Vaughan expects England to rise in Ashes

Former England captain Michael Vaughan bowed out of cricket saying the current team could match the efforts of the side he led to Ashes glory in 2005.

updated: July 01, 2009 07:41 IST
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Birmingham, England:

Former England captain Michael Vaughan bowed out of cricket saying the current team could match the efforts of the side he led to Ashes glory in 2005.

Vaughan announced his retirement from professional cricket here on Tuesday with immediate effect after failing to win a place in England's Ashes squad ahead of next week's first Test against Australia in Cardiff.

England's 2-1 series at home four years ago saw them win a Test campaign against Australia for the first time in 18 years.

But in 2006/07 England, without Vaughan because of a knee injury which troubled him in the final years of his career, were thrashed 5-0 in Australia.

Nevertheless, Vaughan believes England are a different proposition in their own conditions.

"I always like us on our home shore, we always play some decent cricket," he said.

With seamers James Anderson, Stuart Broad and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff set to form the basis of their pace attack and a trio of spinners, led by off-break specialist Graeme Swann, all vying for a place, Vaughan reckons England will be able to bowl Australia out twice in a Test match.

"Yes they (Australia) bat deep, but I do think we've got 20 wickets in the tank and that's why I am very optimistic we can win a Test series this summer."

But Vaughan is not taking anything for granted against an Australia side led by his old rival Ricky Ponting, also 34, who come into this Ashes contest on the back of an impressive series win in South Africa.

And he was particularly glad not to be going up against Australia pace bowler Mitchell Johnson.

"I think the Aussies will be very competitive but I expect the England team to be very competitive as well. It will be a very tight series.

"I didn't fancy facing Mitchell Johnson. He looks a world-beater, a great bowler and is looking like a great all-rounder.

"Ricky Ponting has always been a great man and one I've always looked up to.

"I think he's a wonderful player, a great batsman and a good leader. He'll be desperate to put what happened in 2005 right. I think it's going to be a great series, one which we all can look forward to."

Vaughan, England's most successful Test captain with 26 wins from 51 matches during his five years in charge, has not played for his country since resigning the captaincy in August during the home series loss to South Africa.

Desperate for one last crack at Australia, Vaughan vowed to regain his place through sheer weight of runs but this season he managed just 147 runs in seven County Championship innings for Yorkshire.

Meanwhile the emergence of Ravi Bopara, who this year has made hundreds in three successive Tests against the West Indies, at No 3, also dented Vaughan's hopes of a recall.

"My runs tell you that I have not got the rhythm and form to be picked in an Ashes squad," Vaughan explained.

"The Ashes 16 have to be the best 16 players in the country and I am not one of those best 16 at this stage. I've had a great career."

One of the hallmarks of Vaughan's captaincy was his calmness under pressure, a trait evident during England's thrilling two-run win over Australia in the Edgbaston Test of 2005.

"I think I was a good actor," he said. "Under the utmost pressure, it's very important the captain doesn't feel that pressure or doesn't seem to outwardly feel the pressure.

"The team want to see a cool, calm, collected individual who's leading the team and that's one of the reasons I see in Andrew Strauss a great leader.

"So far he seems to be doing it in similar fashion."

Current England captain Strauss, paid tribute to Vaughan

"His achievements can't be over-estimated.

"You see what happens on the field but behind the scenes the way he dealt with players on a one to one basis was exceptional and he cared, he really cared about each and every one of us and about English cricket.

"He is without doubt the best captain I have played under in any form of cricket."