x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

It's not child's play any more for Vaughan

The former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan confirms his retirement from all forms of cricket.

Michael Vaughan announces his retirement from cricket.
Michael Vaughan announces his retirement from cricket.

Just four months ago Michael Vaughan was training with Yorkshire's youngsters to demonstrate he had not lost his love of cricket. After standing down as England's most-successful Test captain, the fire still burned as he said how a winter break had left him refreshed for a renewed attempt to regain a Test spot for one final, glorious, battle with Australia in this summer's Ashes series. He said retirement was not an option, that he would like to play on until 40 if he could. But his feelings and fortunes have changed so quickly that, aged 34, he said farewell to the sport completely yesterday. Toiling in a gruelling county campaign with a lack of fitness and form - passing 50 just three times in 22 innings - he showed signs that his 16-year career was nearing an end. The final nail in Vaughan's cricketing coffin came not at historic Lord's or his beloved county ground Headingley, but the garden of his Sheffield home, when his son Archie, just three, dismissed him. "He bowled a ball, it hit a weed and knocked my off stump out of the ground," he said. "I thought now is the time. If a three-year-old is bowling you out, it's time to move over. "It's been a hard decision. I wanted to give myself one last chance of playing against Australia. But I haven't been playing well enough and my body is not reacting how I would like it to. "I always said in the dressing room the senior players have to be the most enthusiastic and I just started feeling, in the Yorkshire dressing room, I wasn't passing on that enthusiasm and it was time to move over. "I leave with no regrets. I want to be remembered as someone who gave my all; a nice player on the eye to watch." The timing of Vaughan's decision was made to avoid undue pressure building on England's batsmen ahead of the Ashes, which starts next Wednesday. The 2-1 win over Australia in 2005 on home soil proved the highlight of a career that saw him play 82 Tests, 51 as captain, following his debut for his country in 1999. He scored more than 5,700 runs at an average of 41. With Ravi Bopara trying to make the England No 3 spot his own, Vaughan, has no firm plans for the future apart from an offer to caddie for the golfer Lee Westwood at next week's Scottish Open. "It was always a long shot to get me back in [to the team]," he said. "The last thing players like Ravi Bopara needed was for me to get a 100 and for the media to build up my chances. "They need the chance to go out and express themselves. I wish the team all the best in an Ashes series they can win. I hope me moving on gives a great opportunity for the guys to go and create their own piece of history. "I always like us on our home shore. I like the job Andy Flower and Andy Strauss are doing in building this unit. "I'm enjoying the fact we've got bowling options that look like wicket-taking options. I think we've got 20 wickets in the tank in the Test series. I want to be at the Oval in August with everyone celebrating a great Ashes victory." akhan@thenational.ae