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Jun 30, 2009

Former England Skipper Michael Vaughan announced his retirement

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan announced his retirement from all professional cricket with immediate effect here at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Yorkshire batsman said the time was right for him to step aside and allow a new generation of players their chance to shine.

"It's been a hard decision," Vaughan, who as captain led England to their 2005 Ashes series triumph, told a news conference at Edgbaston here on Tuesday.

"The decision came two weeks ago at Worcester when I realised there were younger players around the Yorkshire team, and certainly England, who need to be given a chance to move the game forward.

"I wanted to give it one last effort to get into the Ashes squad. I've given it that shot but haven't been playing well enough. I've had a great career."

Vaughan, England's most successful Test captain, has not played for his country since tearfully resigning the captaincy in August during the home series loss to South Africa.

His career has been blighted in recent years by a knee injury and speculation about Vaughan's future intensified after Vaughan failed to win a place in England's squad for the Ashes series against Australia which starts next week in Cardiff.

"It was always a long shot to get me back in ," Vaughan added. "The last thing players like Ravi Bopara needed was for me to get a 100 for the media to build up my chances.

"Wherever I've played this year I felt that warmth and crowd reaction to try to give me one more chance. I now move on and wish the team all the best in an Ashes series they can win."

Vaughan said he'd known for a while his time was up. "I was getting 30 or 40 and suddenly I was getting out - in the past that wasn't happening.

"It's very hard to explain when you know it's time to move on but it felt right to go before what's going to be a great Ashes series. I started emotional here today but it almost feels like I've been released."

He added: "Two weeks ago in the garden my little lad Archie bowled a ball that hit a weed and knocked my off-stump out. If a three-year old is bowling you out, it's time to move over."

Reflecting on his career, Vaughan said: "The Ashes in 2005 was the pinnacle. "We captured the nation and cricket hadn't captained the nation for a long time."

Asked what the key to his captaincy was, Vaughan replied: "I was a good actor. Captaining your country is a very special moment and the skill is making sure no-one knows what you're thinking."

Vaughan, who stressed he'd made no plans yet about his future, said he was encouraged by the way in which England under coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss were developing as a team.
"I like the job Andy Flower and Andrew are doing. Andrew is a great leader and so far he seems to be dealing with it in a similar fashion. I'm sure he'll do a similar job."

Vaughan said he'd been proud to play in an era of rapid change in cricket.

"I started at 16 in Yorkshire's second team and there was a can of lager at the table. Now it's smoothies, ice baths and Twenty20 cricket - and it's been a privilege to come through it."

Paying tribute, Strauss said: "I learned a great deal from watching him captain the side for five years at close hand and his ability to identify a new strategy for outwitting the opposition or bring the best out of his own players was a priceless asset.

Vaughan's record as captain during his five year spell in charge from 2003-2008 of 26 victories, 11 defeats and 14 draws, make him England's most successful skipper in terms of overall wins.

England's 2005 Ashes series win - which included a nailbiting two-run win at Edgbaston - was the crowning achievement of Vaughan's time as captain with his knee problem leaving him sidelined for months at a time.
Unsurprisingly, his form as a batsman - which had seen him touch the realms of greatness during the 2002/03 tour of Australia when he made three hundreds - also began to decline.

Desperate for one last series against Australia, Vaughan vowed to regain his place through sheer weight of runs but so far this season he has managed just 147 runs in seven County Championship innings for Yorkshire.

Meanwhile the emergence of Bopara, who this year has made hundreds in three successive Tests against the West Indies, at No 3, also dented Vaughan's hopes of a recall.

Vaughan scored 5,719 Test runs in 82 matches at an average of 41.44 with 18 hundreds and a best of 197 against India at Trent Bridge in 2002.


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