We'll keep our feet on the ground, says Vaughan
Michael Vaughan, the England captain, insists that there will be no "Ashes let-down" for his side when they play Pakistan. On the eve of England's departure for a three-Test and seven one-day match tour, Vaughan told reporters at the team's hotel that his side would have to be at their best to win in Pakistan.
"The Ashes are a massive goal and we attained that in the summer. It was great to play the cricket that we did in England. We'll certainly keep our feet on the ground but we have to draw confidence from the fact we beat Australia and played some fantastic cricket in the summer."
There are only five players from England's successful 1-0 win in a three Test series on their last tour of Pakistan in 2000-01 - Vaughan, Matthew Hoggard, Ashley Giles, Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Flintoff - in the current squad and Vaughan said his team would have to adapt quickly to the conditions.
"It's a big challenge and opportunity for the team to continue the progress we made in the summer," said Vaughan, who doubled up as a sightscreen pusher when England won five years ago in fading light at Karachi to clinch a dramatic series win. "The last two years the England team have played some good cricket and the tour to Pakistan is really going to test our skills in conditions which some of the players haven't played in."
Pakistan's pitches traditionally offer plenty of assistance to spin bowlers and although Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach and former England batsman, said he wanted to play the series on good rather than turning wickets, Vaughan was in no doubt about what sort of surfaces would confront his men.
"I would be very surprised if we go to Pakistan and it doesn't spin. But we have become decent players of spin over the last few years," said Vaughan. "Look at the World XI team (in the recent ICC Super Test in Australia) and the success Stuart MacGill and Shane Warne (both leg spinners) had against the best players in the world. That shows what success we had against Warne. He managed to take 40 wickets but we took him for a few an over."
Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, said the lack of hype in comparison to the Ashes would also work in the squad's favour. "After what took place it should be one of the best tours to go on. There should be very few distractions and I think that will be good for the side."
England will be without injured reverse swing specialist Simon Jones, one of their Ashes stars. "He will be missed because he has become a fantastic bowler with reverse swing, but it creates chances for Liam Plunkett, James Anderson and Alex Loudon," admitted Vaughan. "It will be a real challenge, but an exciting challenge. We just need to stick to our basics and get our plans right."
England play their first tour match in Rawalpindi, a three-day game, starting on October 31 with the first Test at Multan commencing on November 12.