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That's disgraceful

No ignominy is too demeaning for England. To prove it, we've picked 17 of the finest shameful moments from their history. (Featuring rather a lot of players named Ian. Hmm.)

Alex Bowden

Comments: 15 | Text size: A | A

England's newfound competence in the shorter formats is a tragic waste of a valuable skill that has been developed by scores of England fans: unshakeable resilience when confronted with yet more shame. England have endured plenty of embarrassment over the years and we supporters are numb to all but the most extreme cases.

Ian Botham poses for the camera, 1977
Sir Ian models his 1930s silent-film actress hairstyle © Getty Images

The 2007 Twenty20 specialists
England brought Twenty20 to the world and then they brought them James Kirtley, Darren Maddy, Chris Schofield and Jeremy Snape.

Ian Botham's hair
Any era. Head or facial. Rarely has one man brought so much hirsute shame on the nation. At least he could play a bit.

Ian Botham's armpits
Brown? What was he eating? Why was sweat such a rich mahogany colour in the 80s?

Ashley Giles and Richard Dawson wheeling away in tandem in India
It's probably unfair to pick on these two. For many years England picked their least-bad spin bowler and then, when they went to India, they were forced to pick their second least-bad spin bowler as well.

Ian Salisbury against Pakistan
Two matches in 1992 brought five wickets at 61.20. Three matches in 2000 brought 1 for 193. England actually won the 2000 series, with Ashley Giles taking seven wickets in the deciding Test.

Stuart Broad's looks
Fast bowlers should be hairy and grizzled. They shouldn't look like someone's stretched one of the male leads from 90210.

Peter Such
Somehow he looked like both a granddad and an eight-year-old. He turned the ball less than either.

"The Tail"
Caddick, Mullally, Tufnell and Giddins. Tufnell at 10. Mullally at nine. Six down = all out.

Alex Loudon's doosra
Saying that you have a doosra does not an international cricket career make.

The selection of Darren Pattinson
Not Pattinson himself, but the fact that clearly we'll take anyone.

Ian Bell's swagger
As convincing as Anthony LaPaglia's Mancunian accent in Frasier: "Cor blimey gav'nor."

Alastair Cook's captaincy interviews
Oh dear God, we really are a nation of polite individuals who are happy to automatically bestow power on the nearest posh person.

Jon Lewis' hair
Lewis never played in the same England side as Ryan Sidebottom, so the world was denied a bowling attack that appeared to feature two of the three musketeers.

Ajit Agarkar's Test hundred
A hundred and thirteen ODI innings and three fifties to show for them; 39 Test innings and no fifties. But one hundred. At Lord's.

Anil Kumble's Test hundred
A hundred and thirty-six ODI innings and no fifties; 173 Test innings and five fifties. And one hundred. At the Oval.

Simon Jones' vest
We believe in sleeves in this country. Don't come back out onto the balcony until you've found some.

Nasser saying: "We'll have a bowl"
Did the wheels ever go on? If they did, they didn't manage a full rotation before careering off and killing thousands of innocent bystanders. England lost the first Test of the 2002-03 Ashes by 384 runs and the next two by an innings.

RSS FeedAlex Bowden blogs at King Cricket

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Posted by Rob on (June 29, 2010, 5:45 GMT)

Yesterday again was the ultimate thrill when our favourite bowler opened the bowling in a t20 v Somerset. marcus Trescothick got impatient and thought he'd whack him out of the ground. Stupid. Shouldn't have done it. Shame, shame. But the commentators agreed with me. 'It was a bit of an arm ball' Mates, he can't bowl anything else.

Posted by Arthur on (June 29, 2010, 0:47 GMT)

@edward_smythe - you are gold sir.

For me - I cannot go past my favourite invented word of 2007 - FREDALO.

Note how it rolls off one's tongue so effortlessly, much like the NZ win over England in the Group Stages.

And the aftermath with Michael Vaughan - "I never said FREDALO. Never. Not once. Uh uh. No sir. Nope. Did not. Would not....what recording?"

Posted by Rob on (June 28, 2010, 6:51 GMT)

I missed R.D.B. Croft. My son and me always had a lot of fun when R.D.B. bowled. He fooled the batsman by bowling straighter than all other bowler. We couldn't imagine the effort he had to put into his bowling not to get any turn whatsoever. A second feature of his bowling - of which we believed he was the inventor - is the stop-in-mid-delivery-to-fool-the-batsman delivery. It should make the greatest british inventions hall of fame, as far as we're concerned. We feel that he deserves a place in this article. If not in the article itself, then in the comments.

Posted by Dummy4 on (June 28, 2010, 4:42 GMT)

Personally the most shameful incident for England would be 2nd test of the blackwash series ( where England had the balls to declare and getting beaten up blue and black.

Posted by santhosh on (June 28, 2010, 1:13 GMT)

and how about england's ashes squad of 1993? as many as 13 made their debut (including thorpe, such and caddick), and england used 28 players in the series!!!!!

Posted by santhosh on (June 28, 2010, 1:11 GMT)

caddick wasn't bad, was he? unfair to speak of him in the same breath as mullally and tufnell.

Posted by Paul on (June 27, 2010, 20:38 GMT)

Oh glod, I remember "The Tail". You should have mentioned we had Gough at 7, too...

It was weird then to go into the 2000s and suddenly there was Craig White and the return of Dominic Cork, and Gough and Caddick got pushed to 10 and 11. Made a huge difference.

Posted by Clive on (June 27, 2010, 19:26 GMT)

Some good, or should I say, awful items on this list. To Ian Botham's hair and Jon Lewis's hair, I'd add Chris Lewis' lack of hair, after he shaved it off in the Caribbean and then promptly got sunstroke.

I'd also add the omission of David Gower for the 1992-1993 India tour (adding insult to injury, his replacement Dermot Reeve didn't play a game), the omission for the same tour of Jack Russell (for Richard Blakely, who was never heard of again after this tour), and the decision to bowl an all-seam attack in the third test. The 3-0 drubbing England received was richly deserved, and I transferred my allegiance to Sri Lanka for the rest of Graham Gooch's reign.

And finally, the biggest shame of English cricket, Mike Gatting, for reasons to numerous to mention.

Posted by George on (June 27, 2010, 19:09 GMT)

The scary thing about "The Tail" is that if Devon Malcolm had been in the team as well he'd have been batting at 6! Has it ever been possible to assemble a more inept last 4?

Posted by Dummy4 on (June 27, 2010, 18:52 GMT)

Poor old Peter Such. Six wickets on debut against Australia and derided ever since! Paul Rone Clarke - Dead right about that that stat never been talked about, but in fairness Australia only received three lbws all series themselves, Mssrs Luckhurst, Illingworth and Hampshire being the unlucky ones

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