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November 13, 2001
Vaughan - keen to start
It was said from a very early stage of his career that Michael Atherton was a future England captain. Now the same is being said about another Lancashire-born batsman who could well fill the place in the order vacated by Atherton's retirement. The difference is that this Lancastrian by birth plays his cricket for Yorkshire.
Michael Vaughan made his Test debut for England on the 1999-2000 tour to South Africa, and although he did not score as heavily as he would have liked, he did make an impression by his calm temperament and correct technique. That had been evident on the 1998-99 England A tour to South Africa where his leadership qualities shone through to earn him the 'FEC' tag.
He has been unfortunate that the one period that has seen him suffer a number of injuries has coincided directly with his Test career. Having made his debut, he missed the first three Tests of the following summer, but came back to play a significant part in denying the West Indian attack in the gripping Lord's Test - in company with Atherton. He missed the series in Pakistan through injury, but was back for the last Test in Sri Lanka. He recorded his maiden Test century at Old Trafford against Pakistan, but then missed the entire Ashes series.
Now he is back, fit and hopefully in the form that saw him so successful in Yorkshire's run-in to the CricInfo Championship title. Having missed so much cricket, there is little wonder that he was so keen to go on this trip. When there were doubts concerning personal safety expressed by some, Vaughan was at the forefront of those wanting to travel without hesitation.
"The two years I have been involved with England I have picked up more injuries than during all the rest of my career. I'm really looking forward to a good trip now and hopefully I'll find some form and score a few runs."
He is aware of the security implications, but now wants the side to concentrate entirely on cricket and not be distracted by other matters. "The one thing we're going there for is to try to play some good cricket. We know it's going to be tough. They're a very good side on their own soil but, as we showed last winter when we went over there as underdogs, we can perform on the Sub-continent and there is no reason why we can't do that again."
He added: "We've got to learn from last winter; that's why you go to these places. Winning out there was a great bonus and the only way to improve on last winter is to take up all the hints, all the positive things we took from last winter and take them into this one. We know it's going to be very tough. Their batting line-up is formidable, they've got some good spinners and a good opening bowler in Srinnath. So we know we're up against it, but then we were up against it this time last year against Pakistan. There's no reason why we can't do well."
Asked if he really felt England could win this series, he was dismissive. "Of course. Last winter we went to Pakistan with everyone saying we stood no chance. Everyone is saying exactly the same this year, so there's no reason why we can't go and prove a few people wrong."
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