English cricket is a spectacle. It’s indeed the purest form of the gentleman’s game and to win accolades in it, is itself an achievement. The English play their cricket with a certain charm, but somehow their biggest prize- The Ashes – has eluded them for a long time. The likes of Ian Botham had to come and defy their norms of cricketing style to acquire their ultimate prize. But a certain elegant right hander came through the ranks- purely English in play-style, this Manchester lad made his debut for England against South Africa in 1999. Micheal Vaughan, went on to lead England and did so with utmost charm, such that there was indeed a big prize awaiting him. The 2005 summer in England was special and Micheal Vaughan was at the Helm of it all. On his 41st Birthday, ES brings you some of the best moments of Vaughan’s career.
4. Merry at Home.
In the English tour of 2001,the visiting Pakistani said was a formidable unit. With the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Saqlain Mushtaq in their ranks, the Pakistani bowling looked strong as ever. With 403 runs on a relatively true Old Trafford surface, Pakistan were in complete control when they had England 15/2. It was a situation of immense pressure as local boy Michael Vaughan walked in. But what followed was pure class. He notched up his first test century in style(120), as he put on 267 runs with Graham Thorpe. Vaughan seemed as elegant as ever and showed his home crowd that he is indeed here for the long run. England went on to lose the test match, but not before Michael Vaughan had won many hearts.
3. A liking to International cricket.
The Stellar innings at Old Trafford only fueled Vaughan’s hunger as an year later he accomplished himself handsomely at the top. India and Sri Lanka followed Pakistan, but Michael Vaughan remained steady. With 1481 runs in the 2002 calendar year, the former English captain stands to this day at the 10th position in the all time highest run getters in a calendar year. Scoring 615 runs, in 4 tests with a highest of 197 at Trent Bridge, Vaughan scored his highest ever score in test cricket. A batting giant with a cool head, Vaughan looked at ease against a strong Australian attack, down under in the 2002 Ashes as well.
2. Conquering Australia.
Playing at the big stage for an Englishman is not all, if he cannot play the Ashes. Vaughan’s chance at glory came in 2002-03 when England were vying for an improbable Ashes victory on Australian soil. Michael Vaughan immediately got into the thick of things in the 2nd test at the Adelaide Oval, scoring 177, as the English batting crumbled around him. He backed it up with a gutsy 145 in the Boxing day test in Melbourne, once again when almost no one gave him much support at the other end. His breakthrough innings however came in the final test at Sydney where he made an elegant 183, a match winning knock, salvaging the English some pride after yet another Ashes debacle in Australia. The innings showed maturity and indeed sowed the seeds of a rejuvenated Ashes hunger in an English side, whose backbone was Michael Vaughan.
1. Ultimate English Dream
It was Michael Vaughan who lit up ‘The English dream’. Captains came and went; Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain, Alec Stewart but finally it was Vaughan who broke the Jinx. 2005 is a faitytale, as far English cricket is concerned. Vaughan led his merry band of men, who were then the best cricketing side in the world, and looked to take on a rival opponent with easy grace. Vaughan himself contributed toward it with 326 runs including a 166 in the thrilling drawn test at the Old Trafford in Manchester. A certain ‘Freddie’ Flintoff provided the impetus and then the bowlers Harmison and Simon Jones did the damage. The Urn had indeed become a ‘reality’ for English cricket and Micheal Vaughan was at the helm.