In a last-ditch attempt to retain the Ashes, England seemed prepared last night to recall Michael Vaughan. If this was an improbable scenario considering his slow recovery from knee surgery, it managed to seem highly plausible after the six-wicket defeat to Australia in the second Test.
Vaughan, who led England to the Ashes in 2005, is likely to play for England in the two-day match against Western Australia which starts in Perth on Saturday. He had been expected to appear in a club game for Bayswater-Morley. But yesterday it emerged that Vaughan had withdrawn. David Baird, the club coach, said: "I was told he would not be playing for us because he would probably be playing for England."
If Vaughan plays it can be only with a view to a recall, probably as captain. David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, said Vaughan was recovering slowly. Still official captain, Vaughan last played for England in Pakistan last year. If he is riding back into town he will need a white charger.