Posts Tagged ‘michael vaughan’

The start of the English County season is almost upon us, and the evidence arrived today with the naming of the MCC’s team to take on County Champions Durham in the traditional curtain-raiser. Most reports are highlighting the inclusion of former England captain Michael Vaughan in the side (alongside fellow England castaway Ian Bell), but it’s worth mentioning that the team will be captained by Rob Key, who hasn’t played Test cricket since January 2005.

Key’s continued absence from the main England side whilst simultaneously being viewed by the ECB as ‘reserve captain‘ (the ECB was involved in the selection of the MCC team, and Key has led the England Lions for some time) suggests that Vaughan is the most likely player in the team to play in this summer’s Ashes defeat series against Australia.

The MCC team in full is: Rob Key (c), Kabir Ali, Ian Bell, Steven Finn, James Foster, Sajid Mahmood, Stephen Moore, Adil Rashid, Michael Vaughan, Chris Woakes, Tom Westley

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Strangely for a player trying to find form, Michael Vaughan has played very little cricket over the winter. It may be that his central contract prevented him from playing in a Southern Hemisphere domestic competition, or that he ‘needed some time away from cricket’, but his last First-class match was way back in September, when he made a whopping 14 for Yorkshire against Somerset.

In any case (and leaving aside the question of whether the rest has done the trick, or the pitches out in Abu Dhabi are merely flatter than Norfolk), he’s finally back in the runs. The former England captain tonked 115 from 113 balls for his county as they beat Surrey in their opening match of the pre-season Pro ARCH Trophy out in the UAE.

There was more good news for the expert proponent of the textbook forward defensive with cartwheeling stump recently, when Duncan Fletcher came out in support of Vaughan returning to the Test side at number three. Whilst this is about as newsworthy as ‘Man drinks Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day‘, I’m sure Vaughan was pleased to see his name appear in a newspaper other than the Yorkshire Post.

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Andrew Strauss hasn’t played a limited overs international since April 2007, but tonight he leads England in a Twenty20 international against a West Indies side superficially similar to the Stanford Superstars team that beat England by 10 wickets back when Allen Stanford was more likely to be asked ‘is it fun being a millionaire?‘ than ‘how do you plead?‘.

Cricinfo’s preview of tonight’s match expects Ian Bell to open the batting for England alongside Strauss. Yes, that’s right, Ian Bell.

England have never quite managed to get their Twenty20 opening partnership right. They have tried the following in the last four years: Geraint Jones and Marcus Trescothick, Strauss and Trescothick, Trescothick and Bell, Ed Joyce and Michael Vaughan, Alastair Cook and Matt Prior, Prior and Darren Maddy, Prior and Luke Wright, Maddy and Vikram Solanki, Wright and Phil Mustard, and Bell and Wright. That’s 10 different partnerships in a mere 14 matches.

I doubt that Bell and Strauss are the solution, but I will graciously suspend judgement until, ooh, maybe the fifth over of tonight’s match.

UPDATE: It now seems that England will try another opening pair – Steve Davies and Ravi Bopara. They seem more like a Twenty20 opening pair than Strauss and Bell, so let’s hope for some success.

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Everyone seems to be weighing in with their opinions on what the outcome of the evident rift between England’s captain, Kevin Pietersen, and coach Peter Moores. David Gower, himself no stranger to disagreements with his (and whilst he was) captain, reckons KP will be the outright winner, which seems to make sense given how reliant England are on their imported superstar. There’s already speculation about Moores’ potential successor.

Nasser Hussain, another former England captain who is currently employed by Sky, agrees, saying that Moores will either have to quit, or back down on what seems to be the key issue – the inclusion or otherwise of Michael Vaughan in the England side.

A ‘dressing room source’, meanwhile (perhaps Harry Redknapp’s ketchup?), claims that “The ECB are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they back KP, then there’s massive problems among the backroom staff…if they go with the coach, then the best player becomes disillusioned [and] they possibly lose a captain“, which doesn’t sound like a recipe for much-needed pre-Ashes harmony and togetherness either way.

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Either England’s selectors have come to their senses, or the crazed combination of staunch conservatism and random stick-a-pin-in-Playfair changes has accidentally happened upon something approaching reason.

Not only is Michael Vaughan, who was given a central contract as part of the ECB’s continuing commitment to 2005 nostalgia, not included in the squad for the strangely logical reason that he is in poor form, but no less than two of my Ones to Watch have been selected to tour the Windies – Adil Rashid for the Test side, and Steve Davies in the One-Day squad.

What’s next? Batsmen being dropped for not making runs? An acceptance that Alastair Cook is not a Twenty20 opener?

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Despite his ‘luck‘ in being awarded a big fat central contract by the ECB, Michael Vaughan looks set to miss England’s tour of India.

This apparently unilateral decision by the former England captain excuses the selectors the embarrassment of either not selecting a player awarded a central contract mere weeks ago, or of taking a player on tour who has made just 41 runs from his last four innings, and wasn’t exactly on fire before that.

I hope that the break has the intended effect of clearing his head, and that he manages to make some runs sometime soon.

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I’ve never played cricket for England. I’ve never taken part in a cricket match knowing my future could be on the line. In cricketing terms, you could say I know nothing of The Crunch.

Michael Vaughan is about to find out all about The Crunch. He’s about to make it his new home. Because Vaughan, following another failure with the bat during Yorkshire’s game against Somerset at Scarborough, now has a maximum of three innings to make his case for inclusion in England’s winter touring squad.

On current form, there is no way he merits a place. Yet the past indulgence he has enjoyed from the selectors, as well as the fact that he was awarded a central contract mere days ago, suggest he might be included anyway.

If he is selected, perhaps in place of batsmen who have been making runs all summer, then it will strengthen the case suggesting that an “old boys’ club” mentality continues to exist in the dressing room.

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