Shaun Udal believes the England captaincy has become a "poisoned chalice", following the reported resignation of Kevin Pietersen.
The Middlesex skipper, who played four Tests and 11 One-Day Internationals for his country, was commenting on the crisis which has seen both coach and captain reportedly lose their jobs.
Andy Flower looks set to be offered the role of interim coach in place of Peter Moores, while Andrew Strauss is the favourite to take over as captain.
Pietersen only took over the role from Michael Vaughan for the last Test against South Africa in August and Udal says the England set-up is now in total disarray.
"It's obviously something he feels very strongly about - to give up the job he wanted very, very badly," Udal said.
"There's not much time before the tour of the West Indies - I don't know how they will get out of this mess and sort everything out.
"Every year is important in Test cricket but this is a huge year and to have such turmoil in a way going on a couple of weeks away from going to the West Indies is far from ideal.
"They need to find another captain. They've lost Michael Vaughan, then Paul Collingwood gave up the job - now Kevin. It's a bit of a poisoned chalice.
"Three captains have gone through the ranks recently - I'm not saying it's all Peter Moores' fault but there seems to be a trend of going through captains very quickly."
The ex-England off-spinner insists his former Hampshire team-mate should have been backed by the ECB.
"In my eyes the captain should always have the final say who he takes out on the pitch, while the coach looks after off-pitch stuff in terms of preparation and drills," he added.
"I've not been involved in the England set-up for a couple of years now. When I was there, Duncan Fletcher looked after things off the pitch but the captain was very much in charge.
"Maybe Michael Vaughan not being picked is one of the issues and that's why Kevin was so upset - but there's no point having selectors if they don't get involved in who goes in the squad.
"It's a huge job to take on and Michael Vaughan said it is all-consuming. Maybe a bit of that has come into his decision, he's on holiday and he's still dealing with issues and problems which come up."
One thing is for sure, the England and Wales Cricket Board must act quickly because England are scheduled to fly to the Caribbean on January 21 ahead of their tour of the West Indies.