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Last Updated: Friday, 5 January 2007, 07:48 GMT
England were not ready - Gatting
Andrew Flintoff and his team were disconsolate
He has worked his socks off and really given everything he can but it just hasn't worked

Gatting on Andrew Flintoff
Former captain Mike Gatting said England could have no complaints after suffering a 5-0 whitewash in Australia.

"They have been thoroughly outplayed by a better side," said Gatting, the last skipper to win in Australia in 1986-87.

"At the start we all had hopes - even I thought we could do it - but you have to start well against these guys."

Gatting again blamed the lack of warm-up games, adding: "That's the only thing I can put my finger on. They're good players, but they weren't ready."

Geoff Boycott, meanwhile, said England had "bottled it" at key moments, resulting in them being "murdered" by Ricky Ponting's side.

"Whenever the questions were asked of England, they have faltered and have not been mentally strong enough or technically good enough to hold the Australians at bay," he told BBC Five Live.

Nasser Hussain, who captained England to a 4-1 defeat in Australia four years ago, claimed life on tour for the current squad had been too comfortable.

606 DEBATE: Do you agree with the former England captains?

"You see England with big buses, security guards, 45 backroom staff, all pampered. Warney [Shane Warne] is carrying his bag on his back with his shirt hanging out - they do it themselves," he said.

Former all-rounder Ian Botham agreed, saying: "[With] the central contracts, we've gone a little bit too much towards what the players want, rather than what we know is good for the players.

"I don't think some of the bowlers bowled enough, that's why we were under-cooked and under-prepared. We need to get that right and maybe it just a bit too easy for them at the moment."

Newspapers have condemned England's performance in the series.

"Abject England roll over in whitewash" was the Guardian's headline, while Times correspondent Christopher Martin-Jenkins wrote of the "almost religious zeal" shown by Australia in pursuit of the whitewash.

The Sun said England's noses had been "rubbed into the dirt one final time" and Simon Hughes in the Telegraph said they had "slowly but surely been bled to death" by the home side.

"I doubt if there has ever been a group of cricketers so determined to give their opponents absolutely nothing," he wrote. The Daily Mail, meanwhile, said "the ease of the final kill" emphasised Australia's "total domination".

Despite the nature of England's defeat in the Ashes, however, New Zealand coach John Bracewell expects them to be a competitive in the triangular one-day series which starts next week.

"They're a side we hope have taken a dreadful towelling and will be blown apart in terms of morale by the time we arrive.

"But I doubt it somehow because they have some quality batting within their side and if [Andrew] Flintoff stands up, they're a dangerous team.

"They will want to get something out of this [tour] and the next focus will be the World Cup, so they have got a lot of play for," Bracewell commented.

Aussies complete Ashes whitewash
05 Jan 07 |  England
Flintoff hopeful for 2009 series
05 Jan 07 |  England


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