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The wicket-keeper and the batsmen wear protective gear because of the hardness of the ball, which can be delivered at speeds of more than 145 kilometres per hour (90 mph) and presents a major health and safety concern. Protective clothing includes pads (designed to protect the knees and shins), batting gloves or wicket-keeper's gloves for the hands, a safety helmet for the head and a box for male players inside the trousers (to protect the crotch area).[80] Some batsmen wear additional padding inside their shirts and trousers such as thigh pads, arm pads, rib protectors and shoulder pads. The only fielders allowed to wear protective gear are those in positions very close to the batsman (i.e., if they are alongside or in front of him), but they cannot wear gloves or external leg guards.[73]
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".
The ICC has also had to deal with drugs and bribery scandals involving top cricketers. Following the corruption scandals by cricketers connected with the legal and illegal bookmaking markets, the ICC set up an Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) in 2000 under the retired Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, Lord Condon. Among the corruption on which they have reported was that of former South African captain Hansie Cronje who had accepted substantial sums of money from an Indian bookmaker for under-performing or ensuring that certain matches had a pre-determined result. Similarly, the former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja were investigated, found guilty of match-fixing, and banned from playing cricket (for life and for five years, respectively). The ACSU continues to monitor and investigate any reports of corruption in cricket and protocols have been introduced, which for example prohibit the use of mobile telephones in dressing rooms.

Botham took over the captaincy in 1980 and they put up a good fight against the West Indies, losing a five match Test series 1–0, although England were humbled in the return series. After scoring a pair in the first Test against Australia, Botham lost the captaincy due to his poor form, and was replaced by Brearley. Botham returned to form and played exceptionally in the remainder of the series, being named man of the match in the third, fourth and fifth Tests. The series became known as Botham's Ashes as England recorded a 3–1 victory.
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