Why are England so poor? Ghosts, apparently

WILL BRODIE
Last updated 18:39 22/07/2014
Stuart Broad
Getty Images
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: Stuart Broad has spoken of funny goings on in his hotel room during a test match.

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It seems only haunted cricketers get spooked by ghosts. And an exhaustive historical survey (quick Google) of such events reveals that they only occur to teams in steep decline.

The most recent victims, England's Stuart Broad and Matt Prior, are in the middle of a stretch of 10 tests without a victory, and just lost to India at Lord's, something that happens about as often as a verified alien sighting.

Broad told London's Daily Mail he had to move rooms during a recent test match against Sri Lanka.

"It was so hot in the room I just couldn't sleep. All of a sudden the taps in the bathroom came on for no reason. I turned the lights on and the taps turned themselves off. Then when I turned the lights off again the taps came on. It was very weird.

"It really freaked me out. I ended up asking to move rooms. Bealey [Broad's girlfriend] was pretty spooked, too, and I know Moeen Ali's other half won't stay there because she's so frightened of the ghosts.

"Ben Stokes has had some problems sleeping as well. He's on the third floor, which is where a lot of the issues are. I'm telling you, something weird is going on."

There is something weird going on in England cricket as well. A year ago, the nation's cricketers were cock-a-hoop, in the middle of belting a dishevelled Australian team in a home Ashes series. No complaints about the accommodations last English summer.

But after losing the Ashes 0-5 in Australia, in an increasingly feckless capitulation, England just lost a two-test home series against Sri Lanka, and on Monday were soundly trounced to go one test down to India, notoriously poor travellers.

A queue of former England captains are calling for captain Alastair Cook to be removed from his position. And wicketkeeper Prior has joined the conga-line of senior talent retiring from the team after another hapless dismissal at a crucial moment in the second test.

Perhaps his sleep was disturbed.

"Matt was in a twin room so I ended up sharing with him. I don't know if it's because we're talking about it more that we are sensing more is going on, but it's weird," Broad said.

"It's definitely caused a few sleepless nights."

The Langham Hotel is renowned for its room 333, "the most haunted hotel room in London", and boasts on its website of an amputated Victorian ghost that, in 1973, encouraged BBC announcer James Alexander-Gordon to vacate.

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Wives and girlfriends of players have reportedly refused to say at the Langham because of the scary incidents.

In 2005, Australia's Shane Watson suffered at the hands of a malicious supernatural hotel presence at the Lumley Castle Hotel, which overlooks Durham's cricket ground.

Watson infamously took refuge on the floor of paceman Brett Lee's room, prompting rival Darren Gough to taunt him with cries of "boo!" on the field.

The previously dominant Australians contrived to lose the Ashes for the first time in 20 years on that tour after being beset by ill-fortune. Glenn McGrath rolling an ankle by stepping on the ball an hour before play starts, anyone?

In 2000 three West Indian tourists were so scared by the supposed apparitions at the venue that they booked out and stayed elsewhere. They then lost to England then Zimbabwe on consecutive days to get jettisoned out of a one-day tournament.

Winning teams don't scare as easily.

- The Age

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