South Africa in England 2008 August 3, 2008

A captain cut short of greatness

Michael Vaughan deserved a better end, in a captaincy career that never recovered from interruption
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Michael Vaughan: he forged a team in his own image, but couldn't repeat the trick in his second coming © Getty Images
 
And so Michael Vaughan's reign ends as it began, amid the chaos of a South African steamrollering at Edgbaston. The venue that became synonymous with English triumph in the summer of 2005 has reverted once again to being a scene of captaincy disasters. First Nasser Hussain in 2003, and now Vaughan five years later. Both have departed the ground as chastened and spent leaders, crushed and compromised by the might of their opposite number, Graeme Smith.

This was not the end that Vaughan deserved. Like Hussain before him, he unquestionably ranks among the very best captains that England have produced since the second world war, but in the final analysis, both were found wanting in the leap from good to great. Hussain failed against Australia and lost the Ashes inside 11 days in 2001 and 2002-03, and though Vaughan may have won the subsequent contest, he has since lost something even more precious - the aura that he established so painstakingly during his glory years of 2004 and 2005.

The man who's clapped and cajoled from his familiar position at mid-off this summer is not the same leader who ran rings around Ricky Ponting in 2005, as England moved clear of the chasing pack to become the second-best side in the world. In an emotional address to the media at Loughborough, the pressures that have come with his position came pouring into full view, and Vaughan admitted that, had he not taken this decision, it might well have been taken out of his hands. In the cruel world of sport, heroes can be recast as zeroes with a haste not seen in any other walk of life.

And yet, Vaughan already knows this all too well, for the heroism of his second coming as England captain has had little to do with on-field events, and everything to do with his awe-inspiring defiance of an appalling knee injury that, by rights, ought to have curtailed his career in its pomp, three years ago. Who knows what he would have achieved, personally and for England, had he not turned for that second run at Lahore's Bagh-e-Jinnah in December 2005, and suffered the injury that was to cut him adrift from his charges for 18 dark months?

The mark of the man is his response to adversity, and while England drifted rudderless for four subsequent series - culminating in their 5-0 Ashes drubbing of last winter - Vaughan soldiered on in the shadows, overcoming surgery, rehab and gruelling strengthening sessions in the gym, as he implored his body to pull together once again and give him the chance to resume the mission that he had been forced to abort. His efforts were not always appreciated, and he was denounced as a distraction while England were lurching to defeat in Australia, but the dedication he brought to his role could never be called into question.

After all, it is easy now to forget just how infused with optimism English cricket had been when Vaughan set off on that fateful tour of Pakistan. There was no leader in the game who could match his authority - not Smith, the ICC's choice as captain for the World XI, whose stock took a tumble against the Aussies in that same winter, and certainly not Ponting, who wouldn't hit the high note of his captaincy for another 12 months. England were on a record roll of six consecutive series wins and could dream, without delusion, that world dominance was in their sights.

Instead they were struck down with a vengeance that might have been lifted straight from a Greek tragedy. In the space of 48 chaotic hours in Nagpur in March 2006, Vaughan and Simon Jones vanished without trace to career-threatening knee injuries, and Marcus Trescothick fled the tour with the first surfacing of his stress-related illness. Andrew Flintoff was next to go lame, as his ankle gave way ahead of the Pakistan series in July, and suddenly a team which had been forged in Vaughan's own granite-willed image had been scattered to the winds like cherry blossom.

As they struggled to compute the chaos that had hit them, England's selectors chose to retain Vaughan in absentia, a loyalty that in hindsight seems misplaced but which spoke volumes of the regard in which he was held. He had found his feet as a leader on an arduous tour of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2003-04, in which physical fitness had been installed as the cornerstone of his new team ethic, and where he cemented his relationship with that other great casualty of the post-2005 meltdown, Duncan Fletcher. By the time the Ashes had been sealed 21 months later, the players were responding to his commands like a racehorse to its jockey. Deft tweaks and touches, but the firm use of the whip when required, allowed Vaughan to remain a man of his people, but a cut above all at once.

The grand statements made the record-books - England's long-awaited victories in West Indies and South Africa, and of course the Ashes - but it was the little moments that made the difference where Vaughan's captaincy was concerned. His denouncement of a misleadingly comfortable victory at Port Elizabeth in 2004-05, for instance, as "shoddy", or a memorable fourth-evening session at Headingley in 2004, when out of the dregs of a match destined for a draw, Vaughan caught a whiff of cordite in his nostrils, and ordered his men into a full-frontal assault against New Zealand's bewildered batsmen. Four wickets followed in 18 balls before the close, and the rout was wrapped up before lunch the following morning.

That was then, but this is now, and though Vaughan has returned to the saddle, the beast beneath him is an unfamiliar mare - frisky and lazy in equal but erratic measures. Moreover, in his first coming as England captain, the certainty of Vaughan's purpose masked lapses with the bat that were all-too-frequent for a man who'd once been ranked as the No. 1 player in the world. Unlike Hussain or Steve Waugh (or even, one day, Smith) Vaughan's is not a style that has adapted well with age. He has always played like a prince among paupers, because the sublime elegance of his strokeplay demanded a cavalier approach. And yet, his immobility in the field, albeit belied by a thrilling spread-eagled catch in the deep on Friday morning, has been as hard to disguise as his desperate struggle for form.

Ugly runs were never Vaughan's forte. His greatest series as a batsman was also his most graceful, in the 2002-03 Ashes, when Australia were whipped and driven for three outstanding centuries in five matches. For his final act as England captain to be an infinitesimally misdirected cover-drive was cruelly apposite. The old intent never wavered, with bat or in the field. But somewhere between his two stints in the side, the signals being emitted became scrambled.

But if there is one aspect of his timing that has not deserted him, it is the manner in which he has departed from the role. Vaughan desperately wished to be given one last crack at the Aussies, and a more stubborn man could have called in his final favours and brazened his way to 2009 regardless. He knows, however, that the mission is no longer his to undertake. The authority that gave him the edge in 2005 stemmed directly from his success Down Under two years earlier, and with that in mind, the time is right to hand over the role to the one England batsman whom the Aussies truly fear.

