Coach thrilled with leader's return to form May 21, 2008

Moores wants Vaughan as Ashes captain

Cricinfo staff

Peter Moores says Michael Vaughan, at 33, is still maturing as a batsman © Getty Images

Peter Moores, the England coach, has backed Michael Vaughan to retain the captaincy until at least the 2009 Ashes, following his century in the Lord's Test against New Zealand. Vaughan struggled in the series in New Zealand in March but his 106 at Lord's answered his critics and Moores believes Vaughan is clearly the man to lead England's campaign to regain the Ashes.

"It is important to have a mature captain, especially when you are developing as a team," Moores said in the Independent. "We have had quite a lot of changes in both Test and one-day teams, and we have an inexperienced set of bowlers, so to have somebody like Michael to marshal them and give his experience is very important.

"The split captaincy has not affected him and Michael has still maintained his calm leadership. I think one of his strengths is being naturally calm. It is a skill to be able to give off that, a sign of a good leader, so when the pressure is on he doesn't pass that on to his team."

Moores was equally happy with Vaughan's batting form as he moved down to his preferred No. 3 position. "He is developing the team and wants to be at the front of it. He is at the stage of his career where players mature, batsmen especially, and they tend to have their best spell in the last third of their careers."

But Moores is less certain about the Test future for Steve Harmison, who was overlooked for Chris Tremlett when the selectors added a fast bowler to the squad for the Old Trafford Test to replace the injured Matthew Hoggard. Moores said Harmison would need some solid county efforts under his belt before he would be considered for a Test return.

"He obviously has a good record at Old Trafford, but we just feel at the moment that, to be fair to Steve, he needs time in county cricket to go out there and bowl and get himself ready to come back and be in the right place to play [international] cricket again," Moores told the Guardian. "I've heard he's been going OK, doing all right, getting there, working it through, but maybe not hitting his straps as best he can. That might be a bit of a process, to do his work and get his confidence up and be happy with how it's coming out."