Vaughan backs large elite team

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Michael Vaughan

England captain Michael Vaughan welcomes ECB's new initiative

England captain Michael Vaughan is hoping the formation of England's new 25-man central squad announced at Tuesday's strategic plan launch will prove an incentive for county players to break into the elite group.

The vision for an extended squad was included in the new strategic plan for cricket by ECB in an attempt to give Duncan Fletcher greater control over all the leading English cricketers.

It is a scheme which already runs in South Africa and Australia and England captain Vaughan believes it could act as a major spur to players around the country as they attempt to break into the elite squad.

"For Duncan to have a pool of 25 players will certainly be of great value to him,'' stressed Vaughan.

"He will be able to pull someone out of a game if need be or there may be special coaching sessions.

Michael Vaughan

Vaughan has benefited from being centrally contracted

"He may also be able to give someone a rest or bring him along to a Test match - there are so many things you can do when you are in control of the players.

"It also gives the players something to aim for and strive to get into that 25. If they can get into that 25 they know they will be close to an international position which is what we hope all players in county cricket are aiming for.''

England plan to announce further details about the elite squad in the next few weeks as they build up for the two-Test series against Bangladesh, which begins a major international summer.

Following that Test series they also face Australia in the NatWest Series and the NatWest Challenge before the Ashes, the major event of the summer, begins at Lord's on July 21.

"A successful England team playing well against anybody gets a lot of credit, but a successful England team playing against Australia will certainly generate a lot of news,'' added Vaughan.

"I have realised over the past few months just how big this Ashes series is going to be just from the amount of people asking about it.

"I guess the expectation levels have been driven higher and higher by certain quarters and when they start talking about cricket in March and April you know that cricket is going be in the forefront of people's minds this summer which can only be good for the game.''

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