Michael Vaughan yesterday confirmed what most England cricket supporters have been thinking for the past week – he was extremely fortunate to be given one of the 12 central contracts handed out by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Vaughan (right) has had a desperately disappointing time recently, losing three of the last four Test series he played in, results that culminated in him resigning as England captain following the team's defeat to South Africa in August. His form with the bat has been poor too. During the period of his last central contract he scored just 578 runs at an average of 27.5. Not the sort of performance that merits receiving one of the most lucrative deals English cricket has to offer.
The decision to offer Vaughan a central contact suggests that sentiment rather than a ruthless assessment of a player's value to the team were the controlling influence of the selectors. The former England captain's position was also helped by Kevin Pietersen, Vaughan's successor, who reportedly pushed hard on behalf of his close friend.
They must all believe that the experience Vaughan gained when captaining England to their 2005 Ashes triumph will be of great use next summer when the Australians return.
His form for Yorkshire since resigning as England captain has been poor, but he believes he still has a huge amount to offer with the bat. "The central contract is a huge bonus," said Vaughan. "If I am honest I think I am lucky. But over the last year and a half I have had some excellent innings. I think they have just repaid the fact that if I get back into form they think I can still play a huge part in the England cricket team. I want to play for England – that is my goal over the next 12 months, to make sure I get that one last crack."
* Cricket Australia will review security arrangements in India ahead of their four-test tour following a series of bombings in New Delhi on Saturday. The first Test starts on 9 October in Bangalore.