December 9, 2013

England in crisis: experts offer their solutions

We canvassed the thoughts and suggestions of some of cricket's finest minds about England's Ashes nightmare

England finally voted against an infant sacrifice to Beelzebub to improve their chances on day five © PA Photos

Bob Willis: "Well, Charles, I suggest boiling them in oil, and if that doesn't work, chopping all their heads off and then boiling them in oil again just to make sure."

Rob Key: "That sounds delicious, maybe with a bit of chilli sauce on the side."

Sir Ian Botham: "I just don't understand what's going on out there. If they'd had five slips and three gullies in all the time, as I said they should, then none of this would have happened."

Henry Blofeld: "I say my dear old thing, haven't South Africa played brilliantly, I mean Tanganyika, no Ceylon, no, ah yes, Australia. Hats off to Clarke Mitchell for his marvellous bowling, and oh look, there's a splendid jolly old red bus."

Mitchell Johnson: "I was sad before but now I am happy and now the wickets come in the Brisbane game I took four wickets and then five wickets which makes… some wickets. I believe it was the power of my moustache that helped me to take the some wickets and the other some wickets at Adelaide too. Soon comes Perth where the moustache says I will also take some wickets."

Geoffrey Boycott: "Roooobish…. rhubarb… my mum… etc"

Steve Harmison: "I just feel sorry for them lads thousands of miles away from home and with Christmas coming up. People don't realise how hard it can be to get a good mince pie in Foreign, thinking of wor bairns back home all eating a turkey and that, and it's no wonder the lads' minds are elsewhere."

Shane Watson: "Aw, look. **** ****ing Pommie **** ****ing ****. Mate."

David Gower: "It puts me in mind of a tour here in the 1980s when Gooch wanted us to get up at 3am and go on an assault course, but I of course had got myself on a catamaran with Prince Andrew and Kiki Dee, and to cut a long story short, Gooch was livid, but you have to understand that not all players are the same. It's up to these players to find their own individual ways of relaxing and getting on board luxury vessels when they should have been doing boring old keep-fit."

Andrew Flintoff: "Never mind about the cricket, what about my new reality TV show were I fight a bear on a unicycle?"

Alastair Cook: "Help me!"

Everyone: "It is definitely high time for another root-and-branch review of the England cricket set-up."

All quotes and "facts" here are made up (but you knew that already, didn't you?)
Read an extract from Alan's new book Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects, here