Monday, 18 June 2007

Vaughan's resignation paves the way for a new ODI era

Michael Vaughan has always been a poor one-day player, and it now appears he will never have the chance to rectify this. But his decision to resign the ODI captaincy must be applauded; it is in the interests of both himself and England.

The nature of the shorter formats of the game is such that the chances of Vaughan receiving an injury would be greatly accentuated. At 32, he is probably one major injury way from retirement, and seriously damaging his knee in ODIs or Twenty20 would be a desperately sad end to his international career.

Vaughan’s aim is surely to regain the Ashes in 2009.To achieve that, he needs an extended run in the Test side, establishing stability so lacking in the past 18 months while proving he can still score runs against the world’s finest attacks. Frankly, it makes no sense for him playing in one-dayers. As he has admitted, he will not be around for the 2011 World Cup.

That in itself was not sufficient reason to dispense with him – Australia continued with the likes of Lehman, Bevan and Bichel after the 2003 tournament – but, moreover, England’s chances of success either at the Twenty20 World Cup this year or the 2008 Champions Trophy are not greatly enhanced (if at all) by his presence. So it is a sensible solution for all concerned for him to resign now, having reaffirmed his hold on the Test captaincy against the West Indies.

People will point to Nasser Hussain resigning in 2002 for evidence of the instability two skippers can cause, but Hussain was far less suited to compromise than Vaughan; they are traits that served him very well as skipper, but he was fundamentally not suited to be a ‘half-skipper’.

Vaughan, however, is more laid-back and, though he can be very stubborn, should not suffer greatly from having someone else lead the ODI side, especially as the most likely candidate – Paul Collingwood – would be unlikely to do things in a very different manner. That said, I would prefer to entrust Kevin Pietersen with the extra responsibility as he is by far England’s best player, has a very astute cricket brain and, in ODIs, attacking captains are almost always the most successful – and, if nothing else, he would surely be that.

See 'One Day Options'

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