Michael Vaughan has announced his intention to stand down as captain of England's one-day side with immediate effect. Vaughan, whose place in the ODI side came under scrutiny following a poor World Cup, will not be retiring from limited-overs cricket, but anticipates that the focus for the remainder of his career will be on captaining the Test side, particularly with a view to reclaiming the Ashes in 2009.
Vaughan, 32, has been in charge of England's one-day fortunes ever since Nasser Hussain stepped down in the wake of the 2003 World Cup. He has led the side in 60 matches, winning 32 and losing 22, but in that time, he has been unable to establish his credentials as a one-day batsman. His career average is a meagre 27.15 from 86 games, and he has never made an ODI century.
His hold on the one-day captaincy was weakened during the recent World Cup in the Caribbean. He managed just 130 runs in England's first eight games of the tournament before massaging his figures somewhat with a quickfire 79 against West Indies at Barbados, and in the field he was unable to inspire his side in the wake of the infamous "Fredalo" incident in St Lucia.
"Since our disappointing performances in the World Cup, I have been giving careful consideration as to what is the best way forward for the England one-day team and my own role within the side," said Vaughan in an ECB statement. "I reached this decision some time ago, but I did not want to announce it until after the end of this Test series to avoid it becoming a distraction to the team.
"However, due to intense speculation in the media about my future, I feel it is important to make my intentions clear now. Our priority is to build a one-day squad able to compete strongly at the next World Cup, and I firmly believe that the interests of the team will be best served if I step down and allow another player to gain additional experience of captaincy in the one-day international arena.
"I am committed to continuing as England's Test captain for as long as I can be successful in the role," added Vaughan. "I enjoy the job and I also believe that I will be able to form a strong working relationship with whoever is appointed to the one-day captaincy. I will continue to play one-day cricket for Yorkshire and it is not my intention to retire from ODI cricket as a player. I do, however, fully appreciate that the new captain will need a period of time to establish his own authority over the team."
Vaughan recognises that the grievous knee injuries that forced him out of the game for 18 months will not stand up to the constant rough-and-tumble of ODI cricket, especially as it is another four years until the 2011 World Cup in the subcontinent. However, his hold on the Test captaincy has been consolidated since his return to the side. He cemented his place as a batsman with a century in his comeback innings at Headingley, and has since overtaken Peter May as England's most successful Test captain, with 21 wins in 35 matches.
On Friday, England's selectors announce their squad to take on West Indies in two Twenty20 matches and three ODIs. Paul Collingwood, who made his fifth Test century at Chester-le-Street on Monday, is widely tipped to take over Vaughan's role, although Kevin Pietersen is also considered to be in the running.