Strauss set to reclaim opening berth
Tuesday 22 April 2008
England are set to abandon one of their winter plans in next month's first Test against New Zealand with Michael Vaughan relinquishing his opening berth to Andrew Strauss, who batted at three in last month's tour against the same opponents. When Strauss was omitted from England's pre-Christmas tour of Sri Lanka the Alastair Cook/Vaughan opening partnership was presented as a marriage made in heaven, with their contrasting techniques and scoring areas expected to cause bowlers and opposition captains all sorts of trouble.
Cook and Vaughan began encouragingly, compiling two century partnerships in the second Test against Sri Lanka. But in New Zealand the pair failed to give England the starts they were looking for, averaging just 35 for the first wicket. Vaughan was the main problem. The England captain scored only 123 runs at an average of 20.5 in the three-Test series.
In the final Test, Strauss, England's regular opener, struck 177. The contrasting performances have forced England to scrap the experiment and return to the batting order of last summer. Vaughan is keen on the change.
"In an ideal world, I would bat at three," Vaughan said. "Strauss is at three and I think he likes opening. I felt at my best when I have been batting at three and I score a lot more runs there, so it is an easy change."
Vaughan, who averaged 55 against the West Indies and India last summer batting at three, believes the move can help him regain the form of 2002-03, when he was the No 1 batsman in the world. "You have real periods in your career when you probably go beyond your normal and 2002-03 was a stage where everything went incredibly well for me," he said. "That period can come back." Ironically Vaughan opened the batting in 2002-03.
If Vaughan's form fails to return and his place in the team comes under pressure, Kent's Robert Key may be the man to benefit. Key was yesterday named in a 26-man England Performance squad.
Key was unfortunate to be discarded by England three years ago. He was dropped six Tests after scoring a magnificent double hundred at Lord's in 2004. Also in the squad are Adil Rashid, Yorkshire's exciting leg-spinning all-rounder, and Michael Carberry, the Hampshire opener who impressed during the England Lions winter tour. The rest were all selected by England during the winter.
Arsenal have no plans to stock Petr Cech inspired caps in their club shops - yet
Radamel Falcao to Chelsea: Former Manchester United striker 'signs contract' to join Blues and is told to meet up with squad on pre-season tour
Copa America 2015: When does it start, what channel is it on and who should I support?
England vs Japan Women's World Cup match preview: Lionesses get to grips with the publicity – and opponents
Venezuelan TV host gets completely naked while reporting on Copa America win over Colombia
- 1 Reader dilemma: 'Our son is 34 with an IQ of 85, and spends all his time in his room. What will happen to him when we're no longer here?'
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?