Botham slams England for 'woeful' performance

Published: Tuesday, July 10, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Recently knighted former allrounder Ian Botham termed England's performance in the ODIs so ''bloody woeful'' that he even backed the Eskimos to beat them.

Botham's scathing attack comes in the wake of England losing the Natwest ODI series 2-1 at home against a weak West Indies team.

With India and England locking horns seven times in the ODIs, Botham, who was one of the finest all-rounders of the game, says ''Some of our pace bowling will need to be more aggressive and consistent against India's formidable top order.''

He, however, praised England's progress in the Tests since the Ashes horror show, but said in his column at Mirror that ''sterner tests of their revival under new coach Peter Moores lie ahead against India, starting at Lord's on Thursday next week - and as for the one-day team... we are still bloody woeful.'' ''Although there were some cheap runs and wickets on offer at times against the West Indies, I have no problem with England's 3-0 win in the Test series and Moores scores high marks there,''he added.

Botham had some nasty things to say about the team's show in the shorter version. ''England's one-day cricket is another kettle of fish, however. I didn't think it was possible for them to play any worse than they did at the World Cup, but somehow they managed to by losing the NatWest Series against the Windies.

''Let's not mince words: We are going backwards and sliding down towards the bottom of the pile.

''Right now, England's level of performance in limited overs cricket is so bad the Eskimos would beat us,'' he said sarcastically.

He went on to add that the team hasn't learnt any lessons since the last 18 months of Duncan Fletcher's reign as coach, saying the whole approach is embarrassing.

''One-day cricket is supposed to be fun, so why does watching England play it make me cringe? ''The batting just meanders along in the hope we keep enough wickets in hand to have an almighty swish in the last 10 overs, but that tactic went out with the dinosaurs.

''It's not nuclear physics - if KP bats for 40 of the 50 overs, England get a big total and they are in a strong position.

Fearing India may dominate the series, he appealed to the players to play tough cricket, saying ''Get your thinking caps on, boys, because there's a seven-match one-day series against India coming up ... and we wouldn't want to lose 7-0 at home, would we?''


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