If he manages to get fit and actually find a place in the starting 11, that is. I firmly believe that Michael Vaughan is an astute captain, able to motivate his players to play as a team rather than as individuals. This quality, undoubtedly, helped England win The Ashes last year.
However, there is a big difference between the last series and the impending version. Michael Vaughan was not in the greatest of form at the time, a series average of 32.60 is testimony to this fact. England, and thus Vaughan's saving grace was that most of his star players were in form. Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones and Kevin Pietersen exhibited career-defining performances. They were supported, in bits and pieces, by the likes of Hoggard, Harmison, Strauss and even Geraint Jones with the bat.
The big difference between now and then, is most of these players will begin the series with little or no performances of substance in the recent past. In the bowling department:
- Flintoff hasn't bowled in a match for quite some time.
- Harmison is poor traveler and patch, at best, on tours since that ground-breaking tour of the West Indies.
- Simon Jones is not even here.
In the batting department:
- Trescothick is quite likely to sulk home claiming a "stress-related illness".
- Strauss has been in mediocre batting form of late.
- Apart from Collingwood, the rest of the middle order have not looked like putting up big totals, consistently, against good quality bowling attacks.
In this state, can the Poms really afford to have an under-prepared Michael Vaughan back in the team? Will an out-of-form team be able to carry a player/captain who may offer nothing more than an inspiration value, with his presence?
My answer to these questions is a big NO. The English team need players who are fully fit and have had recent match practice that will stand them in good stead to improve their performances during the Test matches. What do you think?
PS. Who will be captain if Vaughan returns?
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