Ashes whitewash: a serving of humble pie for English pundits
Then and now: how former England players have changed their tune after Australia mauling
ENGLAND'S Ashes humiliation is complete after Australia secured a devastating 5-0 whitewash in Sydney over the weekend, bowling out the tourists for 155 and 166 to win by 281 runs. In the wake of England's sorry collapse, the pundits are lining up to explain how it all went wrong for Alistair Cook's men. However, none of them saw the capitulation coming and their comments now are in stark contrast with what they were saying a few months ago. Ian BothamDaily Mirror, July: "I haven't seen anything to remotely make me feel as though I need to change my initial prediction of a double 5-0. There is simply no department in which I think Australia have got an edge over England... Unless [Darren] Lehmann is also Professor Albus Dumbledore in his spare time he cannot wave a magic wand and turn this Australian team into world beaters."Daily Mirror, January: "It has been a weak and feeble effort from a group of players who should understand what the bare minimum requirements are for a Test cricketer... Some serious questions need to be asked about this set-up and this team."
Michael Vaughan Daily Telegraph, August: "This England team can... set their sights on the world No 1 spot held by South Africa. They are beating a team ranked No 4 in the world... But this England side have everything in their armoury to be the team of an era. No other England team have managed that."Daily Telegraph, January: "England require a different approach going forward in terms of leadership and management of the group. If Andy Flower stays that is fine, and Alastair Cook deserves the chance to rebuild a team completely demoralised by Australia."
Mike AtheronThe Times, July: There is the "biggest differential between the teams since the glory days of Australian cricket... Sometimes it pays not to look beyond the obvious".The Times, January: England "had no answer to an Australian juggernaut that began rolling towards the back end of the first day in Brisbane and did not stop until it had flattened everything and everyone in its path". Geoffrey Boycott:Daily Telegraph, July: "Now that England have got their heads in front in I will be very disappointed and surprised if they do not go forward and play even better... The Australians can talk a good game but quite honestly I do not see enough quality."Daily Telegraph, January: "The players have been mentally dissected and broken. There was no fight or spirit left in them and they were totally humiliated by an Australian team that is good, but not great... we should be ashamed and embarrassed to lose so abjectly to this lot." David LloydDaily Mail, July: "I've been saying 5-0 all along and then 10-0 when we get out there! I'm just being Glenn McGrath because I loved him. When he was asked, he never gave the other team one and I love the attitude that you are there to win every game. So this time round I'm saying England will win all five." Daily Mail, January: "I keep on reading that the England team were truly awful in the 90s. Well, I give you this. Which bowling attack would you prefer? Anderson, Broad, Rankin, Stokes and Borthwick? Or Gough, Caddick, Headley, Cork and Tufnell? And which top six would you prefer? Cook, Carberry, Bell, Pietersen, Ballance and Stokes? Or Atherton, Butcher, Hussain, Thorpe, Hick and Stewart?"
Glenn McGrathThere was one man who saw the whitewash coming, perennially optimistic Australian fast bowling legend Glenn McGrath. In November, he told the Daily Mail: "I couldn't have more faith in the boys. I think we'll bounce back and win all the Tests. They'll be close, but I'm tipping a 5-0 whitewash."