Illingworth - 'Bloody awful' England (16 December 1998)

16 December 1998

Illingworth - 'Bloody awful' England

By Nelson Clare

RAY Illingworth yesterday delivered a stinging criticism of England's performance in the Adelaide Test. The former chairman of selectors, who led England to Ashes success as captain in 1970, said: "It was bloody awful. I can't say any more than that. I'm glad I'm out of it.

"I think we got it wrong with the side we put out by playing four bowlers in 40-50 degree heat. But you can pull apart every department in the team."

Illingworth also suggested that too much was being spent on the team for too little reward. "For me, what has to be looked at is the money spent on the team. We have more coaches, managers, physios and even more hangers-on than ever but the results are just as bad.

"What depresses me most is not the fact that England lose in Australia, but that they're laying down and dying. We're getting blown away."

Illingworth is encouraged that the first-class counties have at last grasped the nettle of two divisions in the championship for 2000.

He fears, though, that the innovation is being set up 24 years too late after proposing two divisions in 1976 and said: "You can never tell if two divisions will improve things. It depends on the environment and the players' willingness to learn."

Meanwhile, Tim Lamb, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, stressed that cricket's hierarchy had been putting forward radical proposals to improve the state of the Test side.

Lamb also warned against descending into a mood of doom and gloom and stressed that at junior level - most notably with the under-19s, who are world champions - great strides were being made.

Source :: Electronic Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

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