Essex's head coach Paul Grayson has issued a public apology over what he described as the county's "shambolic" display in losing to Northamptonshire by an innings in Division Two of the Championship at Northampton last week.
Grayson's admission that Essex's performance was "totally unacceptable" has brought further problems for the county in a week when the spot-fixing shame surrounding the county again returned to prominence.
Danish Kaneria's appeal against his life ban for spot fixing while playing for Essex is being heard by the ECB in London this week - and a former Essex bowler, Mervyn Westfield, who was jailed after being found guilty of involvement, has only agreed to give evidence to the hearing after he was ordered to do so by the High Court.
Grayson, whose six-year tenure has now reached a critical stage, said: "As head coach, I feel that I wish to publicly express my apologies to all members and supporters for the shambolic performance produced by the Essex players that resulted in an innings defeat at Northamptonshire last week.
"At one stage on day two with only two first-innings wickets intact, our opponents were still trailing by 12 runs but by the time the final two wickets had been claimed, they had forged a lead of 216 runs. We then generally batted poorly to add to the obvious shortcomings in the bowling department, all resulting in a defeat by a highly embarrassing margin.
"I feel that it is right that our members and supporters should be aware that the players have been told in no uncertain terms that their performance, as a team, was totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
"I can assure you that changes will be made for the next match that starts on Monday week against Hampshire at Chelmsford.
"I feel that it is important to stress to our members and supporters that I, and the coaching staff, will continue to do everything in our powers to bring success to this club but the players have, of course, a major part to play if that desire we hold is to be realised.
"The coaching staff have every confidence in the potential of the squad and we will continue to all work together to get our season back on track."