Michael-Vaughan-2

Born October 29, 1974, Michael Paul Vaughan is best remembered for reigniting the fire in a docile England cricket team and leading them to an Ashes win in 2005 — a feat achieved after a long gap since 1986-87. Vaughan might have bowed out of cricket grappling with fitness issues and form in June 2009, but he remains one of the finest batsmen emerging from Yorkshire, scoring more than 5,700 Test runs and close to 2,000 runs in 86 One-Day Internationals (ODIs). Devarchit Varma recalls 15 interesting facts about England’s most successful Test captain till date.

1. First-Class debut to Test cricket

Born in Salford, Lancashire, Vaughan started playing cricket for Yorkshire in the year 1993. Vaughan had to invest six years of hard work in a bid to make it into the England Test cricket team.

2. Test debut

England were in a nightmarish situation when Vaughan strode out to bat for the very first time in international cricket. At Johannesburg in 1999 South Africa had England reeling at 2 for 2 after 2 overs (they were later reduced to 2 for 4), and Vaughan could not have got any better opportunity to prove his mettle. Vaughan faced 84 balls against a rampant South African bowling attack, cracking 8 boundaries to score 33. His was the second-highest score in a forgettable innings for England, wherein they were shot out for mere 122. England lost the Test by an innings and 121 runs.

3. Liking for India and Bangladesh

Vaughan enjoyed scoring against India and Bangladesh. Against India he averaged 72.57, whereas against Bangladesh, he amassed close to 400 runs in only 4 Tests at an average touching 75.

4. Best productive phase

The year 2002 was Vaughan’s best as a batsman. He played 14 Tests and scored 1,481 runs at 61.70 with 6 tons and 2 half-centuries. Against India in 2002 he smashed consecutive tons, with a monumental 197 at Trent Bridge. He turned up at The Oval with the determination to slam a double hundred, but missed out by five runs.

5. Slamming the arch-rivals

Vaughan did not disappoint when he toured Australia in 2002-03 — his only Ashes series Down Under. He recorded 633 from 5 Tests, the first incidence of an Englishman scoring more than 600 runs in Australia in an Ashes series since 1970-71.

6. Elevation to leadership

Vaughan became England ODI captain in 2003. When Nasser Hussain stood down from leadership role two weeks later, he was appointed for the role.

7. Creating the history in 2005

There are theories explaining England’s historic win in Ashes 2005, but what stands out is the fact that Vaughan build up his team appropriately for the contest. The Australians were rampant, but England were made to believe they were equal to the challenge. The resources were vast, and there were years of concentrated work towards the goal. England managed to register a 2-1 victory coming from behind, and Vaughan, along with the then coach Duncan Fletcher deserves rich praise.

8. The beginning of pain

Vaughan suffered a knee injury once again, and missed out England’s build-up for the Ashes 2006-07 Down Under. To England’s nightmare, their captain and batting mainstay stayed away from action as Australia lampooned the tourists 5-0. All England and their fans could muster were unanswered prayers of a miraculous recovery for Vaughan.

9. The end

Vaughan walked away from cricket in June 2009, bowing out as he struggled with form with the bat and fitness issues.

10. Most successful

Vaughan lead England in 51 out of 82 Tests he played, and with 26 victories, he is their most successful skipper in history. With 32 wins in 60 ODIs, Vaughan is currently England’s second most successful captain in 50-over cricket after Alastair Cook.

11. An expert off the field

Vaughan joined BBC’s Test Match Special (TMS) team in late 2010 around the time of England’s historic Ashes in Australia. Vaughan has established himself one of the most popular as well as a jingoistic voice for England.

12. Michael Vaughan, OBE

In late 2005, for turning England team into Ashes-winners, captain Michael Vaughan and coach Duncan Fletcher were honoured with OBE.

13. The infamous use of Vaseline

As England were making mockery of a star-studded Indian cricket team in the 2011 Test series, Vaughan chirped in with an allegation that was way off the mark. He alleged that VVS Laxman was using Vaseline on the edges of his bat to prevent HotSpot picking faint edges. Vaughan’s comments expectedly invited the wrath of Indian cricket fans, who continue to attack him on Twitter on the same.

14. Twitter-spat with Flintoff

In the wake of the incident involving David Warner and Joe Root in Ashes 2013, Vaughan recalled that Steven Harmison and Andrew Symonds also had a scuffle in the same Australian-themed bar. Andrew Flintoff certainly did not like when Vaughan wrote “It’s okay… Steve can’t read”, and told his former captain that the Harmison deserved loyalty.

15. Love-hate relationship with England cricket team

Vaughan continues to have a love-hate relationship with England cricket team. In wins, he would be screaming at top of his voice, but turns into a staunch critic in wake of defeats.

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)