Vaughan predicts bright future
Captain Michael Vaughan believes his England side can be together for years and go on to ’great things’ after their historic Ashes success.
After sealing a 2-1 victory by virtue of the fifth npower Test draw at The Brit Oval, to record a first series triumph over Australia in nine attempts, Vaughan challenged his team to continue their progression to push for top place in the world rankings.
This result - the sixth successive series win for England - narrowed the gap on world number one side Australia and it was delivered by a team with an average age of 27.
Giving youth its head has paid off and the bold choice of Kevin Pietersen over Graham Thorpe, despite his 100 caps, ahead of the opening Test was thoroughly vindicated.
“The team we picked was a young team and one which, if we did well this summer, could go on to do great things,” said Vaughan. “Playing in a series like they have done and winning can only be good for them.
“All the players that played in this series will be available next time we go to Australia.
“The questions now are can we play well on the subcontinent this winter but most importantly can we play well in Australia in 15 months’ time?”
While Australia will be searching for new combinations and tweaking an ageing side in the aftermath of what has come as a shock to the nation, England have a stable base from which to launch their quest for victories in Pakistan and India over the coming months.
It is all a far cry from midsummer when Australia coach John Buchanan publicly exposed what he believed were English flaws, namely their entire top order.
However, Vaughan said: “It has proved a huge motivation to the team, to go out there and - not prove the Australians wrong - but perform at the ultimate.
“Test match cricket cannot get any harder than it has been this summer.
“There have been so many good points about every game it is very difficult to reflect on just one bit that sticks out as memorable.
“The support we have had has been exceptional, the crowds have really got behind us.
“Someone said it was like playing with 12 men but the last few weeks it has felt like they were our 12th and 13th men. For that I thank them.”
Choruses of Jerusalem roared around The Oval as Pietersen single-handedly, for an hour or so, hit England out of range of their opponents.
Pietersen hit seven sixes, a record against the Australians in an Ashes Test. It belied the fact England were under pressure with half the side dismissed before lunch and the great Shane Warne was producing exaggerated turn from out of the rough.
“The way he played showed the little bit of genius in him. It was an extraordinary innings,” said Vaughan. “He is an incredible talent.
“I actually enjoy the fact he has a life away from cricket: he doesn’t get beaten up by the fact he drops a catch or only gets 20 - to be successful at the top level you have to have that attitude.”