Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Return of Captain Fantastic

It's official, the cavalry is on the way - only the England version is coming over the hill on a gimpy knee rather than horseback.

It's the equivalent of being in a bar, absolutely hammered, and knowing that you're going to have a hangover the next day that is likely to make you want to tear your teeth out - so you think "well, what the heck - a large double scotch isn't going to me me feel any worse tomorrow is it - barman, start lining them up..."

England have sunk so low in the ODI world, and have plumbed the cricketing depths in general over the past few weeks that the recall of Vaughan is that double scotch.

On the face of it, it doesn't inspire confidence - his one day record hardly sets the world on fire - and there must still be some doubts over his fitness, especially as he'll be jumping into a format of cricket where there really is no hiding place in the field, and batting is all about constant motion.

But - being an England supporters these days means always being prepared to cling to blind, irrational optimism as our final solace . For example, on the fourth morning at the SCG I bet I wasn't the only one thinking 'well, if KP can get going and Read can hang around for a time and the tail can wag we might be able to set a tricky 150 target, and then with Monty on a turning wicket, who knows what might happen...' (Was I?!)

So I will say that Vaughan's leadership does give you a general sense of well-being. You always got the impression, watching an England side skippered by Vaughan, that he was very much in charge, and was always in complete control of events going on... even when England were on the end of a terrible shoeing with the opposition 450-5, you could look over and see him motivating his team, a quiet word here, a shake of the fist and quick handclap there - and also see that they took strength from that.

At Edgbaston in 2005, he single-handedly managed to hold the side together on the last morning when most of them were wearing facial expressions which suggested that they'd ingested more amphetamines between them than the entire audience at a Motorhead gig and Freddie was wandering around looking as though he was a step away from mass murder or chewing his own arm off.

Of course, the logical move would have been for Vaughny to sit out the rest of the winter, make a few warm up starts for Yorkshire in April and early May ready for a trumphant return at Lords against the West Indies on May 17th - but it seems to me that this England set-up stopped dealing in 'logic' some time ago. Instead, the management team are going for the 'stick it all on 26 black' option.

Here comes that large scotch - be ready with the Alka Seltzers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Vaughn Looked Ok Tonight - Michael