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Alan Tyers goes behind the scenes
With Michael Vaughan finally breaking his silence on England, captaincy, celebrations, Number 10, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, injuries, the IPL, David Shepherd, the state of the county game, the price of fish, an interesting-shaped shrub he saw on his way to the interview this morning, and anything else that anyone wants him to talk about, we turn our hidden cameras on the Michael Vaughan Media Centre.
A phone rang and was answered by Ashley Giles.
"Hello," said Giles. "Michael Vaughan Media Centre. This is Ashley speaking, Michael's assistant and former very useful left-armer who often chipped in with valuable runs down the order and was a terrific team man and great value in the 19th hole. How can I direct your call?"
Giles listened to the receiver, making careful notes on a piece of "Official Michael Vaughan: Pundit"-headed notepaper. His tongue lolled.
"I'll just see if he is in the other shed," said Giles.
"Not shed," hissed Vaughan, sticking his head through the door. "How many more times? The Media Centre Suite B - Broadcast Operations. Christ's sake, Gilo."
"Erm, hello?" said Giles into the phone. "I am afraid he is conducting an important interview at the moment in a statesmanlike yet accessible manner."
"Take a message," mouthed Vaughan.
Giles gave the thumbs up, and listened intently to the phone, cradling the receiver on his shoulder and eating a pickled onion thoughtfully.
"It's Brearley," he said to Vaughan. "To be fair, he's using a hell of a lot of long words, but I think the gist of it is that he wants to set up some sort of Captaincy and Motivational School with you. Sounds a bit boring to me."
"That's brilliant Ash," said Vaughan. "Could be a great project. We could be like the Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker of cricket-branded business leadership seminars. And if you could remember to cover the phone mouthpiece while you're passing on the messages, that would be great too."
Giles slammed the phone down in horror. Vaughan rubbed his temples as if in pain.
"Outside calm, inside freaking. Remember Edgbaston," he muttered.
"What's that now?" said Giles.
"Nothing Ash," said Vaughan.
"So how was the interview?" said Giles.
"God, it was a nightmare," said Vaughan. "My young lad Archie was asking the questions. I thought he'd just be tossing me up a few long hops - 'Tell us about how proud you were to lead your country,' 'Your thoughts on the structure of county cricket', that sort of thing."
"Right you are," said Giles. "Question of Sport-type stuff."
"Young Archie, though, he's completely stumped me. 'Daddy, why is the sky blue?' and 'Why don't you ever see baby pigeons?' I was groping around like Shane Warne at a Nursing College Halloween Party."
"Nightmare scenario, skipper," nodded Giles. "He's totally Paxmaned you."
"Maybe it's time to announce my retirement from international media punditry," sighed Vaughan.
"Shall I arrange a press conference, boss?" said Giles.
"Better do Gilo, better to go out on my own terms," said Vaughan. "Besides, there's lots of younger ex-pros who should be getting first-rate media exposure and I don't want to stand in their way."
"Press conference it is, then," said Giles. "Shall we have it in the shed?"
"In The Media Centre Suite B - Broadcast Operations," said Vaughan.
"Yeah, in there," said Giles, reaching for the phone and a pickled onion.
"Go on then," said Vaughan. "And chuck us over one of them onions. I'll see if I can't ginger up a bit of the old waterworks for the cameras."
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