More selectorial problems abounded during Atherton's reign as new chairman of selectors and coach Ray Illingworth (then into his 60s) assumed almost sole responsibility for the team off the field. The youth policy which had seen England emerge from the West Indies tour of 1993–94 with some credit (though losing to a seasoned Windies team) was abandoned and players such as Gatting and Gooch were persisted with when well into their 30s and 40s. England continued to do well at home against weaker opponents such as India, New Zealand and a West Indies side beginning to fade but struggled badly against improving sides like Pakistan and South Africa. Atherton had offered his resignation after losing the 1997 Ashes series 3–2 having been 1–0 up after two matches – eventually to resign one series later in early 1998. England, looking for talent, went through a whole raft of new players during this period, such as Ronnie Irani, Adam Hollioake, Craig White, Graeme Hick and Mark Ramprakash. At this time, there were two main problems:
In Test matches, the team wears cricket whites, with an optional sweater or sweater-vest with a green and gold V-neck for use in cold weather. The team's official sponsors have been Pepsi & Junaid Jamshed since the 1990s with their logo displayed on the right side of the chest, sister brand Lay's on the sleeves, and the Pakistan Cricket star deployed on the left in test cricket. The fielders wear a green cap or a white (or green in ODI and T20 matches) sunhats, with the Pakistan Cricket Star in the middle. Also the helmets are colored green. Boom Boom Cricket signed a deal with Pakistan Cricket Board in April 2010 to become the kit sponsors of the Pakistan team; the deal ended at the end of 2012 Asia Cup. Currently, as of 2019, Pakistan is sponsored by AJ Sports, replacing CA Sports, which was the sponsor between 2015 and 2019. Pakistan's One Day and Twenty 20 kits vary from year to year with the team wearing its green color in various shades from kit to kit. Historically, Pakistan's kits have had shades of blue, yellow and golden in addition to green. For official ICC tournaments, 'Pakistan' is written on the front of the jersey in place of the sponsor logo, with the sponsor logo being placed on the sleeve. However, for non-ICC tournaments and matches, the 'Pepsi' logo feature prominently on the front of the shirt . As always the Pakistan Cricket Board logo is placed on the left chest.
By 1999, with coach David Lloyd resigning after the World Cup exit and new captain Nasser Hussain just appointed, England hit rock bottom (literally ranked as the lowest-rated Test nation) after losing 2–1 to New Zealand in shambolic fashion. Hussain was booed on the Oval balcony as the crowd jeered "We've got the worst team in the world" to the tune of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands".
Gower took over as skipper in 1984 and led the team to a 2–1 victory over India. They went on to win the 1985 Ashes 3–1, although after this came a poor run of form. Defeat to the West Indies dented the team's confidence, and they went on to lose to India 2–0. In 1986, Micky Stewart was appointed the first full-time England coach. England beat New Zealand, but there was little hope of them retaining the Ashes in 1986–87. However, despite being described as a team that 'can't bat, can't bowl and can't field', they went on to win the series 2–1.
The 2007 Cricket World Cup was one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history when Pakistan was knocked out of the competition in a shock defeat to Ireland, who were playing in their first competition. Pakistan, needing to win to qualify for the next stage after losing to the West Indies in their opening match, were put into bat by Ireland. They lost wickets regularly and only 4 batsmen scored double figures. In the end they were bowled out by the Irish for 132 runs. The Irish went on to win the match, after Niall O'Brien scored 72 runs. This meant that Pakistan had been knocked out during the first round for the second consecutive World Cup. Tragedy struck the team when coach Bob Woolmer died one day later on 18 March 2007 in a hospital in Kingston, Jamaica. Jamaican police spokesman Karl Angell reported on 23 March 2007 that, "Mr Woolmer's death was due to asphyxiation as a result of manual strangulation" and that, "Mr Woolmer's death is now being treated by the Jamaica police as a case of murder." Assistant coach Mushtaq Ahmed acted as temporary coach for the team's final group game of the tournament. Subsequent to his team's defeat and the death of Woolmer, Inzamam-ul-Haq announced his resignation as captain of the team and his retirement from one-day cricket, stating that he would continue to take part in Test cricket but not as captain. Shoaib Malik was announced as his successor. Following his return to the squad, Salman Butt was appointed as vice-captain until December 2007.
Prior to 1997, the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB) was the governing body for the English team. Apart from in Test matches, when touring abroad, the England team officially played as MCC up to and including the 1976–77 tour of Australia, reflecting the time when MCC had been responsible for selecting the touring party. The last time the England touring team wore the bacon-and-egg colours of the MCC was on the 1996–97 tour of New Zealand.
However, from 1968 to 1971 they played 27 consecutive Test matches without defeat, winning 9 and drawing 18 (including the abandoned Test at Melbourne in 1970–71). The sequence began when they drew with Australia at Lord's in the Second Test of the 1968 Ashes series and ended in 1971 when India won the Third Test at The Oval by four wickets. They played 13 Tests with only one defeat immediately beforehand and so played a total of 40 consecutive Tests with only one defeat, dating from their innings victory over the West Indies at The Oval in 1966. During this period they beat New Zealand, India, the West Indies, and Pakistan, and under Ray Illingworth's leadership, regained The Ashes from Australia in 1970–71.