Questionnaire MARK NICHOLAS - CRICKET PRESENTER

Are the English cricket team as bad as the Wisden world rankings suggest ?

No, but they're not good. The important thing is to select people for the tour with strength of character and a clear head. Muddled thinking will only make matters worse.

Have the press been too critical of the England team ?

I think the criticism has been fair, but the ongoing nature of it is too much. Rather criticise first, then suggest options or solutions.

Have you been pleased by Channel 4's coverage this year, and by the public's response to it ?

Yes we've been delighted, and the response from 90 per cent of the public has been fantastic. We're attracting a much younger audience, with the Cricket Roadshow on Saturday mornings being particularly popular. We're not complacent though, and there's much we can improve.

Are you worried that poor performances by England will have a detrimental effect on viewing figures ?

Of course, that is a possibility and a concern.

What was your greatest cricketing moment ?

One of two. Leading Hampshire to their first win in a Lord's final in 1988, or scoring a century as captain of the MCC against Australia at Lord's in 1985. Their attack included Jeff Thompson, Geoff Lawson and Craig McDermott.

Has the standard of county cricket declined since you retired as a player ?

The standard has declined gently through the 1990s. The strongest county cricket I played in was between 1985 and 1992. Allan Border thought the County Championship in the late 1980s was as strong as the Sheffield Shield.

Which player from the last 30 years, would you most like to see in the current England team ?

Ian Botham, the greatest matchwinner we've had.

What would represent success for England on this winter's tour ?

Winning the series. If we settle for second place, we'll never win anything.

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