Vaughan aims to rebuild morale on one-to-one basis

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The Independent Online

Michael Vaughan has wasted little time in taking command of England's beleaguered cricketers, a move that emphasises why he is such a highly regarded captain. In the aftermath of England's Ashes hiding and as part of the team's preparation for the World Cup in the Caribbean in March, Vaughan and Duncan Fletcher, the coach, have had one-to-one meetings with each member of the one-day squad.

"The meetings were with Duncan and Michael and they lasted between 30 and 40 minutes," said Andrew Strauss on the eve of England's opening one-day international against Australia here in Melbourne.

"They were a pretty informal chat and, I suppose, they were looking for some feedback from us to where we feel we can improve as a side. The meetings also gave them the chance to tell us where we as individuals can improve.

"They have given us all some direction leading into the series and let us know what we need to work on. They had nothing to do with Test cricket, they were all about the one-day set-up and it is helpful for us all that we are clear about the roles we are expected to play. I am sure Duncan and Vaughny got some decent stuff out of it too.

"We have got the one-day squad together for quite a long period of time and we will spend the next four months concentrating on this form of the game. We have an intensive one-day series here and then it is pretty much straight into the World Cup.

"We will not be chopping and changing personnel and we are building towards a very important tournament, so it is a great time to sit down and say, 'Right, how do we want to do things up to the World Cup?'"

One of Vaughan's many strengths as a captain is his attention to detail. He works on the principle that is vital for a team to get all the little one per cent things right if they are to perform to their full potential.

England have yet to name a vice-captain but such an approach would appeal more to Strauss than Flintoff, and it is why he would be the favourite to take charge should anything happen to Vaughan.

Strauss spoke glowingly about Vaughan and the way in which he leads. "Having him back is like seeing a relative who has been away for a long time," he said. "Every captain leads in the way their character and personality tells them to. Fred [Flintoff] is always up there and at them whereas Vaughny is more laid- back.

"He is very familiar, as is his style of captaincy. It is a method that has worked very well for him in the past. I have always been amazed by the sense of calm that he brings and, in a situation like this, when we have been involved in a very tough Test series, it is a useful attribute to have. He tries to take the pressure off players by encouraging them to go out on to the field feeling that they can express and enjoy themselves.

"We all feel that there is some unfinished business to deal with in Australia. I feel I still have some runs to score out here. We feel that we can still prove that we are good players.

"One-day cricket has been the format that has let us down in recent years and we are going out there with the sense that we do not have a great deal to lose. If we can play the sort of cricket we know we can, we may surprise a few people," Strauss added.

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