Ian Botham slams England’s "gutless" and "embarrassing" Ashes display

England legend Ian Botham has delivered a scathing assessment of the current side following their 4-0 Ashes humiliation.

England collapsed from 68-0 to 124 all out as they capitulated to a 146-run defeat in the fifth Test in Hobart to end the series with another embarrassing defeat.

Speaking on Channel 7, Botham slammed England and called for the ECB to renew their focus on first-class cricket.

"It's been embarrassing, if I am honest, gutless," he said.

"I thought the way that they performed today will have disappointed me and disappointed everyone back home. They should be disappointed in that dressing room as well, with the performance.

"The one thing we have to do now is take our heads out of the sand and we need to pull together and prioritise red ball cricket."

Botham had earlier told BT Sport that England had been "completely steam-rollered" and suggested that some players "could be at the end of their careers".

The 66-year-old was particularly critical of England's decision-making throughout the series, including team selections and Joe Root's decision to bat in Brisbane.

"They’ve been completely steam-rollered and … a lot of these guys could be at the end of their careers," he said.

"And a lot will be sent back to learn how to play at this level because the Australian public wanted a fight and they haven’t had it.

"It’s disappointing and some of it has been embarrassing – selections, winning the toss and bowling when it’s overcast on a green pitch in Brisbane, where I played for a year and could have told them exactly what it was going to do.

"Then we left two guys with 1,156 wickets [James Anderson and Stuart Broad] sitting in the stand and carrying the drinks. There’s been a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense."

Responding to those criticisms, England head coach Chris Silverwood said: "We sit down, we talk about the team, we make selections and you go with it.

"You make a plan and you do the best you can. The fact is, it’s sport, it’s cricket. You're going to make decisions, some will agree, some people won’t, that’s the beauty of what we do really.

"But equally, it’s something I will reflect on. I will go away and talk to the people, people I trust, and get some honest feedback. I’ll be looking to learn as well."

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