Today’s blog from my other half, who went to see cricketing hero Michael Vaughan:
I was fortunate to watch the Ashes tests at the MCG and the SCG in 2003, and saw two wonderful innings by Michael Vaughan of 145 and 183, so it was a pleasure to see him speak so eloquently about that series and the forthcoming back to back Ashes test series which start at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on 10 July.
He spoke about meeting up with the team at the hotel near Heathrow the night before they flew out to Australia in October 2002, and talking to the senior team members, asking them about how to play Warne and McGrath. They told him all about Warnie’s 15 deliveries, his doosra and his wrong’un, and McGrath’s ability to pitch the ball on a sixpence and make it move either way. When asked how he would play them, he said that if was up there to be hit, he would hit it. Hit it he did, scoring a total of 633 runs and being awarded player of the series.
He also said that he learnt a valuable lesson from that tour which helped him, as captain, to plan the winning of the Ashes in 2005. That lesson was that the old pros had to go, as they had too much negative baggage from previous beatings by the Aussies, and brought in players who has a fearless approach.
I was also at Edgbaston in 2005 at what he considers to be the best game he has played in. He paid heed to the luck that plays a part in any sport, recalling that McGrath trod on a cricket ball on the outfield whilst warming up and was carried off, not able to take any part in the match. Ricky Ponting won the toss and bowled, and England rattled up 407 in under 80 overs to take control of the match. On the evening of the fourth day, Australia required 107 to win with only 2 wickets left, it looked like a forgone conclusion (I stayed in my hotel room to watch) but Warne, Lee and Kasprowicz had other ideas, getting closer and closer to their target. Asked how he felt, Michael Vaughan said “I was shitting myself”. England finally won by 2 runs, and that proved to be the turning point of the series, with England going on to win the Ashes for the first time since 1987.
He spoke about the day he decided to retire, whilst playing at Worcester and laying on the treatment table whilst Yorkshire were fielding. A phone call came through saying that Joe Root and Johnny Bairstow had both scored 150 for Yorkshire II, and Michael turned to the physio and told him that he had made the decision.
Part 2 to follow on Michael Vaughan’s thoughts on the forthcoming back to back Ashes series.