Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: This Time, We Need to Deliver - Skipper; 'The Pressure's on for England'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: This Time, We Need to Deliver - Skipper; 'The Pressure's on for England'

Article excerpt

Byline: Myles Hodgson

MICHAEL Vaughan leads England into this week's opening Test against New Zealand admitting they are under pressure to perform after failing to live up to expectations in the last couple of years.

England have won only three of their last eight Test series since winning the Ashes in 2005 and lost their last two successive series, at home to India and in Sri Lanka before Christmas.

With the 2009 Ashes series now looming over the horizon, England captain Vaughan knows it is imperative to build some momentum before then if they are to have any chance of beating Australia.

But before they begin making plans to combat Brett Lee, Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds, they first have back-toback series with New Zealand to negotiate and, although England are favourites, Vaughan knows they must deliver as a team.

"We have to look to develop a team now that can beat New Zealand here, beat New Zealand at home and beat South Africa and really progress towards those Ashes in 2009," stressed Vaughan. "That is a long way off but the building blocks and the stabilisation of the team should be starting now if we're really going to This time, we need to deliver - skipper 'The pressure's on for England' Myles Hodgson have a chance of winning those Ashes next year. There's a pressure as a unit to try and get ourselves back to consistent cricket. We've got to be realistic and realise that if we don't start doing it now, questions will be asked because this is a great opportunity to play good cricket, hopefully win some games and get some series wins under our belt."

Even Vaughan, heralded as the best captain in the world three years ago, is now coming under scrutiny after successive series defeats, although he insists he feels under no greater pressure now than at any time since taking over the job in 2003.

"I don't think there's a day when you're not under pressure as England captain," he claimed. "I haven't felt under any more pressure than I've been under in the last few years, but I think the team realise we need to start playing good cricket. …

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