Pick Rashid ahead of Moeen - Vaughan
Michael Vaughan believes it is time to replace Moeen Ali with Adil Rashid in the England Test side and for Gary Ballance and Ian Bell to swap the places in the batting order as England prepare for the start of the Investec Ashes.
Vaughan, England captain when they won the 2005 Ashes, feels that Rashid's legspin can help England cut through Australia's tail and fears Moeen is not bowling with the confidence required to withstand the likely assault he will face. While Vaughan accepted that Australia would also target Rashid, he feels he is bowling with such confidence following the ODI series against New Zealand that he can come through such a challenge.
"I certainly would have Rashid in the squad and I'd be looking to play him," Vaughan said. "I just think it would be something that Australia wouldn't expect. I think they're expecting to face Moeen. "If England can surprise them and play just a little bit above the level they did against New Zealand, I think it will surprise Australia.
"I just look at Rashid the other day flicking them out at Durham. If he does well in the four-day game at Durham as well, I'd just throw him straight in as a young chap who's confident. He is on the crest of that one-day wave, so I'd just play him.
"With the way that he bowls and the way England have really struggled to get rid of tails, it is something different that England might surprise Australia with."
Vaughan admitted that Rashid is not the finished article, though. He cautioned against too much expectation in him and suggested that Alastair Cook, as captain, would have to find a way to assist him, in first innings especially.
"I wouldn't expect him to whip through the Smiths and Clarkes in the first innings," Vaughan said. "Any top-order player will probably attack him. And in the first innings, on good pitches, you would have to manage him very well. But with careful management and careful field settings he certainly can play a big part."
Vaughan suggested Moeen can still perform an important role for England in the future. "I think Moeen is terrific, I really do," Vaughan said. "I think he's going to have years and years with the England side. But he has had a difficult time of it of late. He has not quite been as consistent and he has not been having the long spells as he has not been taking wickets.
"When you go into an Ashes series you have to be so confident in your own ability and you have to be on top of that confidence level to compete. I just don't know if he's got the confidence level. He's not bowling enough overs for me to suggest that he's bowling with that fizz like he did last year.
"He bowled great against India. But you don't pick someone for what was happening last year. And if they go one-nil down it's going be a long series."
Vaughan believes Bell would benefit from the demonstration of confidence a promotion to No. 3 in the batting order would provide. Bell currently bats at No. 4, with Vaughan suggesting he could swap places with Ballance.
"The way Ballance played against New Zealand was a concern but he's tough," Vaughan said. "He got good balls, but his feet weren't moving as well as he can. So I'd make the change. I'd put Gary at No. 4 and Bell at No. 3. I just think that every now and again Bell needs a prod and a poke. He should gain a lot of confidence by someone telling him he's No. 3.
"That could knock Gary's confidence, but I just think he's better suited at four. I look at the whole order and you can have left hand, right hand down the order. At the moment, we have three lefties at the top of the order. If you have three of one suit in any position of the order, you can get used to captaining against it."
Hardys of Australia are proud sponsors of England cricket. Show your support this summer with #HardysENG or #HardysAUS to win prizes
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo