Former England bowler Steve Harmison believes careers could be on the line after England’s Ashes humiliation in Australia.
Joe Root’s men were bowled out for a paltry 68 as they surrendered the urn on just the third day of the third Test in Melbourne, handing Australia an innings-and-14-runs victory and an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.
Harmison has experienced both ends of the Ashes spectrum, being part of the side which famously claimed a long-awaited series win in 2005 and also bowling the first ball of the next series at the Gabba to second slip as England went on to lose 5-0.
And he believes the current “embarrassment” could prove to be a moment of reckoning for some in the England set-up.
“There is going to be a big inquest,” he told BT Sport. “There’s going to be a lot of things blamed, people’s careers on the line.”
He added: “When you look at the history of the Ashes in Australia, the only teams that have gone over there and done anything meaningful are the teams that have got first-innings runs.
“Last night, they (Australia) bowled brilliantly but that’s embarrassing, I’m sorry. No fight, there was nothing there.
“You can say Australia have bowled well, which they have done, but to lose by an innings when a team only gets 267 runs, that tells you everything about where this series has been.
“This team is a worse position than the one the white-ball team were in when they had a reset.”
Harmison was also critical of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s selection policy.
Speaking to TalkSport, he said: “There’s no real continuity of selection so people don’t know their roles in the side.
“The coaching system – there’s different coaches coming in all the time. I just think sometimes they are trying to reinvent the wheel at the ECB.
“It’s like we had a plan for the first Test, we had a plan for the second Test and we had a plan for the third Test, six months ago!
“So we got to Brisbane after two weeks of rain and we left Stuart Broad out and played Jack Leach. Wow! It’s mind-boggling.
“And look at their selection. They’ve played a 32-year-old (Scott Boland) on debut who’s played nearly every other game at the MCG – and he’s got six for seven against our batting line-up.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan admitted Root’s side came up well short and picked out the performance of veteran seamer Boland.
He wrote on Twitter: “England nowhere near good enough.. they will know that, but seeing a 32 year old on debut on his home turf with the crowd going berserk is what makes sport so special.
“Well done Australia. Far too good for England .”
Ex-England batter Rob Key branded this Ashes series defeat one of the worst in living memory.
Key told Sky Sports News: “It sums up where England have been in this series. It has to be one of the worst Ashes defeats I can remember.
“In years gone by when England were getting beaten by the Shane Warne team, Glenn McGrath, Ricky Ponting, you sort of knew. In 2003 we went there thinking we’ve got no chance against this lot. But these were the greatest players.
“This time you thought it will be tough for England, but they’ve got a chance. This Australian side is good, but it’s not great.
“And yet now there are so many question marks and the whole of English cricket is going to be brought into question.
“The only positive is it’s going to shake up English cricket for the better. It has to.”