England desperate to win it for Fletcher
England may have nothing at stake in their last World Cup match against West Indies in Barbados tomorrow, but Michael Vaughan says they need to win for outgoing coach Duncan Fletcher. Fletcher announced his resignation on Thursday after an eight-year stint which saw England regain the Ashes at home in 2005 before losing it again last winter.
But he had little reason to be satisfied with his last World Cup assignment as England failed to qualify for the semi-finals after under-performing in big matches in the second round. England have so far posted just one win against a Test-playing nation when they beat Bangladesh in a Super Eights game, their other victories coming against debutants Ireland, apart from Canada and Kenya.
Vaughan said he felt sad the coach was leaving the job "not in great circumstances" and it was now up to his side to put in a winning performance in his last match. "He has had a huge influence on my career, so it's a sad moment for me. I know he has influenced my game a lot and Saturday is the last chance and we hope to produce one last performance for him," he said. "I think he needs fresh challenges, a fresh start. I am sure many people around the world will say he is among the top coaches. He has been a fantastic coach and I think he still has a lot to offer to cricket."
England enjoyed considerable successes under Fletcher, including a record eight successive Test victories and Test series wins in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and South Africa. Their best in recent months came in Australia when they won the CB Series involving New Zealand and the hosts. England also rose to number two in the ICC Test rankings under Fletcher.
Vaughan described Fletcher as an "outstanding coach" and an "outstanding person". "In eight years you become like a family and you develop a friendship. It's a sad moment when an outstanding coach and an outstanding person is leaving you," he said, and added that he did not think anyone had done more for English cricket than Fletcher who was succeeded by Peter Moores.
"It will be nice to play a good game of cricket and have a victory for him," said Vaughan, who himself is struggling in the ongoing tournament with just 130 runs in eight matches. "Now the pressure is off, but we are desperate to win the farewell game for Duncan and for all our supporters. We know we are not going to be in the semi-finals, but we are going to try and win the game to give them something to cheer about. We have not played well as individuals and we now have to make sure we put in a good performance."
Vaughan said he was looking forward to working with Moores. "His [Moores'] record is very good and I think he is very similar to Fletcher -forward thinking. I am sure he will do a great job. I am looking forward to working with him. He has huge enthusiasm for the game. I like the way he thinks about the game and I am sure he will bring a lot to England cricket."
The match will also be the last international appearance for Brian Lara. "He [Lara] is an outstanding player and has enjoyed playing against England," said Vaughan. "The atmosphere will be great. It's England v West Indies in Barbados ... full house, Fletcher's last game, Lara's last game. It should be a great spectacle."