Hussain knew when his time was up, and now, in a remarkable repetition of history, so too does Vaughan. At 1pm tomorrow, Kevin Pietersen will be unveiled as England's new captain across all three forms of the game, and at The Oval on Thursday, he will lead the team for the first time in Test cricket. Vaughan will not be present in body, as he steps away for now to take stock of his career, but in spirit he will persist, as Hussain did before him. The good'uns endure, because the gratitude will never dim.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mazharul on August 6, 2008, 8:11 GMT

    I think Michael Vaughan took a great decision. But I am astonished how Kevin Petersen is selected as captain. It will put great pressure on his batting

  • The_other_side on August 6, 2008, 0:41 GMT

    In my opinion Vaughan is the best captain that England had since Mike Brearley. However in the last few months he has looked jaded, short of runs and possibly ideas. However England were doing well and probably his exit was very abrupt and KP in other circumstances would have been branded irresponsible for the second innings shot he played finds himself elevated as skipper, such is life. I feel Michael Vaughan still had it in him as skipper and so do I think. To see KP as ultimate leader is correct but the transition could have been smoother. Left alone to bring himself out of this Michael Vaughan would probably have proved a worthier skipper and thus his decision to quit in the present crisis leaves him on the verge of but not as great captain

  • JackJ on August 5, 2008, 23:54 GMT

    JFAB, you're talking rubbish! Vaughan has a win percentage of nearly 51%, which makes him one of the best ever. His 50.98 percent win record is by far and away better than his predecessors Nasser Hussain (37.77%), Michael Atherton (24.07%), Graham Gooch (29.41%) and David Gower (15.62%). Heralded Test captains like Clive Lloyd (48.64%), Allan Border (34.40%), Greg Chappell (43.75%), Richie Benaud (42.85%) and Imran Khan (29.16%) all had Test win percentages below 50 percent, while Viv Richards (54%) and Mark Taylor (52%) only had slightly better win percentages than Vaughan. The exception is Steve Waugh, who, on 71.92%, is streets ahead in the Test captaincy stakes.

  • mctsek007 on August 5, 2008, 6:53 GMT

    Well , i dont think KP is any different from Greame Smith. The only problem he faces is that he ll very much be using the same players as MV ,so its now down to how he manages them especially Panesar and Flinty ,these are to jewels in the crown and he needs them firing .Hopefully Simon Jones will be back too. Hopefully he ll be Like Shane Warne , unorthodox , shrewd but getting the results. KP you have my support 110 %

  • JFAB on August 5, 2008, 3:25 GMT

    Statistics - I had a look for myself (thanks for the great site and information Cricinfo!!) The quoote consistently is that Michael Vaughan was England's most successful capatin ever. Lies, Damn lies and statistics. the statement is true, depending on how you want to twist the stats. Vaughan has won more games than any other English captain BECAUSE he has had more games as captain.Looking at win percentage or at win/loss ratio he is easily betaen by Brearley and Illingworth and in some ways by Hutton at least. it is not even a case of lengevity in the job. Compared to captaisn of earlier eras he has had a short career as captain - 5 years witha lengthy injury gaop in the middle - we just have more tests per year these days. So-good capatin with good results and one of England's best who also happened to have more matches & wins as captain than any other. However, in no real way is Vaughan even close to the most successful capatin ever for England and journos should stop saying it.

  • Percy_Fender on August 4, 2008, 15:00 GMT

    When Nasser Husain stepped down and Michael Vaughn took over it was the same. We expected him to be the next Peter May. It is sad that he has stepped down when England have lost a series at home against the South Africans for the first time since 1965. The point is that at the moment South frica are a very good side and this was the accepted result by keen followers of the game. I feel sorry more for the people who hold the Ashes triumph of 2005 as the turning point in English cricket rather than the present team. Playing England in England is difficult as many outstation pros have found out. So if India last year and South Africa this year have beaten them there it just goes to show that the game is not in good health in Ole Blighty. The selectors need to look beyond their present compasses. In the mines or at sea. As long as English cricket is not in the docks.

  • tomjs100 on August 4, 2008, 14:46 GMT

    So, the ECB appoint KP as Captain.

    What a disasterous decision.

    Doesn't anyone remember why KP left Notts? That his team mates hated him sufficiently that they threw his bag off the pavilion? This man is selfish, arrogant and entirely unsuited to captaincy. Vaughan had tactical nous. Pietersen is a diamond earing.

  • BellCurve on August 4, 2008, 14:41 GMT

    KP's understanding of intricate matters appears to be fairly limited. He has a terrible accent and a ridiculous tattoo. It is easy to imagine that his life would have been an absolute disaster if it was not for cricket.

    The paragraph above would also rings true if you substitute KP for Roy Keane and cricket for football.

    I believe KP has got something special that will rub off on those around him and bring England the ultimate price in test cricket: a series victory over the Aussies in Australia.

  • RVD22 on August 4, 2008, 14:30 GMT

    The decision taken by Michael Vaughan has come at the right time because I feel, England was heading in the negative direction. Now, its up to the new captain Peterson to take up the responsibility and set things right. It would be interesting to see how does captaincy affect Peterson's batting form. According to me, Flintoff would have been a better choice. However, we would have to wait and see the results.

  • Hope-and-glory on August 4, 2008, 14:06 GMT

    Fantastic article, Andrew.

    Michael Vaughan is a great man, a man of integrity and a true legend.

  • Mazharul on August 6, 2008, 8:11 GMT

    I think Michael Vaughan took a great decision. But I am astonished how Kevin Petersen is selected as captain. It will put great pressure on his batting

  • The_other_side on August 6, 2008, 0:41 GMT

    In my opinion Vaughan is the best captain that England had since Mike Brearley. However in the last few months he has looked jaded, short of runs and possibly ideas. However England were doing well and probably his exit was very abrupt and KP in other circumstances would have been branded irresponsible for the second innings shot he played finds himself elevated as skipper, such is life. I feel Michael Vaughan still had it in him as skipper and so do I think. To see KP as ultimate leader is correct but the transition could have been smoother. Left alone to bring himself out of this Michael Vaughan would probably have proved a worthier skipper and thus his decision to quit in the present crisis leaves him on the verge of but not as great captain

  • JackJ on August 5, 2008, 23:54 GMT

    JFAB, you're talking rubbish! Vaughan has a win percentage of nearly 51%, which makes him one of the best ever. His 50.98 percent win record is by far and away better than his predecessors Nasser Hussain (37.77%), Michael Atherton (24.07%), Graham Gooch (29.41%) and David Gower (15.62%). Heralded Test captains like Clive Lloyd (48.64%), Allan Border (34.40%), Greg Chappell (43.75%), Richie Benaud (42.85%) and Imran Khan (29.16%) all had Test win percentages below 50 percent, while Viv Richards (54%) and Mark Taylor (52%) only had slightly better win percentages than Vaughan. The exception is Steve Waugh, who, on 71.92%, is streets ahead in the Test captaincy stakes.

