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April 18, 2007
Bob Willis, the former England fast bowler, demanded Michael Vaughan be axed as captain following the team's World Cup exit. Willis, now a TV pundit, said coach Duncan Fletcher and chairman of selectors David Graveney should also be removed from their positions after South Africa's nine-wicket win condemned England to elimination.
"They haven't given it the priority it deserves. Latterly Duncan Fletcher has called for England to play more one-day internationals and eventually the ECB has ceded to that request. They are playing more and more," Willis told Sky Sports. "Graveney, Fletcher and Vaughan - they've all got to go.
"We have got to start planning now for the next World Cup, which is on the sub-continent. They should get out the birth certificates and anyone who is 32 or over now - they're out of it. We have got to go back to preparing a side specifically for that tournament in four years time and get young players into the side. That preparation should start with the one-day internationals against the West Indies this summer."
Willis also hit out at the make-up of the county game in England as well as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) who he accused of being obsessed with Test match cricket and forcing the one-day game down its list of priorities.
Ian Botham added his voice to the furore insisting that Fletcher's time as England coach must come to end and that the ECB act quickly. The World Cup is over and England have been humiliated and it is just not good enough," he said. "We have to change things and move on. We are disappointed but not surprised although surprised at how easy it was. I thought we would always battle and that we would have to play extremely well but to be quite frank we have watched this over the last couple of years in one-day cricket and it is not getting any better, it is getting worse.
We are miles away from it. We need to stop right now, change our whole attitude, change our major personnel; everything has got to be changed. You cannot keep going like this."
Botham praised for Fletcher for his contribution to English cricket in his time as coach but said all good things come to an end. "I think Duncan Fletcher has done some great things for England over the years, let's not forget that, but I am sorry, everyone has a shelf life and his has expired," said the former all-rounder. I don't see how he can possibly motivate players. The camp looks split; they are all over the place and in disarray. The time has come."
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