“If you look closely, Charles, Ishant Sharma [is] a great student of the game, and that black-and-white archive back in India, and he’s quaking in his boots just at the sight of this action. And the very next ball, what happens? Cook mops him up!”
Responding after Alastair Cook’s only Test wicket, when he had Ishant Sharma caught behind while mimicking Willis’ distinctive action.
“England are careering headlong into those dark, dismal days of Hussain being booed at the Oval and Duncan Fletcher being appointed to come in and rescue the team. It’s just getting worse and worse. We thought perhaps that Auckland, 58 all out, might have been a blip but it’s not looking that way now. I think complete structural change is needed in the English game to try and produce better cricketers.”
Following defeat to Pakistan at Lord’s in 2018, Willis sums up his feelings towards the current crop of England internationals.
“Certainly not. I don’t go with all this ‘resting players’. You know, Stokes and Buttler were in the IPL, weren’t they, filling their wallets in April and May – why are they ‘resting’ during a Test match?”
Willis rebuts the suggestion that England’s struggles in their Test against Ireland this summer could be put down to a World Cup hangover.
“That was abject, Charles, absolutely pathetic. Apart from Joe Root and Ben Stokes, these guys cannot bat, it’s as simple as that. The Ashes have now gone, it’s going to be all over inside three Test matches, and if the penny hasn’t now dropped with England’s cricket administrators about the programme of four-day cricket… if they want the primacy of Test-match cricket, if they want to keep the best form of the game alive, they’re going to have to do something about it and pretty damn quick, because this was totally unacceptable.”
No holds barred after England are bowled out for 67 in the third Ashes Test at Headingley this summer… they wrapped up a one-wicket win two days later.
“There should be three sets of stocks in the town square in Leeds: one for Andy Flower, one for Alastair Cook, and one for Jonathan Trott. And a great big barrel of rotten tomatoes to hurl at them.”
Normally one to encourage Test teams to dig in and bat properly, Willis launches into England’s negative tactics in their painstaking victory against New Zealand in 2013.