  • mctsek007 on August 5, 2008, 6:53 GMT

    Well , i dont think KP is any different from Greame Smith. The only problem he faces is that he ll very much be using the same players as MV ,so its now down to how he manages them especially Panesar and Flinty ,these are to jewels in the crown and he needs them firing .Hopefully Simon Jones will be back too. Hopefully he ll be Like Shane Warne , unorthodox , shrewd but getting the results. KP you have my support 110 %

  • JFAB on August 5, 2008, 3:25 GMT

    Statistics - I had a look for myself (thanks for the great site and information Cricinfo!!) The quoote consistently is that Michael Vaughan was England's most successful capatin ever. Lies, Damn lies and statistics. the statement is true, depending on how you want to twist the stats. Vaughan has won more games than any other English captain BECAUSE he has had more games as captain.Looking at win percentage or at win/loss ratio he is easily betaen by Brearley and Illingworth and in some ways by Hutton at least. it is not even a case of lengevity in the job. Compared to captaisn of earlier eras he has had a short career as captain - 5 years witha lengthy injury gaop in the middle - we just have more tests per year these days. So-good capatin with good results and one of England's best who also happened to have more matches & wins as captain than any other. However, in no real way is Vaughan even close to the most successful capatin ever for England and journos should stop saying it.

  • Percy_Fender on August 4, 2008, 15:00 GMT

    When Nasser Husain stepped down and Michael Vaughn took over it was the same. We expected him to be the next Peter May. It is sad that he has stepped down when England have lost a series at home against the South Africans for the first time since 1965. The point is that at the moment South frica are a very good side and this was the accepted result by keen followers of the game. I feel sorry more for the people who hold the Ashes triumph of 2005 as the turning point in English cricket rather than the present team. Playing England in England is difficult as many outstation pros have found out. So if India last year and South Africa this year have beaten them there it just goes to show that the game is not in good health in Ole Blighty. The selectors need to look beyond their present compasses. In the mines or at sea. As long as English cricket is not in the docks.

  • tomjs100 on August 4, 2008, 14:46 GMT

    So, the ECB appoint KP as Captain.

    What a disasterous decision.

    Doesn't anyone remember why KP left Notts? That his team mates hated him sufficiently that they threw his bag off the pavilion? This man is selfish, arrogant and entirely unsuited to captaincy. Vaughan had tactical nous. Pietersen is a diamond earing.

  • BellCurve on August 4, 2008, 14:41 GMT

    KP's understanding of intricate matters appears to be fairly limited. He has a terrible accent and a ridiculous tattoo. It is easy to imagine that his life would have been an absolute disaster if it was not for cricket.

    The paragraph above would also rings true if you substitute KP for Roy Keane and cricket for football.

    I believe KP has got something special that will rub off on those around him and bring England the ultimate price in test cricket: a series victory over the Aussies in Australia.

  • RVD22 on August 4, 2008, 14:30 GMT

    The decision taken by Michael Vaughan has come at the right time because I feel, England was heading in the negative direction. Now, its up to the new captain Peterson to take up the responsibility and set things right. It would be interesting to see how does captaincy affect Peterson's batting form. According to me, Flintoff would have been a better choice. However, we would have to wait and see the results.

  • Hope-and-glory on August 4, 2008, 14:06 GMT

    Fantastic article, Andrew.

    Michael Vaughan is a great man, a man of integrity and a true legend.

  • jegu on August 4, 2008, 13:16 GMT

    Michael Vaughan to quit as England captain is an apt decision considering his form and the way the young players are playing. Its time to say good bye Mr. Vaughan.. Kevin Pietersen is an apt choice for leading the English team. Many are opining that he is arrogant and selfish. We dont want to bother about that and its not fair to getting personal. Its all about cricket. I believe he is so talented and can deliver to the demanding cricket scenario. He is so talented and can produce great results. I can see a Dada of Indian Cricket in Pieterson. All the best for his future.

  • delboy on August 4, 2008, 13:13 GMT

    It won't be long before the ECB regret their sanctions agaist Zimbabwe. England are fast heading to the same league as the WI. I always wondered why Stanford would put up money for England vs WI but now it makes sense the to bottom world cricket teams will fight it out for £20M. Watching Peiterson perform over the last couple of years, no doubt he is an extrovert but what man management skills does hehave? What message are they sending out to Straus who has lead England in the pass? KP should best be allowed Straus's under study, while is moments of madness are monitored. Take lessons from the failures of JIMMY ADAMS, LARA, CHANDERPAUL, SARWAN(to some extent) and GAYLE; Their personal performances suffered badly under the responsibility of captaincy.

  • defleopard on August 4, 2008, 13:10 GMT

    Thank you Micheal Vaughan for all you have done for cricket, your captaincy will be sorely missed. I hope that the selectors don't give the captaincy to KP because, in spite of his brilliance with the bat (there is no doubt that he is up there with the greats) he does not have the right personality to be an international cricket captain. He is too impetuous, reckless and overconfident. England batsmen, in particular, need to be set an example how to construct a test innings in difficult circumstances. At present they often throw away their wickets with inapropriate choice of shots. Examples: KP in second innings second test. England needed to bat for best part of two days, but he hits 3 4s and a single and then gets out on his 5th ball. He played a stupid shot to end his brilliant innings at Edgbaston when we needed him to go on and put more pressure on South Africa and he is suicidal getting off the mark. Also Cooks poor shot in second innings. Hell they've made him captain.

  • EnglishTrini on August 4, 2008, 12:24 GMT

    Never has anything been so wrong, this is not the time for Vaughan to leave. Hussain and Atherton, in truth, didn't have the spark that Vaughan had. The most successful England captain, and probably the only one, he has now been dismissed as a zero. Kevin Pietersen could never be a good captain. A good captain always puts the team first and not self, something for all you Vaughan critics to consider.

  • klempie on August 4, 2008, 11:05 GMT

    As a South African, I think Pietersen getting the captaincy is fantastic as he is in no way captaincy material. He is simply too arrogant and too selfish. The antithesis of Graeme Smith. The Brit Oval will finally show who is the superior...and it will be Smith.

  • StJohn on August 4, 2008, 10:39 GMT

    For all the introspection following the current series defeat, I must say I agree with the comments that South Africa had the better luck in the series and had Smith been given out when he should have been (lbw to Panesar, and then again later, caught off the glove), we would be looking forward to a great decider at The Oval. Well done to Smith and South Africa. But I feel this is a series that England lost rather than which South Africa won. Below-par 1st innings batting in the last two Tests decided the outcome. By very small margins, which are usually shaped purely by luck, are matches or series usually won or lost - and I think South Africa certainly enjoyed more good fortune than England. That said, South Africa are the better side, with more disciplined, applied batting and generally more penetrative bowling. They are deserving winners, but they also owe a small thank you to Lady Luck for smiling upon them. But then good teams create their own luck, and England's bad luck follows from failing to play to their true potential.

  • D.V.C. on August 4, 2008, 10:01 GMT

    I think England are far too quick to discard captains who have a poor run of form. Look at Australia - Ponting is having a bad run at the moment but you can be sure he will come good and it would take another two series, at least, for the selectors to displace him. Good captains are responsible people, they know what they need to do to get their own game right and they will do it, and pressuring them so much will not help.

  • hchvghvbjhvuj on August 4, 2008, 8:46 GMT

    Strauss is my choice. Maybe time was right for vaughan to step down but he has done a fantastic job for the team and our country. He has been the inspiration for a generation and the comments made above about building our sportsmen up just to knock them down again is very true. I don't think that all is well at the top in English cricket and the momentum built up by both Vaughan and Fletcher has been lost along the way. They will both be tough acts to follow and I'm not sure the present incumbents are capable of raising team spirit and morale in the way their predecessors did. Petersen stands to be ruined like Flintoff in Australia and Botham before him. Thanks for the memories and all your efforts Michael Vaughan and good luck in whatever role comes next. Spoken by a slightly gutted Yorkshireman!

  • twonk on August 4, 2008, 8:44 GMT

    Very sad times for England. Vaughan should not be the one walking away he is proven class, just look at his record won 26, lost 11. He delivered what we all wanted but feared we would never see again, the Ashes, where he completely outsmarted Ponting. Moores, Miller etc, shame on you. How can you let the best thing that has happened to English cricket in decades carry the can? You should be the ones having a long look at yourselves, what have you contributed to English cricket? About 1,000th of what Vaughan has. Thanks for putting your heart and soul into it Michael, your efforts will never be forgotten, a true great in my eyes.

  • Old_Quickie on August 4, 2008, 8:20 GMT

    What a sad day for England Cricket! Vaughn was clearly one of the best test captains in cricket at this time, although his personal batting form was at a low. I believe this is an over-reaction to an excellent test match which right up to the last session could have gone either way. In fact, my money was on an England win at tea time on the 4th day (in spite of being a South African). This match could have been won by England but for 1 ball!... Had Smith been given out caught off the glove, England would surely have won and Vaughn been the hero!. Why is it so hard to take defeat? Surely England were not expecting to beat South Africa in this series? I think England lost to a better all round team, and with the media hype over Vaugn's resignation, the real story of the match, which was Graeme Smith's epic match winning innings has been relegated to the statistics page. The only other innings I have personally witnessed of character and guts was that of Michael Atherton in Johannesburg.

  • Gaming_Zone on August 4, 2008, 7:52 GMT

    I don't want Strauss or Kp to be captain I want Freddy to be the captain. Whatever happens Vaughan was the best captain of England cricket team,he was going well, still, and he could stay still 36 like other captain and Colly is so silly I think he also could stay and captain the three forms of cricket. KP is not the choice because he will be under pressure and he would not bat well if ECC chooses him as a captain.

  • Bee1980 on August 4, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    Vaughan had a good time, but his record is probably not all that great as it has been made out to be. He came to the fore with the 2005 Ashes series as the English media is fixated with the Ashes. But if we assume that the 5-0 against Australia was also under his reign, his record against Australia reads won 2 lost 6 - fairly poor. Apart from Australia, he has a losing record against India, Sri Lanka and South Africa. Bangladesh, New Zealand and West Indies, arguably the three weakest teams around right now, are his only successes. Twenty of his 26 victories as captain have come against these three. He was good, but never threatened greatness in his five-year-old reign. It was just randomness that his team's successes all came in one bunch in 2004-05 thereby giving an illusion of an aura. This England team and its captain are capable of competing against reasonable opposition on their day, unlike South Africa, India or Sri Lanka. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • rohanbala on August 4, 2008, 7:08 GMT

    The decision of Michael Vaughan to quit as England captain is timely.Probably, he would have been axed for the next series, had he not done so. I remember Robin Marlar's comments when Michael Vaughan succeeded Nasser Hussain as the England Captain - 'Welcome to the poison chalice'. It is a surprise that he had been at the helm from 2005 (though he had been missing some matches in between due to injuries). The task of the new captain (whoever is to take up the reins) is not going to be easy. Probably, we are in for a few surprises.

  • amirlucky on August 4, 2008, 6:28 GMT

    I am extremely impressed the way Michael Vaughan steps down from captaincy. No doubt, this is a brave decision. I think KP would be an ultimate choice but Strauss is another option to think. Giving captaincy to KP means you are giving an extra responsibility to KP and this might affect his batting performance. Regards... Amirlucky

  • Chris_Howard on August 4, 2008, 6:22 GMT

    Commiserations to Vaughan. But KP as captain could be the best thing for cricket. If he captains the way he plays, expect some great contests. And I suspect he'll be not unlike his mate, Warnie, who showed us in the IPL how good a captain he could have been. Go KP, follow your instincts and natural style. Be yourself and you'll be a great captain.

  • Lizzyp on August 4, 2008, 5:40 GMT

    Please, no Pietersen, unless it's a ploy to get under South Africa's skin at the Oval. No Flintoff either, he needs to focus on his own game first, after a long time-out, and his leadership was somewhat suspect during the ill-fated Ashes tour. Strauss gets my vote, since everytime he's led the side he's performed well-that includes the Ashes tour when the spectre of Vaughan still loomed large.

  • Sprewell on August 4, 2008, 4:28 GMT

    Vaughan resigning is just right. He deserves to leave on his own terms and has been a great captain. As far as comparing captains, Ponting has the best record of current players, but Vaughan carried an aura which Ponting does not. It's time for England to make some changes. A new captain and a change to the batting line-up is a great start. England have not been a great side for the past three years and though they tried to restore the quality of the 2005 Ashes side it didn't work. So England should progess by building on a new 'great' Test side, one that can compete with South Africa and Australia. Collingwood, despite his fighting century, should be allowed to go (he looked ordinary against good bowling this Test and made the most of his runs against a tired and average bowling attack). Give the young batsmen some exposure. England's bowling attack is well balanced, has class and depth. Test cricket needs a strong England team to ensure more memorable series.

  • JFAB on August 4, 2008, 4:14 GMT

    I am interested in the repeated comments about Vaughan being the most successful English captain ever. Could you please get the stats team to do some work on this, showing us maybe England's top five or 10, and maybe even a comparison with the top 1 or 2 from the other main nations? This would help assess his legacy.

  • sattawar on August 4, 2008, 4:02 GMT

    Brilliant write up!! One could not have summed up Vaughan's legacy better.The truth is Miller makes the article rivetting with his inimitable style and takes Vaughan's legacy to it's deserved height's.

    It is indeed one of the saddest days for english cricket , i wish for one Vaghan had stayed on.There is a definite dearth of leaders in this team and there would not be a better leader .Pietersen and flintoff could be seen as options , unfortunately they are such immeasurably talented players , one's that should not be handed the yoke of english cricket for the effect it has on them as brilliant performers.

    Vaughan's loss will be as sorely felt as his illustrious predecessor Hussain.

