Duncan Fletcher believes the England and Wales Cricket Board should have acted quicker to the obvious personality clash between Kevin Pietersen and Peter Moores.
It was announced on Wednesday that captain Pietersen was resigning from his role having only been in the job for five months.
The news comes following a well-publicised falling out between the new skipper and England coach Peter Moores, who was sacked on the same day.
In his column for The Guardian, Fletcher feels the men in charge of the national team could have made sure the situation had not turned so ugly.
The former England coach now fears the team are in "real trouble" so close to the start of an Ashes series home home soil against Australia.
"The ECB knew what it was getting when it appointed both men," he said in the newspaper.
"Its members knew about Moores' character and they knew about Pietersen's.
"The appointment of Hugh Morris as managing director of the England team - a position recommended by the Schofield committee's report - was supposed to help the management improve it's relationship with the players.
"To me that means the simmering discontent between the two men should have been picked up a long time ago - because the situation has been brewing for a while.
"The selectors really should have stepped in before things turned ugly. Instead, England are in real trouble with the arrival of the Australians only a few months away. It all seems such a shame."
Fletcher admits he feels for Moores, the man who replaced him after a 5-0 series whitewash in Australia and a disappointing 2007 World Cup.
"As for Moores, I feel for him," he continued. "I know what a tough job coaching England can be, and you don't like to see any individual treated like this.
"I know he never did less than his best, but it's not an easy role.
"And no coaching position in world cricket comes under more scrutiny than the England job. You're under the microscope the whole time, it's a results-driven role and a lot of people have very short memories."