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Michael Vaughan

Michael Vaughan’s reign as captain saw England enjoy one of the most successful periods in their history and the highlight came when his side reclaimed the Ashes in 2005 after 18 years in Australia’s hands.

His relaxed style of captaincy brought the best out of his team-mates and he became the first England skipper to get his hands on the famous urn since Mike Gatting in 1987.

He had already secured a place in the history books as captain of the England side which won a record eight successive Tests in 2004.

Vaughan initially took on the role of England’s one-day captain after Nasser Hussain’s resignation following the 2003 World Cup campaign and later that year he followed Hussain again by taking on the Test leadership.

After touring with England A three times and captaining the team to South Africa and Zimbabwe in 1998-99, Vaughan made his international debut on the 1999-2000 tour of South Africa. He featured in four Tests which saw him play as a middle-order batsman and occasional off-spin bowler.

Michael Vaughan

The Yorkshire batsman was rewarded with a central contract for 2000 but injuries kept him out of the first three Tests of the summer before he returned for the Lord’s win against West Indies.

Injuries struck again and a calf injury forced him to miss the series in Pakistan but he did return for the deciding Test in Sri Lanka.

In 2001 Vaughan completed his first Test century against the touring Pakistanis at Old Trafford. That came following a majestic hundred for Yorkshire in the Benson & Hedges Cup quarter-final against Somerset but a knee operation deprived him of any involvement in the Ashes series that year.

2002 was Vaughan’s year to make a significant breakthrough as he cemented his place at the top of the order with Marcus Trescothick and produced a series of inspirational performances.

He started his amazing sequence by helping England save the first Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's with a century and in the second series of the summer against India, Vaughan collected another second-innings century in a winning cause.

That was followed by big hundreds in the final two Tests of the summer, scoring 197 at Trent Bridge and 195 at The Oval. Although disappointed to twice miss out on double centuries, his four hundreds in the summer signified he had made it at Test level and proved to all his immense talent.

On the subsequent Ashes tour his reputation took on legendary proportions as the centuries continued to flow.

Michael Vaughan

After his series exploits Vaughan was rated as the number one batsman in Test cricket and the first Englishman since Graham Gooch to be regarded as the premier batsman in the world.

In Adelaide he stroked an imperious 177 which should have set up a match-winning score for England. But it was in the Sydney Test that he played probably his finest innings as his 183 ensured an England win and he finished the series with a total of 633 runs at an average of 63.

After Vaughan took over the responsibility of the captaincy in 2003, he started with a series win against Pakistan in the NatWest Challenge which enabled him to lift his first silverware.

That was followed by more success in the NatWest Series against South Africa and Zimbabwe.

In 2004 he was at the helm as England recorded an historic Test series victory against West Indies in the Caribbean and his 140 in the final Test helped England hang on for a draw after Brian Lara's magnificent 400 had put the hosts in charge.

More success followed at Test level with a 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand, although Vaughan missed the first Test at Lord's due to a knee injury and the stunning impact made by his replacement Andrew Strauss saw him move down the batting order.

He then became only the third player to make centuries in both innings of a Lord's Test against West Indies and the 4-0 victory against Brian Lara's men saw Vaughan become only the third captain to lead England to seven successive Test victories.

Michael Vaughan

Later in the summer Vaughan led his side to another series victory, this time against India in the NatWest Challenge 2-1, and starred in the last game with 74 as England just fell short in their run chase.

The home programme ended with the ICC Champions Trophy and Vaughan went within a whisker of leading England to glory. He made 86 as England beat arch-rivals Australia in the semi-final but West Indies clinched a thrilling two-wicket win in the final.

Vaughan made an impressive start to the winter programme, too, and recorded his highest one-day score of 89 for England in the opening tour match against Namibia in Windhoek.

Another half-century - his 10th in ODI cricket - followed in the first match against Zimbabwe, and he was named man of the series, hitting 211 runs at an average in excess of 100 at the end of the 4-0 series win.

Vaughan then led England to an unprecedented eighth successive Test victory in a calendar year after their seven-wicket win in the series opener against South Africa in late 2004.

Only bad light prevented a ninth win when the second Test ended in a draw with England needing just two more wickets.

The tourists went on to complete a 2-1 series win - with Vaughan making two half-centuries in the decisive victory in the fourth Test - and he became the first captain to lead England to victory on South African soil since MJK Smith in 1965.