    The state of english cricket unfortunately might inspire the rewrite of a greek tragedy.

  • barrat on August 4, 2008, 3:58 GMT

    I think Alastair Cook as Test captain and Ravi Bopara as one-day captain will be a good choice, but definitely not Kevin Pietersen who always throws his wicket away.

  • Brendanvio on August 4, 2008, 3:27 GMT

    It is disappointing to see Vaughan go out this way. I respected his captaincy and the way he managed to lift himself against Australia. Enbgland are going to have to work hard to rebuild their team and that starts in this test against South Africa and ahead.

    KP was not going to be my initial choice as captain, but realistically, there is no better choice, certainly not Rob Key (Who can't even make the team on his batting)

  • wizman on August 4, 2008, 3:19 GMT

    Pre-occupation with Ashes 2005 is right! As a completely biased Australian I don't think Vaughan ran rings around Ponting, who I do not believe either is that great a captain.

    However, installing KP is a big mistake IMHO (as has been said before). I much prefer my captain to be one who makes "ugly runs", not a glorious strokeplaying genius. I prefer Steve Waugh to Mark Waugh for example, Allan Border and Mark Taylor were both individuals who got down in the trenches, Nasser Hussain was never accused of being classical, Smith is not either, etc.

    In the big pack of dogs, let the savage ones run wild, but don't make them leader of the pack. England would be better off with Strauss or Cook as captain.

  • redneck on August 4, 2008, 2:20 GMT

    well done to vaughan for hearing the fat lady's call. KP is not the answer!!! i agree with dcrowle makeing pieterson captain would only burden the most capable batsmen in the english team when they rely on him to make runs! it may also take that aggressiveness (eg that reverse sweep six) out of his batting to make way for the more composed head which any successful captain needs. also on a personal note why give the captaincy of a national team to a man who was at the start of the season was more than willing to potentially miss matches for england to pursue big bucks in india??? if the ecb had half a brain they would give it to Strauss or flintoff!

  • abhi000007 on August 4, 2008, 2:07 GMT

    We will miss you Vaughan :(. Thanks for all the wonderful cricket moments that you and your team gave to the cricket fans all over the world. To me, your captaincy signified aristocracy combined with cerebral prowess, and thats the way I liked English cricket.

    I really hope England wins back the ashes in 09, but after you, the chances of that appear very dim to me. I had never thought that such panic measures would be taken after the SA defeat. The team was coming back good, Collingwood was coming well, so was freddie, but they needed a leader that you were, but as the English board as always been, whatever has happened was not unexpected.

  • JB77 on August 4, 2008, 1:13 GMT

    Hopefully with Vaughan gone, the English obsession with the 2005 Ashes will end. As an Australian I can't belive the degree to which that series is STILL mentioned in the English media. Even selections for the 2009 series are being made with 2005 in mind: the phrase "reuniting the 2005 Ashes attack" should surely not be being mentioned three years on! Clinging to glories of the past have seen England stagnate. As for KP becoming captain.....The way the English media systematically destory every member of the English team (over-celebrating success before immediately forgetting it once poor form occurs and then hounding the player endlessly) I think you'll be doing the Aussies a huge favour - shackling your best batsman. Bring on 2009.

  • phoenixsteve on August 4, 2008, 1:09 GMT

    Wow! The comments and criticism continues..... Surely we need to accept that England team are human beings and as such imperfect! Sure, they have underperformed this summer and some of the criticism is valid and due. However let's not get into the Australian mentality of "win at all costs". The 'rub of the green' went against England this summer with some poor umpiring decisions. Michael Vaughan was a good captain and will be hard to replace. It's an opportunity for the entire team to move forward and introduce some fresh talent and for a new captain to make his mark. But please, no KP!..... he has none of the experience, character, intellect or empathy to be a successful captain. An end of an era has come, the king is dead.... long live the king! Come on England!

  • StJohn on August 3, 2008, 23:38 GMT

    Sadly, I think the combination of recent series losses, culminating with this one, plus lack of runs as a batsman meant that it was the right time for Vaughan to go. As for his legacy, I think it is too early to say: after all, he hasn't retired yet. Vaughan has been a very good captain, although his batting average as captain is only 36 (compared to 51 when not captain). Vaughan's own comments, his determination, his age and his talent all leave room for a 3rd comeback, whether as a batsman only or also as captain. Personally, I'd like to see him have a run purely as a batsman again. As for his successor, I'd give Strauss a run: he did a good job in 2006 and, more interestingly, Strauss' batting average is 40 as a batsman only, but as a captain (admittedly over only 5 Tests) he averages 56. Sometimes captaincy lifts a batsman's performance: maybe this would happen with Pietersen (but is it worth risking overburdening such a special talent?), but it is already indicated with Strauss.

  • Yutairui on August 3, 2008, 23:21 GMT

    As a neutral observer to this series, it comes as little surprise to see Michael Vaughn bow out, especially considering his poor form. What does come as a shock, however, is that Kevin Pietersen is the hot favorite to replace him. There is no doubt Pietersen is a wonderful batsman and a linchpin in the English team. I only know Pietersen from his public persona and it's certainly not very reassuring when it comes to the question of whether he has the maturity, let alone the nous, to captain a national team. History (Ian Botham, Andrew Flintoff, even Adam Hollioake) has showed that flamboyant characters at their best when allowed to run free have struggled with the demands of captaining England. I hope for England's sake that Pietersen will prove me and like-minded doubters wrong, but I get the ominous feeling that should he be appointed captain, it will be to the detriment of both the team and his own game.

  • Kooja on August 3, 2008, 23:18 GMT

    Vaughan is right to quit. He has done what he could, but he was no Ricky Ponting or Anil Kumble. He was average, and may be, the 'best England produced' since WWII; however, he was a less than average in batting, and I am not sure he batted very well under pressure, either. For all the hype, he gets a minus C, at best.

    He could have continued, however, and faced more brickbats than bouquets. He is not getting younger and chose the opportune moment to bid adieu. Every one has to quit, and I think, as a captain of a demoralized and outplayed unit, he had few options. Whether it called for an emotional and a teary-eyed end is another story for late night TV comedians but he is only human, so let him off the hook on that one ! Dr J

  • dcrowle on August 3, 2008, 21:37 GMT

    England still talking about 'great captaincy' when the took the ashes, but then have the nerve to say Vaughans captaincy went sour when his good players got injured. Let's not forget Australia didn't lose an Ashes test while Macgrath wasn't injured that summer and had he been fit for all tests no doubt the results would have been rather different. At least he's got his OBE to fall back on. Even then he only got 166 in one innings and a total of 160 for the other 9 innings... I agree with Batsmanwk. Don't kill Pietersens career by lumping him with a team that is overcongratulated when they win one match and denigrated when they lose. There's no perspective in English media so poor old KP will be burnt out in about 2 years himself. Heaven forbid if he fails a couple of times in a row...

