The Ashes 2006-07 September 10, 2006

Vaughan to shadow England in Australia

Cricinfo staff

Vaughan has experience of playing in Australia © Getty Images

Michael Vaughan is planning to be in Australia throughout England's Ashes campaign this November, even though it is almost certain he will play no part. Speaking to The Sunday Times Vaughan revealed he plans to fly out to Australia the week before the first Test which starts on November 23 at Brisbane.

"The rehab is going as well as possible and we're looking at me batting (in the nets) in October," he said. "The day I get on a plane to Australia will be the time people can start thinking I'm going to play cricket pretty soon, because I won't go unless I'm about two or three weeks off playing."

Vaughan, who had knee surgery nine weeks ago, missed England's tour of India earlier this year and was ruled out of the summer. Even the most ardent of optimists would rate his chances of playing any part of the Ashes as decidedly low, but Vaughan remains quietly confident that he will, at least, pick up a bat again before Christmas.

"There's a realistic chance I'll be on a plane on November 17 and do 10 days of training around the first Test," he said. "I won't train with the team because it's important they just get on with it but I hope to use the likes of Matthew Maynard, the trainer and physio.

"Hopefully I'll play some cricket in December. I'll have to do that if I want to be available to play the one-day series (starting in January). If things go incredibly well, there's a small chance I could play in the end of the Ashes, though if it's 1-1 with two to play, I can't see them saying 'have a game' when I won't have played for 12 months. But who's to say I won't be able to tell them I've scored two hundreds in Perth and I'm available for selection? Whether I get back in, or come back in as captain, is for others to decide."

'They probably need a bit of my experience of captaining against Australia, but I think they'll be fine' © Getty Images

"I won't go in and say, 'I've won the Ashes, listen to me', but I'm there to speak to anyone if they need advice," Vaughan insisted. "Andrew Strauss rings me regularly and I ring him and we pass ideas off each other. I don't think anyone's a wizard who can say, 'This is the way to play', because it's all instinctive when you get out in the middle against a team like Australia. Plans can change every half-hour."

The England captaincy was a hot issue throughout the winter tour of India. With Vaughan absent, the captaincy was handed to Marcus Trescothick before he too withdrew from the tour owing to personal problems. Andrew Flintoff was next in line and named captain for their tour of India, and for the summer. He then broke down, though, missing the Pakistan series and handing Andrew Strauss the captaincy. Vaughan isn't concerned who captains England; be it Flintoff or Strauss, and insists that his presence in Australia won't be a hindrance to the appointed leader.

"I have every confidence that whoever they pick will do a good job. They probably need a bit of my experience of captaining against Australia, but I think they'll be fine. I may be more help to the younger players, who are there for first time. I'll be there if they want a coffee. Whoever gets the captaincy will do okay.

"I don't think it has a huge effect because hopefully I'll be coming back, but it will be a life-changing experience for whoever does it, because captaining in the Ashes is more intense than anything. Every decision will be analysed. Only time will tell how much I've been missed."