Even a 4-1 defeat in the one-day series could not take the gloss off a successful tour for Vaughan and his men.

Michael Vaughan/Ricky Ponting/NatWest Series Trophy

The summer of 2005 also heralded Test success as Vaughan led his men to a 2-0 whitewash of Bangladesh ahead of the long-awaited Ashes series against Australia.

The build-up to the Ashes included a 100-run thrashing of the Aussies in the first ever NatWest International Twenty20 match between the sides at Hampshire's Rose Bowl.

The success continued in the one-day arena as England topped the NatWest Series table ahead of Australia and Bangladesh before a dramatic final against the Aussies at Lord's saw the hosts pull off an extraordinary tie - and a share of the trophy - after being reduced to 33-5 chasing the tourists' 196.

Vaughan rediscovered his nack of scoring runs against Australia in the opening match of The NatWest Challenge at his home ground of Headingley, striking an unbeaten half-century (59 not out) and combining with Marcus Trescothick to steer England to a convincing nine-wicket victory, although the tourists won the series 2-1.

Vaughan was under some pressure when the Ashes began as he managed only 32 runs during his first four innings but he responded in style by hammering his fourth Test century (166) against Australia in the third npower Test at Old Trafford.

Michael Vaughan

© Getty Images

England could not quite take advantage as Ricky Ponting’s side held on for a draw but victory at Trent Bridge and a draw at The Oval saw Vaughan’s men claim the Ashes.

What followed were scenes that nobody involved will ever forget, as Vaughan's men were paraded through the streets of London and to Trafalgar Square where they were greeted by thousands of cheering fans before meeting Prime Minister Tony Blair at Downing Street.

After a much-needed break, England returned to action but their long run of success finally ended with a 2-0 defeat in the three-match Test series in Pakistan.

Vaughan missed the first Test with a knee injury suffered in a warm-up game in Lahore but was back for the second Test and returned to the top of the order for the final Test in Lahore and made his best score of the series with 58 in England's first innings.

He then returned home for the birth of his second child but also saw a specialist regarding his knee and it was decided that an arthroscopic assessment was needed which ruled him out of the one-day series in Pakistan.

He finished 2005 in style by being awarded an OBE for his services to cricket in the New Year's Honours list but was forced to return home before the Test series began in India in February 2006 after suffering further problems with his knee.

Michael Vaughan

Vaughan receives his OBE © Getty Images

He played intermittently for Yorkshire at the start of the 2006 domestic season but was still experiencing knee problems and underwent another operation which ruled him out of the Ashes series in Australia.

However, he was awarded an ECB 12-month central contract until the end of the 2007 season as the selectors chose to keep faith in him, and recognised by the ICC when he was shortlisted for the captain of the year award for 2006.

Vaughan stepped up his recovery from surgery by playing for the England Academy during their winter camp in Perth and was named as captain of the senior side for the Commonwealth Bank Series against Australia and New Zealand.

He picked up an injury to his left hamstring in England’s victory over New Zealand and did not play until the last group game against the same opposition. England won again to secure a place in the finals but Vaughan missed the 2-0 win over Australia after aggravating the injury.

He was named as captain for the 2007 World Cup but failed to prevent England's exit at the Super Eight stage.

A broken finger sustained on domestic duty for Yorkshire kept Vaughan out of the first npower Test against West Indies but he marked his comeback after an 18-month absence from Test cricket with a hundred in the second Test at Headingley Carnegie.

Victory at Old Trafford saw Vaughan become England's most successful captain in history - beating Peter May's record of 20 Test wins.

Prompted by increasing media speculation, he announced his decision to stand down as captain of England's one-day side during the fourth Test.

Vaughan hit a century against New Zealand early in the 2008 summer, but his form deserted him and, after defeat to South Africa in the third npower Test sealed a series defeat, he stood down as Test captain.

He chose to miss the fourth Test, later returning to county action with Yorkshire, but was awarded a new 12-month central contract in early September.

He was left out of the Test squad to tour India but was added to the England Performance Programme for a near month-long trip to the same country, although the Mumbai terror attacks forced the squad home early.

He missed out on England's squad to tour West Indies and for the return Tests at the beginning of the 2009 summer. With the Ashes looming and his chances of selection appearing increasingly slim, he announced his retirement as a player in June.