New Faces for '94: Yorkshire's heir to Tyldesley tradition: The first in a series in which Independent writers nominate their stars of tomorrow - Michael Vaughan is making his mark at Headingley. Derek Hodgson on a young cricketer with a great pedigree

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The Independent Online
HISTORY will say that Sachin Tendulkar was the cricketer who broke Yorkshire's tradition of selecting only players born in the county. Yet the haste Yorkshire's committee displayed to change their rules was not in order to sign the then world's best under-21 batsman but to secure a lanky 16-year-old Sheffield schoolboy, Michael Paul Vaughan.

By a delicious irony,

Vaughan was born in Eccles, Greater Manchester. He had already attended nets at Northampton and Old Trafford, he had been 12th man for England Under-15 and played for England Under-17. The Yorkshire committee gulped hard, swallowed its pride, quietly anounced that players born outside but brought up in Yorkshire were eligible - and hoped that diehard members would not notice.

Lancashire committee members have since admitted that they realised they had missed a great prize, especially as they probably knew more about the lad's background than did Headingley. Vaughan has mighty cricket in his genes.

His family are related to the Tyldesleys and in fact come from the same village. At the turn of the century, the Tyldesleys produced two giants for Lancashire, the brothers Johnny and Ernest.

John Thomas Tyldesley, who stood 5ft 6in, was described by Neville Cardus, in 1922, as 'the best bad-wicket batsman of all time'. In the golden age of brilliant amateurs - MacLaren, Spooner, Jackson, Jessop and Grace - Tyldesley was the one professional who could match them, holding the England No 3 place for 31 Tests. He hit 13 double centuries for Lancashire, scored more than 3,000 runs in 1901 and was renowned for the sheer audacity of his play.

Ernest, the younger by 15 years, was no slouch; a more elegant player, he became a pillar of the great Lancashire side of the 1920s - four Championships in five years - and historians agree he deserved many more than his 14 Test caps. Such is Michael Vaughan's pedigree.

Fortunately his family have ensured he carries no weight of tradition; the Tyldesley connection is not dwelt upon. The Vaughans moved to Sheffield when he was a small boy and he grew up following Sheffield Wednesday and toddling down to the Abbeydale nets with his elder brother David. 'I wanted to be a footballer. I was a striker at school and at 13 was sent to Hillsborough but the coaches never invited me back. That's when I started taking cricket seriously,' he says.

His was so obviously a natural talent that within 18 months he was opening the batting for Yorkshire Schools and his progress since can be compared only with the rise of Mike Atherton. Whereas Atherton's potential was confirmed by his three years at Cambridge University,

Vaughan surrendered A-level courses to become one of the first intake at Yorkshire's Cricket Academy at Park Avenue, Bradford.

This month he is captaining England Under-19 in Sri Lanka - he scored 74 yesterday in a three-day match against Kalutara CA - having already led the Under-17 team and Yorkshire Schools. Again the Atherton label: 'I enjoy it. I like the responsiblity. I'm more nervous than I might appear but once I'm on the field nothing much much worries me.'

Nothing? 'Well, Wasim (Akram) gave me a difficult time and I had a few problems with Alan Mullaly.' Vaughan made 64 against Lancashire on his first-class debut at Old Trafford and would have appeared more often for Yorkshire had he not been required for the England Under-19 series against the West Indies. He scored two centuries for England.

Good batsman are almost always good golfers. The whole Vaughan family play golf and Michael can bring his handicap down to 10 when he plays regularly in the winter. The ability to manipulate a small ball, whether moving or static, the co-ordination that enables the correct measurement to be made for direction and distance, applies equally to both sports. 'I'm supposed to be weaker on the off side but I don't really see it that way,' he says. 'I prefer to think I'm stronger on the on side. I've always taken a little more care with my off-side play and I've always been able to whack anything on the leg side.'

He reads all sport, in all newspapers, he watches all sport on television and his immediate ambition echoes Len Hutton's at precisely the same age: 'To get a regular place in the Yorkshire team.' He is avid to learn, already taking cricket coaching courses, and wants to stay in cricket after his playing career. His present major concern is elsewhere, with the Owls. 'We need a couple of strikers, quickly,' he says.

(Photograph omitted)

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