needed to. To compare and contrast with that of John Buchanan, I look forward to reading how Duncan Fletcher and Team England constructed an 18 month plan two weeks after the end of the last Ashes series with the sole aim of returning with the urn...

    Home series will of course be different (except the Lords test), and even at this stage I'd put England a 60% chance of regaining the Ashes in '09. The Australian test side is s going to look thin in a years time, and much as the local media might want to puff the 'genius' of the next generation the fact is that not only are the likes of Cullen, Tait, Jacques, Hodges & Haddin not in the same league as Warne, McGrath, Langer, Hayden & Gilchrist, they are not at the same level as Panesar, Harmison, Vaughan, Cook & Foster.

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  393. At 11:29 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Harry wrote:

    I just want to thank you Aggers for the magnificent job you've done broadcasting such a pitiful series. You, Geoffrey and the team have always kept us informed, amused (the MBE cat line was a joy), and verbalized articulately where it has all gone so woefully wrong.
    I must say the sound bites at the end from Fletcher and Flintoff sounded very weak and charmless. A humbled apology wouldn't have gone amiss. Anyway at least TMS have come out on top! Well done.

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  394. At 11:29 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Ian D wrote:

    I have some good news on the future for the English cricket supporters. The participation numbers of Aussie kids playing cricket are falling, we may be in more of a long term decline than just losing Warnie and McGrath now.

    However, the bad news is the numbers of kids taking up football (soccer) are increasing. It now has the biggest participation numbers of any sport in any age group. This has been the trend over the last 5 years or so. I'm predicting we will end up kicking your butt in that sport as well. Hold on .......I seem to recall the last time we played you at Upton Park we did indeed kick your butt 3-1 . Can we please have a regular series against you in football too, that may at least be a more competitive outing for us and with all our team in Europe or the UK we could play it every year.

    So I 'm guessing that on balance things would be even worse for the English ego if your football team got beat by us 5-0..........be afraid because it's very much on the cards in the future.

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  395. At 11:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Paul E Bowler wrote:

    As a Pom of some 40 years' residence in Australia - and naturalised to boot - let me thank Jonathan Agnew -"Aggers" - for his commentaries of all 5 Tests on ABC Radio here in Australia. His professionalism, as a journalist and cricketer, showed through on every occasion. His "jousting" with Kerry O'Keefe brought tears to the eyes, and is itself worthy of an award ( an MBE?). His final stint, just before the inevitable, with Michael Parkinson, was wondrous to the ears and mind - a big thankyou to all those who made it possible. Today was a wonderful day in the annals of Test Cricket, made the better by Aggers' commentary!

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  396. At 11:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Johno wrote:

    I'm sorry was that the English football side that played the series or the cricket side?Surely can't be the same side that won in 2005?England-win it then rest on your laurels;need to remember that it's like life-it never stops.Well done to the Aussies and we have been priveliged to see a side that we won't see the likes of again for some time now

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  397. At 11:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, James Woodward wrote:

    One of the most memorable things ever said to me in preperation for a cricket match was "cricket is 90% metal & 10% physical". The team England selected was physically good enough, mentally it was poor. The body language of players fielding & batting said more than any reporter could write. In contrast to the last Ashes series batters shot selection was poor and so was concentration, bowlers were poorly prepared and inconsistant.
    I believe Vaughn is the best choice of Captain and was missed greatly. Freddie should be allowed to do what he does best, play cricket. Trescothic and Jones were also key players missing.
    I also think Duncan Fletcher, Vaughn and all the processes they have built should not be changed.
    As you said at the top of your article, as long as positive lessons are learnt they the team should start re-building. The player are good enough, they have proved it, it's time for some belief & support to come from the public & press that the people who won the Ashes know how to do it, they just have to be shown we believe in them.

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  398. At 11:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, peter wrote:

    Re: Post#34 At 05:54 AM on 05 Jan 2007, SwamyCricketAnanda wrote:

    "If attention had been paid to Fletcher's dubious selections and proclivity to running away from blame.. etc. etc.;"

    Glad someone else mentioned Fletcher's appalling blame shuffling. He was so happy to take credit when things went well. Now that it's all gone to hell, he should be accepting the blame.
    If Fletch had any decency, he'd offer his own head.
    But I'm pretty sure he doesn't have any.

    I've never seen a coach stab his players in the back to save his own arse the way that Fletcher did on this tour.


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  399. At 11:30 AM on 05 Jan 2007, John Donovan wrote:

    Totally agree with you, Aggers. The whole tour has been an absolute shambles. Australia have been focused and hungry from the first ball in Brisbane and yes they are a brilliant team, but they are not invincible, and can be unsettled by determined and positive cricket, as the Ashes 2005 series showed. To lose this series in such a feeble manner and the failure to push Australia all the way is humiliating and utterly demoralising.
    Good preparation, strong leadership, team spirit and fitness have been the key areas of success in recent years. These have been sadly absent during this tour- hence the thrashing.

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  400. At 11:31 AM on 05 Jan 2007, Nick Comer wrote:

    I blame the WAGS (wives and girlfriends), well not them personally but the England Management for allowing them to be out there. Basically, the life of a Test cricketer is about travelling to foreign countries and bonding as a team. Whatever they face while on foreign turf, they face together and overcome problems and torubles together. It seems to me that after each day of each test, the players went back to their families and never truly got a team spirit together as they were always with their own families. It showed in their play as they all played like individuals, and not as a team. It was the same in the World Cup and is the same now. When will the management team learn that their families are a distraction from the task in hand and whilst the players may welcome this, it is not necessarily in the best interests of task in hand and the england team in actually trying to win something. Nick Comer

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