It is always sad when a player retires from international cricket, but it’s depressing to know that a highly stylish batsman like Michael Vaughan had to announce his retirement after being ignored for the England Test squad for the Ashes series.
The captain, who led England’s historic series win against the mighty Kangaroos in 2005, was not considered good enough in 2009, which is a sad fact which Vaughany (as he was popularly known by team-mates) will have to live with for the rest of his life.
He could not get back in plain whites for his last hurrah. Some selections in the side can raise many questions, but this is not the time to ponder upon what could have been Vaughan’s last farewell. If only life could have been penned in a happy script, there would have been many fairy-tale endings. Definitely it’s not a fitting swan song but there are many things in life, which remain unfulfilled affairs; for example who could have thought that Jacko would moonwalk to history before his final O2 tour.
For Vaughan, it is just the end of his cricketing career; for it opens an array of opportunities for this brave and one of the most expressive English captains ever.
Born in Lancashire and having played for it, Vaughany was never a happy man for he always wanted to be a Yorkshire lad and did achieve his goal by managing an honorary status.
His friends and team-mates will remember him as one of the most influential Captains with a no nonsense approach. He took over the troubled crown after Nasser Hussain quit English captaincy under tremendous pressure generated from back to back series defeat. It looked like England had lost its capacity to ever beat a good cricketing side and could only be a match to Bangladesh or Zimbabwe.
Vaughan’s ascendancy to the hot-seat during those days did not change anything in him, but certainly changed the fortunes of the England cricket team and thus the team started doing pretty-well within the next few weeks. Those who have seen Vaughan play would miss that splendid flow of the bat and classical square cuts, which would go in text-books as copy-book shots. He played the square drives better than anyone in international Test playing arena and his departure would, definitely, deprive fans of those carpet drive fours, dissecting fielders with a precision of a scissor which would be the envy of even orthopedic surgeons.
More than his 18-Test centuries and many victories, Vaughan is known in the cricketing world as a thorough gentleman, who is a rare commodity today when players make much of body language and sledging. Expectedly then, while announcing his retirement, Vaughany said, “I want to be remembered as a nice player on the eye to watch, and as someone who gave my all. I leave with no regrets. I captained with an instinctive nature and I was fortunate to lead a determined team that played with an aggressive style.”
His illustrious career was cut short due to a knee injury as he went under knife right after the 2005 epic Ashes triumph. Up-next, England badly missed his services mid-way through the Pakistan series.
So when Vaughan announced his retirement at Edgbaston – the same venue which had seen hugely contrasting moments in his career, one when he led England to the famous 2-run victory over Aussies in 2005 and his final Test in 2008 against South Africa when he limped off the ground after facing humiliating defeat against South Africa- reactions poured in from all quarters.
Zeecric.com brings to you some of the best tributes attributed to Michael Vaughan:
Kevin Pietersen: "I remember one of the first things he said to me - coming in at The Wanderers to play South Africa in that huge series when 60,000 people were looking as if they were going to kill me. He walked up to me in the middle of the wicket and said `The ball is white; the ball is round, you know what you`ve done to get here, just watch it as hard as you can`.”
"To be honest, that calmed me right down, from being a gibbering wreck walking on to that field to the player that I am now because that`s all I do now. I just watch the ball. Every thing else is rubbish”
Andrew Flintoff: "So far I`ve played my best years of cricket under him. He gave confidence to the team, I can speak from experience on that one, and he is a mate as well."
Paul Collingwood: "There was a real calmness about him. Whenever you look at your captain in pressure situations and he has a smile on his face and is jovial about things, I really think it gives the rest of the players a calmness. He was just a really great bloke and a great team man, and that`s what stands him out from other people I`ve played with."
Andrew Strauss:“He really took England to a new level, and he showed a huge amount of loyalty in me personally, so I feel a lot of loyalty as a captain, and as a bloke and as a friend.”
Matthew Hoggard: “He used to make me laugh, stationed under his sun-hat at mid-off, and yelling to me, ‘Hoggy, get off those office steps, you`re not going up there. Now get down and sweep the freaking floor.’ It was lovely to be captained with such a fresh approach.”