Name: Michael Vaughan
Claim to fame: The captain who brought the Ashes back to England
For the last 18 long years, victory had evaded England. Finally, it was Michael Vaughn, the 31-year-old captain of the English cricket team, who did what no other captain had done in nearly two decades. He won the Ashes back for England.
Michael Vaughanís cricket career started 12 years back when he debuted for Yorkshire in 1993. From the onset, he showed tremendous promise with his calm and composed playing style. So much so that he was voted the Cricket Societyís most promising young cricketer, and soon afterwards he became captain of the Englandís Under-19 team.
Michael Vaughan made his Test debut for England against South Africa at Johannesburg in the 1999-2000 season. In 2001, he scored his first Test century, which was against Pakistan, a team he will be battling against this coming winter.
In the same year his county, Yorkshire, won their first Championship title for over 30 years. The following year there was a succession of Test centuries as Vaughan amassed 1481 Test match runs with an average of 61.7. Vaughnís impressive run on the field continued, to the extent that in 2003 he was favoured and elected as Englandís One-Day captain, following Nasser Hussainís resignation. Till then, England had been going through one of the worst and probably the longest dry run in cricket history. The teamís batting collapses had become the most predictable feature of every Test they played. But after Vaughan took over, the team turned a new leaf under his astute leadership.
In 2004, England, under Vaughan, won a record eight successive Tests, climbing to the second place in the Test rankings. In the process they routed the West Indians on their home soil ó the first time in three decades an England team had achieved such a feat. Returning home, he won seven out of seven Tests by whitewashing first New Zealand (3-0), then West Indies (4-0), and went on to record a memorable 2-1 series win in South Africa. Ironically, that is the same scoreline that has ensured him long lasting fame, if not immortality.
Leading the series 2-1, England managed to secure a draw in the fifth and final Test at The Oval last Monday, ensuring Vaughan to become the first English captain since 1987 to win the series. Later, Vaughan said: ďItís been an emotional summer of cricket, fantastic for the game. I canít praise the players and management enough.Ē
Although his performance with the bat did not compare with the likes of Kevin Pietersen or Freddie Flintoff, nevertheless Vaughanís captaincy was a crucial part of the Ashes victory and many pundits viewed Vaughanís approach as superior to that of his Australian counterpart, Ricky Ponting. Indeed, all the cricket pundits are now awaiting his teamís arrival in Pakistan for yet another memorable series. ó Atif Khan[