  • TheDoctor394 on August 3, 2008, 21:26 GMT

    People's memories are getting shorter and shorter. Strauss doesn't warrant his place in the side?? Forgive me if I'm wrong, but didn't he win Man of the Series against New Zealand just a short time ago? He's faded a bit against South Africa, but come on... Ah well. At least everyone's favourite whipping boy, Ian Bell, isn't being called for the sack. Yet.

  • terrybelcher on August 3, 2008, 21:06 GMT

    I think KP is an inspired choice. Simply to get his focus away from KP. There is no way he would have played that ego shot on 94 if he were the captain.

  • whoster on August 3, 2008, 21:01 GMT

    Vaughan has been a magnificent leader for England, and I want to thank him for his vast contribution as captain and player. The timing of his resignation was typical of the dignity he showed as captain.

    However, the lack of quality players has been a hindrance to him as much as his own batting. England simply don't have the firepower of their 2005 attack that Vaughan then had at his disposal.

    As Vaughan himself once said, a captain is only as good as his players. There does need to be changes in the England side, because they simply haven't been good enough.

    Too many batsmen have been failing with too many poor shots, and new blood should be brought in and be given the chance to do better.

    PS. Congratulations to Graeme Smith, who deserves to celebrate a great victory and a great personal batting performance. Captains innings don't come any better than that. Also, Smith and Vaughan should be commended for the good spirit between the sides during the series.

  • nixon4england on August 3, 2008, 20:49 GMT

    moores should have gone, not vaughan. moores has caused england's performance to fall below what fletcher and vaughan produced.

  • batsmanwk on August 3, 2008, 20:42 GMT

    Vaughan will certainly be seen as one of England's most sucessful captains, but not a truly great one, as he was never able to sustain his best form while in the post. This fact should alert the selectors not to give in to the temptation to appoint Kevin Pieterson: let him go on being England's best player. It is prep.school thinking to make the "best" player captain (remember Botham and Flintoff's stints as captain? disastrous). You need a solid player, sure of his place, with the insight, intellect (yes, intellect - cricket is a thinking game)and character to perform better than when in the ranks. Go for Strauss, allowing for the possibility of a later return for Vaughan.

  • Immy93 on August 3, 2008, 20:17 GMT

    well speaking of captains...the best (possible) captain we would have loved to experience was Shane Warne...he would have made a great team greater..

    Ponting is ok...does the basics right....

  • dothestrand on August 3, 2008, 20:14 GMT

    Whilst it's probably right that Vaughan should resign after such a disappointing showing, I am just as much concerned by the lack of accountability by the coaching staff and selectors, who are just as much to blame for the downward spiral of English cricket in the last year or so. Moores, Miller and Graveney appear comfortable in their posts, using Vaughan as a convenient scapegoat. Why are they not being held to account?

  • moikei on August 3, 2008, 20:11 GMT

    I consider Vaughan, on his day, to have been a class act.Unfortunately these days became less and less frequent. The pity of his situation was that he was in charge of a woeful side who simply lacked (and still do lack) enough talent and skill to beat the better, classier sides. The juvenile behaviour we sometimes see on the field hardly contribute to a successful, more determined side.An inability to twice bowl out any worthwhile opposition surely tells it's own story. Erratic batting, non-penetrative bowling coupled with the mediocrity of recent wicket keepers surely spells out, in crystal clarity, that we're just not good enough.Let's see what team-spirit, joie de vivre and selflessness the new captain can bring to the side

  • whoster on August 3, 2008, 20:10 GMT

    It's a sad day for English cricket, but Vaughan has done the honourable thing. England needs a new injection of new ideas, and Vaughan, who has given his country everything, knew his time was up.

    He knew as well as anyone that 40 runs from 6 innings couldn't justify his selection. I hope he goes back to Yorkshire after taking a break - recharge his batteries, score runs,and possibly win his place back as player alone - as we all remember what a tremendous batsman he can be.

    I'm a big fan of making Pietersen captain. It would be a bold move, but I believe he'll thrive on the extra pressure. He's all too often been under appreciated by parts of the English media and fans, and to make him captain will show him just how much he is appreciated. I think he'll give the job everything, we don't know too much about his tactical acuman as a captain - but I believe he'll be a popular choice amongst the players. It would be a statement from intent by England.

  • FlyByNite on August 3, 2008, 20:02 GMT

    Elegant batsman, good captain, and another victim of England's cricketing establishment which always eats its young...

  • phoenixsteve on August 3, 2008, 19:55 GMT

    Interesting comments all around. Firstly as a devout England fan let me thank Michael Vaughan for all the fantastic effort and time at the rudder. KP for captain? I hope not - this guy's ego is already getting in the way of true greatness. England have a problem and may need to think 'outside the box' for a solution. My candidates would be Ramprakash, Bell, Collingwood (who prooved he has bottle)or maybe a new keeper/captain? Let us not over react to this loss which was to a side who PLAYED BETTER on the days(s). Come on England! Well played South Africa......

  • newyork2011 on August 3, 2008, 19:53 GMT

    I think its Great that he is going on his own terms. He also knows that its going going to be very hard to be included in the current England Eleven based on his current batting form. Its going to be interesting to see how Peterson handles the Captaincy burden, he is Englands best player and he might reach Great heights with the added responsibilties Good Luck to both of them

  • rv770 on August 3, 2008, 19:50 GMT

    He is a great captain and did serve his country well as a player and captain. Also played many memorable innings duirng his career. It is also important that no where mentioned as BCCI is the reason behind this which is common in western media

  • popcorn on August 3, 2008, 19:44 GMT

    Kevin Peteresen has ZERO experience as Captain. Stupid to make him Captain, that too for ALL THREE FORMS OF THE GAME. The logical choice is Andrew Flintoff.

  • Dixy109 on August 3, 2008, 18:50 GMT

    Might I point out to Simon_1 batsmen do not make necessarily make bad captains. For example Allan Border best batsman in the Australian side in the 80s, great captain. Steve Waugh best batsman in the Australian side in the 90s great captain. Ricky Ponting, best batsman in the Australian side in the 2000s, brilliant captain. Need I go on? I agree captains must set an example in whatever their specialist field may be but being a good batsman and bad captaincy are not in any way linked whatsoever. And also Michael Vaughan is not in the same class as Brian Lara or Sachin Tendulkar.

  • Manush on August 3, 2008, 18:39 GMT

    It is very unfortunate and premature retirement !!.He is a graceful and elegant player and definitely a good leader who will be missed sorely by England at this very testing time.

