The England and Wales Cricket Board will today unveil Michael Vaughan as the new England one-day captain.
Following Nasser Hussain's resignation from the post, at the conclusion of England's failed World Cup campaign in March, several candidates were considered. They included the Surrey captain, Adam Hollioake, and Vaughan's fellow Test opener Marcus Trescothick. However after weeks of deliberation it is Vaughan who the selectors decided on as the man best equipped to lead English cricket into a bright new future.
Hussain will continue to captain the Test side during this summer's seven Test matches against Zimbabwe and South Africa. After stating he would like to remain in charge of the Test team for some time yet it is unlikely the 35-year-old will relinquish this position quite as readily. However, it was with an eye on Hussain's successor in the Test arena that Vaughan was chosen. Exactly when this change takes place will depend on how well England fare against their African opponents over the next four months. Success, and Hussain will probably continue. Defeat would see Vaughan leading England to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean during the winter.
The appointment capsa remarkable 12 months for the 28-year-old, who is now ranked as the No 1 batsman in the world. This time last year the Yorkshire opener was viewed as a talented player who had not yet made the most of his ability. In 16 Test matches since his debut against South Africa in 1999 he had scored just one hundred and was averaging 31. Vaughan's longest run in the Test side – because of injury as well as selection – was four matches.
Since returning from New Zealand in 2002, however, the Lancastrian has been an inspiration. After scoring a hundred in the first Test of the summer at Lord's he never looked back. In all Vaughan scored seven centuries in the 1,533 runs he amassed at an average of 76.65. Batting at No 3 he has not had the same success in the one-day game but after Nick Knight's retirement Vaughan will no doubt fill the vacant opening spot.
Naming Vaughan initially as one-day captain should prove to be beneficial because it gives the selectors a chance of slowly introducing him to the pressures of leading a national side. As a youngster he captained a number of the teams he played in but until now he has had little experience of leading or managing men. As a popular member of the team he will receive full support but it is to be hoped, for England's sake, that the job does not have a negative affect on his batting.
Vaughan's first game in charge will be against Pakistan at Old Trafford on 17 June but before then he needs to sit down with the England coach, Duncan Fletcher, and devise a plan and a short-list of players who they feel may bring England success in the next World Cup. Following the retirement of several leading players, it is an ideal time to take over. There are some good young cricketers around, the slate is clean and he has the opportunity to take the England one-day side in the direction he wants. It will not be long before he is offered the same responsibility in Test cricket.
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