Michael Vaughan of Yorkshire was today confirmed as England's one-day captain, following Nasser Hussain's decision to step down from the role after the World Cup. Hussain remains as Test captain for the time being, but Vaughan's elevation - above Marcus Trescothick, the vice-captain on last winter's Ashes tour - gives a clear indication of the selectors' current views about the succession.
It is the first time England will have had separate captains for the Test and one-day teams since the brief flirtation with Adam Hollioake (many people's choice again this time) as one-day skipper in the later stages of Mike Atherton's reign as Test captain.
Vaughan, 28, who recently became the first man to have his picture on the cover of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, said: "It's a great honour to captain your country and I had no hesitation in accepting when the selectors offered me the job. It's something that I've always wanted to do and I intend to enjoy it. Nasser is an inspirational leader, and he will be a tough act to follow as one-day captain. But every captain has his own style of leadership and I want to do the job in my own way.
"I'm under no illusions. Whether it's Test or one-day cricket, the England captain's decisions are always under the microscope. That doesn't bother me. I'm a big believer in the team ethic and if England are to improve at one-day level, we need 11 captains out there, not just one."
Vaughan's first assignment will be the three-match NatWest Challenge series against Pakistan, which starts at Old Trafford on June 17, followed by the three-way NatWest Series, which also involves Zimbabwe and South Africa.
For all his success in the Test arena (he scored 1481 Test runs last year, with six centuries), Vaughan's one-day form for England has been patchy. He has played only 26 ODIs, scoring 564 runs at 23.50, with a modest highest score of 63, against India at Cuttack in 2001-02. In the recent World Cup he managed only 139 runs in five innings.
But David Graveney, England's chairman of selectors, has no doubts about Vaughan's pedigree. "As well as being a world-class batsman, Michael is a strong character with a sound cricketing brain," he said. "While he does not have extensive captaincy experience at county level, the selectors firmly believe he has the personal attributes required to handle the pressures of the England one-day captaincy both on and off the field."
Graveney continued: "We have no qualms about splitting the Test and one-day captaincy in this way. Other countries have operated this policy successfully and we see this as a terrific opportunity for Michael to demonstrate his undoubted leadership qualities."
Neither Vaughan nor Hussain will be on the England selection panel, which has one new face: Rod Marsh, 55, the former Australian wicketkeeper who is now the director of the ECB's cricket academy. He joins Graveney, the coach Duncan Fletcher, and Geoff Miller on the panel.
Marsh said: "This is a natural extension of my current role as academy director, and I'm looking forward to it. There is plenty of talent within county cricket and I see my job as helping to spot and develop those players who have the potential to take the step up into international cricket. They don't necessarily have to be players who have been through the academy. I'll be coming into the job with a completely open mind and a real desire to try and help England progress as a side."