Three thoughts about today's announcement...
1. Michael Vaughan has been given one of the central contracts – based on what? His performances in the last year? Probably not. So the assumption must be that he’s going to justify a contract over the next twelve months. Surely a better bet might have been to defer it until such a time as he actually scores some meaningful runs.
I’d love to be proved wrong – if only because the sight of Vaughan smearing Australia all over the park next summer would be one to treasure, but there comes a time when all professional sportsmen need to realise that ‘maybe we ain’t that young anymore’ To my mind Vaughan has reached that position. Barely an interview goes by without either him or the interviewer harking back to the Ashes tour of 2002/03 and Vaughan's stunning performances in that series, but that was six years ago.
2. I’d have made Monty’s contract conditional on him learning how to bowl an arm-ball. Samit Patel can – which sets you thinking that maybe he might be a better bet as the left arm spin option next summer – especially taking into account his batting ability, the fact he can field, and obviously has a sound cricketing head on his shoulders.
3. The ‘increment’ list of contracts is a sound idea – not totally ruling out Ambrose, and offering some encouragement to the likes of Prior, Shah and Bopara. However, it would be have good to see some of the regulars on that this as well – like most of the batting line up. A ‘prove you’re worth a full contract in India and you’ll get one as a Christmas present’ line from the selectors might have helped focus a few minds. Instead, everyone’s back in the comfort zone.