  • Dilanjith44 on August 3, 2008, 18:33 GMT

    yeah who's rob key??..think he throwed the bat in county 20/20 match last year!!!!..he'll play for his county and not for England!!!...yeah strauss doesn't merit a place!!!..not once i saw him getting on top of the bowlers!!every time it's a struggle for him getting runs!!!i would like Shah instead of him!!!..Shah is a good no3!!..and Vaughan will partner cook in his return...

  • kingofspain on August 3, 2008, 18:17 GMT

    Rob Key isn't even in the team. It has to be KP. The only other candidate is Strauss who barely merits a place in the team at the minute.

  • Dilanjith44 on August 3, 2008, 18:10 GMT

    Very much so!!!the step down had a lot to do with his current form!!!..it's not that he's out of nick if u saw the back-foot cover drive he hit on the second innings!!!..it's just that the things have not gone his way!!!..and there's a change or two to be made in the 11!!..the keeper has to go!!!...and England will have think of some way to get Harmison back!!!...need firepower to take the 20 wickets needed to win a test match!!!!....Vaughan didn't get it after the interruption!!!...now let him bat at his preferred position which is no1, and do what he is best at without the burden!!!he has a lot left in him!!!

  • Simon_1 on August 3, 2008, 18:02 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar best batsman in the Indian side- Poor captain. Brian Lara best batsman in the West Indian side- Poor captain. So Pietersen would have too much pressure as he would have to score 100s and captain and be unsuccesful. I would say Strauss as captain because he has done it before and he won such as the series win against Pakistan.

  • pragmatist on August 3, 2008, 17:21 GMT

    Please not Kevin Pietersen. KP should be left to be the brilliant, mercurial batsman he undoubtedly is. My vote goes to Rob Key - a player who is worth his place in all forms of the game - and has the support of vital players like Flintoff and Harmison.

  • heruramba on August 3, 2008, 17:18 GMT

    scared, stupidity to the core. vaughan resigning as the capitan on the basis of 1 series is rediculous.he brought back the true colur of english spirit. even smith lost a 2 series loss against srilanka as capitan.even jayawardene ,fleming have there bad days . this never shows they are not capable of performing.even colly resignation is the biggest suprise . he had won against 2 formidable sides,india and srilanka. one controversy should not lose his credentials. watch out for kp, having groomed against the king of captains under warne .he will win the champions trophy with a young budding side hungry for victory.

  • Dilanjith44 on August 3, 2008, 17:17 GMT

    Yeah he was a great captain!changed the complexion of the England team to his own image!!..he came in to the spotlight in the ashes down under in 2002/2003,and the amount of runs and the quality in which they were made made him the no1 in world cricket!!.always believed he was a batsman who set the tone for the innings and his best up front against the fast bowlers!!!..so i think slipping back to no3 is not the best thing that has happened for him,always believed he was an opening batsman!......he led brilliantly but the current state of the things i think it's the best decision he has taken to take some time off and return to the England ranks from the next series!!.i agree with the comment posted by TOMJS 100 that KP is not the one!!!.he is an ego player and in some instances his immaturity has stood out!!!but ECB should know that you can't win an ashes series with an ego captain!!!he'll be easily exposed in the mind games of captaincy!!!..and in the deeper battles of test cricket.

  • lazo on August 3, 2008, 17:16 GMT

    Vaughan's departure again diverts attention from the real problem which is England's pop gun bowling attack. SA coach Arthur alluded to it prior to the series.

    Vaughan in his press conference did not thank the selectors or coach who were obviously fooled by the performances of Anderson & Sidebottom against a mug NZ batting line up. When Sidebottom's injury forced a change they went for Pattinson. With Harmison back in form & England obviously needing firepower, he is picked but the coach leaves him on the bench. Amazing!! The commentators focused instead on England's batsmen who with their 40+ averages were not the issue.

    England had the players to beat SA and to be competitive against Aust. Harmison & Jones supported by Flintoff & Panesar. The keeper must go. Bring in the young gun from Worcestershire who together with Collingwood would have taken the last Test away from SA. Will the selectors make these changes? Unlikely. Will the commentators pick up on it? No chance!

  • Sudhey on August 3, 2008, 17:01 GMT

    No matter how great, a captain is only as good as his team, so Vaughan's backing out shouldn't make too many differences to the english team's fortunes. His decision itself has more to do with the fact that he hasn't been scoring runs of late than the pressures of captaincy, and seems to be the right one. I believe that whoever the selectors choose to be the next captain, they should pick some young untested blokes (and not the recycled ones) for the final test. It is after all a dead rubber any way, so nothing much can probably go wrong. As far as Vaughan's legacy is concerned, I think he himself would like to be remembered as a good batsman more than a captain, and in that regard, I think he has still got quite a bit left in him.

  • Sushrut-Cricketcrazy on August 3, 2008, 16:58 GMT

    English cricket has always been guilty of over theorizing the game. England has never won anything significant in cricket in the recent times apart from the 2005 Ashes series. In England captains are always viewed as someone who comes with a magic wand and would yield magic on the field and make all the difference. At the end of the day, matches are still won by taking wickets and scoring runs. A captain is as good as the team in cricket. Mike Brearly, considered the best captain ever cannot come and make Bangladesh the best side in the world by his captaincy. True a good leader can help tremendously in lifting the side and the players, but there is only so much a captain can do in cricket. So its unfair to project Vaughan as "the man" responsible for beating Australia and project him as a genius and put all the blame on him for the current rot. England played well in the 2005 Ashes and played badly against South Africa.

  • Patrick_Clarke on August 3, 2008, 16:51 GMT

    If Kevin Pietersen is to follow in the footsteps of Tony Greig and become the next South African born captain of England, let us hope it doesn't end with the same outcome as Greig's did, namely leading some of his star players off the world test match stage to mop up money on hand from foreign promoters, in this case the IPL rather than Kerry Packer.

  • TerryB on August 3, 2008, 16:39 GMT

    Let us hope vaughan returns to bat as he can. If it is to be KP let's not prejudge him. He is not a Flintoff or a Botham and I reckon he will rise to it.

  • Biso on August 3, 2008, 16:28 GMT

    England were beaten by a far superior team. Vaughan feels let down more by his own batting form than his team mates, whose individual capabilities put together do not really measure up to the South Aricans prowess. A new Captain may be England's future, hopefully, however, it may not be prudent to expect any wonders from him during the ongoing series.

  • r1m2 on August 3, 2008, 15:57 GMT

    I'd say Vaughan did achieve greatness before the knee injury. On hindsight maybe he was not fully captaincy fit upon his return, but unfortunately we have no way to judge if a former captain is still fit for captaincy after more than a year out of the game. There can be lots of speculation of "what if", but in the end, I'd still think Vaughan's run of successes pre and including Ashes 2005 was complete and enough to mark his captaincy record as the greatest from England in modern times.

