Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pressure Is Rising for Vaughan to Hit Back at Critics

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pressure Is Rising for Vaughan to Hit Back at Critics

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID LLOYD

England's skipper has failed to bring his Test form to the one-day game but if he can bat well against Australia tomorrow it will give the whole team a lift, writes David Lloyd

NEVER mind the 12th man.

England want their main man, Michael Vaughan, to emerge from the shadows and take up a starring role against Australia.

Super subs and power plays may tickle the International Cricket Council's fancy and ensure that the largely superfluous NatWest Challenge earns an unwarranted place in history.

But for England to gain anything concrete from three more one-day matches - beginning at Headingley tomorrow and going on to Lord's (Sunday) and The Oval (Tuesday) - then the top order must start to function and win a few battles against Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.

Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss are well behind on points so far, which doesn't augur too well for the Ashes series.

If anyone in the home camp could do with a commanding performance right now, though, it is captain Vaughan.

The Aussies love having opposition leaders under extra pressure because they know any uncertainty at the top can soon spread through the rest of the team.

Murmurs in the media about Vaughan not being worth his place in the limited-overs side for very much longer must be like music to Australian ears, then - even if there is little sense behind the suggestion.

Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain were similarly doubted and, at one stage during Atherton's reign, England had a different one-day skipper in Adam Hollioake.

But unlike Atherton and Hussain, whose batting styles are better suited to Test cricket, there is absolutely no reason why Vaughan should not flourish equally well in the short form of the game.

His one-day average of 28 and his failure to score a century in nearly 70 innings don't make any sense, given his wide range of strokes and consistently excellent Test form.

But the sooner Vaughan goes around that corner and makes the big score he insists is lurking there, the better for his peace of mind and the more annoying for Australia.

Headingley, the captain's home ground, tomorrow would be the perfect place and time. …

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