Cricket

Vaughan wants five-man attack

2010-05-25 07:47
Michael Vaughan (AP)

London - Former England captain Michael Vaughan has said the lesson of last year's Ashes triumph is that England must deploy five bowlers in Australia.

November will see the start of the latest Test contest between cricket's oldest international rivals, with England well aware they haven't won an Ashes series in Australia since 1986/87, when Mike Gatting was captain and Ian Botham still a thorn in Aussie sides.

In 2005, Vaughan led England, on home soil, to their first Ashes series win since Gatting's tour - and did so with a five-man attack of Stephen Harmison, Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones, Matthew Hoggard and Ashley Giles.

Vaughan expects England to win all six of their six upcoming home Tests, two against Bangladesh and four against Pakistan.

But he said the underlying talking point ahead of the Ashes would revolve around the balance of the England team, with Vaughan fearing coach Andy Flower and Test captain Andrew Strauss will opt for an extra batsman.

"The debate all summer will be about England's formation. Will it be six batters and four bowlers, or five and five?," Vaughan said in an interview on Monday.

"I firmly believe they are going to need five bowlers in Australia but I think this management group and Strauss will go with six and four.

"They will say they win as many games with four (bowlers) as they do with five. I guess the question I will say is 'well how many real top teams do we beat with four?'

"We beat Australia last year with 'Freddie' (Flintoff, who retired from Tests after the Ashes) in the team twice, at Lord's and the Oval, and with five bowlers.

"We beat South Africa in Durban (in December) but I look back at that series - drawn 1-1 - and think well, those last two games we looked pretty tired and our bowlers looked a little bit innocuous, particularly with the (Australian) Kookaburra ball.

"I think we need five bowlers. I think Tim Bresnan is a good enough batter to bat at seven, with Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad at eight and nine. But I think they will go in with six (batsmen)."

Vaughan praised Swann, who on Monday was named as the England team's player of the year, but feared for the consequences if Australia 'collared' the off-spinner as a member of a four-man attack.

"He's had a wonderful year but I just worry that if Swanny doesn't get it right and the opposition do attack him a little bit more, three seamers on days one and two looks very, very light," said the 35-year-old former Yorkshire batsman, who retired from senior cricket last year.

"Maybe they'll get some overs out of Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood but they are not going to do much damage. We'll wait and see. But from what I've seen of Andy Flower, I think they'll go with six batters."

Meanwhile Vaughan added England's win over Australia in the World Twenty20 final in Barbados this month - the first time the team had won a major international limited overs tournament - was an "amazing achievement".

"Four or five weeks ago, did anyone give England a chance? No.

"Did anyone give England a chance six or seven months ago when we were getting hammered by Australia 6-1 (in a one-day international series)? No.

"We were a laughing stock almost.

"So for us (England) to win the World Twenty20, after we lost to Holland in last year's tournament, is an amazing achievement.

"It's not as important as the Ashes, don't get me wrong. The Ashes is the pinnacle but, as an achievement, it's right up there."

Read more on:    andrew flintoff  |  michael vaughan
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