No longer child's play for Vaughan
Michael Vaughan joked that being bowled by his three-year-old son was enough to tell him it was the right time to retire from professional cricket.
The former England captain, 34, closed the curtain on a glittering career that stretches back almost 17 years in front of a packed press conference at Edgbaston today.
Vaughan, England’s most successful post-war Test captain, pointed to his stewardship of the 2005 Ashes triumph over Australia as the pinnacle of his time in the sport.
But, having been overlooked for the training squad for the 2009 series, he feels the time is right to walk away - and he insisted he would do so with no regrets.
Vaughan, with a lump in his throat but minus the tears of last August when he gave up the Test captaincy, said: “It’s been a hard decision. I don’t want this to be déja vu from nine months ago, but you must understand it’s been difficult.
“My decision came two weeks ago at Worcester. I just started to realise that there are younger players - around the Yorkshire team first and foremost, and certainly around the England team - that need to be given the chance to move the game forward.
“I’ve given it my best shot. Seven or eight months ago I was thinking that I should step down before December, but I wanted to give it one last hard effort to try to get into the Ashes squad.
“I haven’t been playing well enough; in some instances my body hasn’t been reacting the way I would like it to.
“And I guess two weeks ago when in the garden with my little lad Archie bowled a ball, it hit a weed and knocked my off stump out of the ground.
“I think that was the time, if a three-year-old is bowling me out, then it’s time to move over.”
He continued: “I know it’s the right decision. I always say in the dressing room that your senior players have to be the most enthusiastic. I just had a feeling in the Yorkshire dressing room that I wasn’t passing on that enthusiasm.
“I’d like to be remembered as someone who gave my all. I don’t think I’ve left anything out there; I have no regrets.”
Vaughan, who ended his Test career with an average of 41.44, played down rumours he is ready to move straight into the media, but refused to rule it out after he has taken a well-earned break.
He also dismissed any suggestion of an immediate return in a coaching or management role for England but, again, left his options open.
Vaughan did admit to spending an hour on the phone with Andrew Strauss this morning discussing his decision, and the current England captain was quick to pay a glowing tribute to his former leader.
“It’s hard to speak highly enough about what he achieved as England captain. He really took England to a new level,” said Strauss.
“He showed a huge amount of loyalty to me personally, so I feel a huge amount of loyalty to him as a captain and as a friend.
“But his achievements can’t be underestimated, taking the England team forward, the way he captained, the relaxed manner in which he was to get us playing, as well as the very positive outlook on how to play cricket.
“He’s without doubt the best captain I’ve played under. It’s a sad day that he’s not going to be playing any more.”