    It's too bad that he has to go, but I think it's the right decision. He is going through a lame patch at the moment, but more importantly, he cannot be expected to win against any major teams with this 11. It seemed as though the decisions he's been making of late as the captain, were tied to Ashes 2009. It felt equivalent to be the effects of a proud old man, trying to revive glorious old days, but without keeping pace with the modern times. Now is the best time to start grooming the next captain.

  • tomjs100 on August 3, 2008, 15:52 GMT

    Well KP is a retrograde step.

    When will the ECB realise that great players do not make good captains? Freddie lead (if that can be the correct term) England to its first 5-0 ashes defeat in a hundred years, and yet we are appointing another Freddie character to be captain. KP's immaturity was once again signalled by his pathetic dismissal in the last test. He had to go to a hundred with a 6, and he lost the game through a silly slog. Someone with maturity and tactical nouse is needed, and with less of an ego. KP does not fit any of these requirements. Strauss or Cook should have the job, though Cook is perhaps a little young yet.

  • akashpurohit on August 3, 2008, 15:48 GMT

    Fantastic article - great captain, deserves all the plaudits he receives, he has changed the conception of the game with his team.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • akashpurohit on August 3, 2008, 15:48 GMT

    Fantastic article - great captain, deserves all the plaudits he receives, he has changed the conception of the game with his team.

  • tomjs100 on August 3, 2008, 15:52 GMT

    Well KP is a retrograde step.

    When will the ECB realise that great players do not make good captains? Freddie lead (if that can be the correct term) England to its first 5-0 ashes defeat in a hundred years, and yet we are appointing another Freddie character to be captain. KP's immaturity was once again signalled by his pathetic dismissal in the last test. He had to go to a hundred with a 6, and he lost the game through a silly slog. Someone with maturity and tactical nouse is needed, and with less of an ego. KP does not fit any of these requirements. Strauss or Cook should have the job, though Cook is perhaps a little young yet.

  • r1m2 on August 3, 2008, 15:57 GMT

    I'd say Vaughan did achieve greatness before the knee injury. On hindsight maybe he was not fully captaincy fit upon his return, but unfortunately we have no way to judge if a former captain is still fit for captaincy after more than a year out of the game. There can be lots of speculation of "what if", but in the end, I'd still think Vaughan's run of successes pre and including Ashes 2005 was complete and enough to mark his captaincy record as the greatest from England in modern times.

    It's too bad that he has to go, but I think it's the right decision. He is going through a lame patch at the moment, but more importantly, he cannot be expected to win against any major teams with this 11. It seemed as though the decisions he's been making of late as the captain, were tied to Ashes 2009. It felt equivalent to be the effects of a proud old man, trying to revive glorious old days, but without keeping pace with the modern times. Now is the best time to start grooming the next captain.

  • Biso on August 3, 2008, 16:28 GMT

    England were beaten by a far superior team. Vaughan feels let down more by his own batting form than his team mates, whose individual capabilities put together do not really measure up to the South Aricans prowess. A new Captain may be England's future, hopefully, however, it may not be prudent to expect any wonders from him during the ongoing series.

  • TerryB on August 3, 2008, 16:39 GMT

    Let us hope vaughan returns to bat as he can. If it is to be KP let's not prejudge him. He is not a Flintoff or a Botham and I reckon he will rise to it.

  • Patrick_Clarke on August 3, 2008, 16:51 GMT

    If Kevin Pietersen is to follow in the footsteps of Tony Greig and become the next South African born captain of England, let us hope it doesn't end with the same outcome as Greig's did, namely leading some of his star players off the world test match stage to mop up money on hand from foreign promoters, in this case the IPL rather than Kerry Packer.

  • Sushrut-Cricketcrazy on August 3, 2008, 16:58 GMT

    English cricket has always been guilty of over theorizing the game. England has never won anything significant in cricket in the recent times apart from the 2005 Ashes series. In England captains are always viewed as someone who comes with a magic wand and would yield magic on the field and make all the difference. At the end of the day, matches are still won by taking wickets and scoring runs. A captain is as good as the team in cricket. Mike Brearly, considered the best captain ever cannot come and make Bangladesh the best side in the world by his captaincy. True a good leader can help tremendously in lifting the side and the players, but there is only so much a captain can do in cricket. So its unfair to project Vaughan as "the man" responsible for beating Australia and project him as a genius and put all the blame on him for the current rot. England played well in the 2005 Ashes and played badly against South Africa.

  • Sudhey on August 3, 2008, 17:01 GMT

    No matter how great, a captain is only as good as his team, so Vaughan's backing out shouldn't make too many differences to the english team's fortunes. His decision itself has more to do with the fact that he hasn't been scoring runs of late than the pressures of captaincy, and seems to be the right one. I believe that whoever the selectors choose to be the next captain, they should pick some young untested blokes (and not the recycled ones) for the final test. It is after all a dead rubber any way, so nothing much can probably go wrong. As far as Vaughan's legacy is concerned, I think he himself would like to be remembered as a good batsman more than a captain, and in that regard, I think he has still got quite a bit left in him.

  • lazo on August 3, 2008, 17:16 GMT

    Vaughan's departure again diverts attention from the real problem which is England's pop gun bowling attack. SA coach Arthur alluded to it prior to the series.

    Vaughan in his press conference did not thank the selectors or coach who were obviously fooled by the performances of Anderson & Sidebottom against a mug NZ batting line up. When Sidebottom's injury forced a change they went for Pattinson. With Harmison back in form & England obviously needing firepower, he is picked but the coach leaves him on the bench. Amazing!! The commentators focused instead on England's batsmen who with their 40+ averages were not the issue.

    England had the players to beat SA and to be competitive against Aust. Harmison & Jones supported by Flintoff & Panesar. The keeper must go. Bring in the young gun from Worcestershire who together with Collingwood would have taken the last Test away from SA. Will the selectors make these changes? Unlikely. Will the commentators pick up on it? No chance!

  • Dilanjith44 on August 3, 2008, 17:17 GMT

    Yeah he was a great captain!changed the complexion of the England team to his own image!!..he came in to the spotlight in the ashes down under in 2002/2003,and the amount of runs and the quality in which they were made made him the no1 in world cricket!!.always believed he was a batsman who set the tone for the innings and his best up front against the fast bowlers!!!..so i think slipping back to no3 is not the best thing that has happened for him,always believed he was an opening batsman!......he led brilliantly but the current state of the things i think it's the best decision he has taken to take some time off and return to the England ranks from the next series!!.i agree with the comment posted by TOMJS 100 that KP is not the one!!!.he is an ego player and in some instances his immaturity has stood out!!!but ECB should know that you can't win an ashes series with an ego captain!!!he'll be easily exposed in the mind games of captaincy!!!..and in the deeper battles of test cricket.