Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Skipper Aiming to Raise English Spirits; Vaughan Urges Side to Express Themselves

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Skipper Aiming to Raise English Spirits; Vaughan Urges Side to Express Themselves

Article excerpt

Byline: MYLES HODGSON

MICHAEL Vaughan's first task after returning as England's captain will be to determine the extent of the "mental frailties" among his squad following the humiliation of their Ashes whitewash, writes MYLES HODGSON.

The 32-year-old Yorkshire batsman completed a remarkable recovery from long-standing knee problems, which have sidelined him for the last year, by being confirmed as skipper for the triangular one-day series against Australia and New Zealand.

He takes over from Andrew Flintoff, who has presided over the majority of England's matches in Vaughan's absence, including the first 5-0 Ashes series whitewash since 1920-21.

Vaughan expects to inherit a squad scarred by the hammering of the last six weeks but believes he can pick up the 16-man party and encourage them to express themselves again in tomorrow's Twenty20 international against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground and the one-day series which follows.

"I do expect there will be a few mental frailties after what's happened, but that can soon change once you start winning a couple of games," said Vaughan. "I hope we can win a few games, entertain a few people and try to get that freedom of expression back in the players, because we do have players who like to express themselves on the pitch.

"That's my job in the next few weeks - that they don't feel inhibited in any way, don't feel scared of any situation and they go out and try to express themselves and try and take Australia and New Zealand on in this one-day series."

As a member of the side four years ago who were on course for a whitewash until they won the final Ashes Test in Sydney, Vaughan is sympathetic to how the majority of the one-day squad are feeling as they prepare to switch to limited-overs cricket.

Nine players who featured in the Ashes mauling are in the ODI squad.

Vaughan said: "We realise we've played a very good Australian side, who put us under enormous pressure, and on every occasion every time the situation arose, one of their players put their hand up and got them through the tough times. …

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