Sydney: Former England captain Michael Vaughan has slammed the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over the number of Twenty20 matches played before the Ashes, saying that he would `punch them in the face` if they tried to defend themselves.
Vaughan has been infuriated by the fact that there have been no County Championship fixtures for a fortnight, with the competition taking a break to accommodate the start of a T20 tournament, days before Wednesday`s first Ashes Test.
Insisting that every English player should have been playing four-day cricket by now to give them the best chance of retaining the Ashes urn, Vaughan said that he would punch ECB officials in the face if they tell him that it is not worthwhile for the team to play Essex, then Sussex in a four-day game starting on Monday in the middle of the T20 event.
Stating that he is sick and tired of talking about scheduling, Vaughan, who captained England to one of their greatest successes over Australia in 2005, also said that the Ashes is the biggest thing that happens in this country, adding that England players would have been better suited playing a competitive county match under pressure than playing Essex.
Responding to Vaughan`s outburst, an ECB spokesman said that scheduling is about the whole series and the entire summer, adding that he thinks that the board has taken the correct decision.
Meanwhile, England all-rounder Stuart Broad told opener Nick Compton it was up to him to force his way back into the Ashes if he is left out of the squad for the first Test, adding that he could understand why Compton would feel `harshly treated`.