English press spews venom
by Cricketarchive Staff Reporter

Player:A Flintoff, MP Vaughan

DateLine: 20th December 2006


Appalling Shameful Horrific England Shambles" - that was how Britain's biggest-selling Sunday paper spelt out its view of the performance which has put England all but out of the Ashes series.


Skipper Andrew Flintoff is likely to be the first casualty of the slump, the News of the World added, predicting that Michael Vaughan, under whose leadership England regained the urn last year, would return for next month's one-day series.


"I can't tell you how sombre a place our dressing room is at the moment," wrote batsman Kevin Pietersen in his column for the same paper. "It still hurts to be going down to the Aussies like this. I'm feeling pretty low right now ... we are not giving the Aussies a fight at the moment."


As well as feeling downhearted about their performance, players had also been hit by the news that spinner Ashley Giles was flying home to be with his wife, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour.


"It was a horrible moment when he told me. I felt ill," Pietersen wrote.


Many papers point the finger of blame for England's display at coach Duncan Fletcher. The Sunday Times headlined its double page spread: "High Price For Fletcher Folly". The Zimbabwean has faced criticism for selections including leaving spinner Monty Panesar, a star performer at the WACA, out of the first two Tests in favour of Giles. This decision was included in a list of "ten ways in which England got it wrong" compiled by the paper.


Fletcher also faced flak from the Sunday Express, which noted "this England is very much the coach's team, moulded and prepared the way he sees fit". He is now "in dire straits" and at the "mercy of critics", the paper added.


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