Captain will be allowed 'to do his own thing'

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The Independent Online

Michael Vaughan will attend his first practice session as England's new captain today with every sympathy from his Lord's employers for the speed of his promotion.

David Graveney, the chairman of selectors who will officially present Vaughan to the media as captain at Lord's today, said: "I feel a bit sorry for Michael going into his first Test as England captain with only two days' notice. The timing is clearly right for Nasser and it is a bit harsh to plunge Michael in like this, but he has the same Test team around him that played at Edgbaston, seven players from the one-day squad he has already captained and the same management and back-up teams to help him, and I'm sure he'll do very well."

The selectors are also keen for Vaughan to draw upon that experience, although Graveney believes he must be given room to breathe during the early stages of his captaincy to enable him to grow into the job.

"Having Nasser in the dressing-room will be a big help," Graveney said. "I know Michael Atherton found it useful to have Graham Gooch to turn to for advice, and in turn Alec Stewart leaned on Michael, and Nasser had both of them to use if he wanted. The important thing is to allow the new captain the space to do his own thing. He must be allowed to make his own decisions and if he wants help he'll ask for it, but I'm sure that will happen anyway.

"How Michael handles the job is very much up to him. We can give him guidance and practical help, and try to ease the burden, but he has already shown he is capable by the impressive way he has taken to the one-day job."

Graveney revealed that when Hussain informed him of his decision, there was no attempt by the selectors to change his mind. "Nasser's decision was a bit of a surprise, but I could understand his reasons," he said. "He first told me in the morning and I had a number of chats with him during the day about it, but it was clear he had good reasons for doing it."

Hussain did not give Duncan Fletcher prior notice of his decision, but the England coach was full of praise for his performance as captain. "Nasser has been very passionate about captaining England. I don't think people appreciate how passionate he is. That is the one disappointment for me ­ that people are prepared to criticise and not realise he just wants England to do well and will do anything for the England team."

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