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:
84.2 OUT! Caught. Mitchell Starc to Imran Khan. Length ball, off stump backing away Slog, mis-timed in the air uncontrolled to mid on, by Wade. That will be the end. Imran Khan wanted a second piece of Starc but the left-arm seamer is too clever and he follows the batsmen, giving him no room. Straight up into the sky and Wade safely pouches the catch.
Brearley's side showed again the hyperbole that is often spoken when one side dominates in cricket. While his side of 1977–80 contained some young players who went on to become England greats, most notably future captains Ian Botham, David Gower and Graham Gooch, their opponents were often very much weakened by the absence of their World Series players, especially in 1978, when England beat New Zealand 3–0 and Pakistan 2–0 before thrashing what was effectively Australia's 2nd XI 5–1 in 1978–79.
Criticism has been made of the England and Wales Cricket Board using only the England name while utilising Welsh players[better source needed] such as Simon and Geraint Jones. With Welsh players pursuing international careers exclusively with an England team, there have been a number of calls for Wales to become an independent member of the ICC, or for the ECB to provide more fixtures for a Welsh national team. However, both Cricket Wales and Glamorgan County Cricket Club have continually supported the ECB, with Glamorgan arguing for the financial benefits of the Welsh county within the English structure, and Cricket Wales stating they are "committed to continuing to play a major role within the ECB"
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.
Pakistan has played 427 Test matches, winning 137, losing 130 and drawing 160. Pakistan was given Test status on 28 July 1952, following a recommendation by India, and made its Test debut against India at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, Delhi, in October 1952, with India winning by an innings and 70 runs. In the 1930s and 40s, several Pakistani Test players had played Test cricket for the Indian cricket team before the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
England drew the 1938 Ashes, meaning Australia retained the urn. England went into the final match of the series at The Oval 1–0 down, but won the final game by an innings and 579 runs. Len Hutton made the highest ever Test score by an Englishman, making 364 in England first innings to help them reach 903, their highest ever score against Australia.
After the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi ended their ODI careers. As a result, the captaincy of the ODI team was given to newcomer Azhar Ali. Under his captaincy, Pakistan played their first ODI series against Bangladesh. The tour was a disappointment and Pakistan lost all three ODIs as well as the T20 match. Clever bowling coupled with wonderful batting and fielding allowed the hosts to stroll past the visitors. This was Bangladesh's first win against Pakistan since the 1999 Cricket World Cup and first ever series win over Pakistan. However, Pakistan ended the tour on a positive with a 1–0 win in the two-match test series.
The 2009 Ashes series featured the first Test match played in Wales, at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. England drew the match thanks to a last-wicket stand by bowlers James Anderson and Panesar. A victory for each team followed before the series was decided at The Oval. Thanks to fine bowling by Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann and a debut century by Jonathan Trott, England regained the Ashes.
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.