Vaughan keeps focus as it rains on his parade

Disappointment for 14,000 as thunder and lightning puts paid to Twenty20 clash at Headingley. Richard Edmondson reports

The England captain was on home territory, at Headingley, skippering a World XI against a Yorkshire XI in a Twenty20 match as part of his benefit. But then the whole of England may soon be home for the captain. He may not know what an empty glass is ever again.

Vaughan had with him the likes of Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen and Steve Harmison, which also meant he had with him 14,000 ticket holders. Simon Jones was missing and there was no sign of Matthew Hoggard but all the other England players were on the scorecard.

It all seemed an attractive proposition, right up to the time it was determined that Vaughan's side would bat first. At 5.10pm, a close and brooding evening exploded. The huge crowd scattered as Leeds was visited by thunder, lightning and driving rain, in all honesty the sort of weather Vaughan would like to bag up and take down south for five days next week.

There is, though, a further injury worry to report. Fatigue has come to Ashley Giles's spinning fingers after a signing session in last night's gloom. Watch out for Giles's autograph wherever you are today. It is on small bats, shirts, hats and cards. The other England players also serviced the crowd once the match was abandoned.

The influence of cricket is everywhere, too, as Ashes victory beckons and the significance of the summer game escalates. We may soon be seeing more cricketers on those playing fields not sold off.

Cricket, mercifully, is not the new football though, notwithstanding the language from Ricky Ponting and Simon Katich when dismissed at Trent Bridge. Lip-readers of a certain disposition are still recovering in a darkened room.

Indeed, the juxtaposition of the Test series with the start of the Premiership has done footballers no favours. Their posturing seems more absurd in comparison with the gleaming heroes of the gentlemen's sport. There is a hardness to the engagingly rough-hewn Flintoff which his name suggests, yet also a compassion for defeated opponents. In addition comes an Alf Tupper quality about him. You could imagine the man training on takeaways and shandy. He is a character who can duck not only bouncers, but, thus far, the temptations which accompany huge celebrity at a young age.

Flintoff's greatest gift though is that, cricketing genius apart, he appears thunderously normal and seems to think of himself in those terms. He is a figure you can picture cleaning his car on Sunday mornings or playing in the pub darts team. You would not want to be the board, though.

The star of Vaughan has never been brighter. There has been a Gary Kasparov touch about his deployment of troops and he is fast approaching the station of guru, a sort of Mike Brearley with runs. The skipper has the Aussies where he wants them, 2-1 down and rattled, complaining the rules are being bent.

But, as he loped off the square in his jolly green giant outfit yesterday, one thought must have kept Vaughan away from hubris. The simple geometry remains that if Australia win at the Oval, the Ashes are retained.

There is also a history lesson to heed. It was in this county in 1992 - 30 miles down the M1 in Sheffield - that Neil Kinnock prematurely celebrated a victory which seemed to signify the end of a long run by his most significant opponents. He never got another chance.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project