Caddie's rise suits Vaughan to a tee


Last updated at 19:16 06 October 2007

As recentlyas two

years ago Paul Collingwood

was at golf's

biggest pro-am tournament,

the Alfred

Dunhill Championships, in

the humble role of caddie to

Michael Vaughan.

Shane Warne never ceased to

remind Collingwood of the fact

during the last Ashes, but now it is

the Durham all-rounder away

captaining his country while

Vaughan is back at St Andrews

pursuing his favourite recreation.

Paul Collingwood

Might this role reversal and swift

elevation from bagman to one-day

captain be a source of envy to

England's Test skipper?

Not judging by Vaughan's robust

support of Collingwood and his

rookie one-day stewardship —

bolstered by Thursday's

victory in Sri Lanka —

following criticism that

came after England's failed

World Twenty20 campaign.

"I don't know what it is, but

Colly always seems to get a lot

of criticism and is always

underrated," said Vaughan, a

12-handicapper, as he cradled a

pint of Guinness following his

round on the Old Course with pro

partner, Emanuele Canonica of

Italy. The pair are 10 under for the


"He averages 40 in

Tests, has more one-day caps than

any of our other players and has

proved himself at the top level.

"We lost in South Africa and

suddenly people are saying he is

not very good, but they forget he

led us to victory over India only last

month. He has only captained 10

times and is still learning."

Vaughan has been studiously

keeping a low profile since the India

Test series and is relishing a break

from cricket before heading out to

Sri Lanka in mid-November.

A proper break is not a luxury

that has been afforded to the international

regulars like Collingwood

in nearly 18 months and he has

some sympathy

for them.

Michael Vaughan

"Sri Lanka is a hard enough place

to go when you're fresh and with a

full team," said Vaughan.

"I know that come November I

will be desperate to get on to that

team bus and get back into that


The scheduling of effective rest

periods is something he will be discussing

with Hugh Morris, the new

managing director of the England

cricket team, when they meet.

Vaughan favours two six-week windows

of 'downtime' during the year.

Something else he will be consulted

about is the make-up of the

Test party, with Mark Ramprakash's

name being touted for a possible

return following another phenomenal

season. Vaughan reacts with

decided caution to the idea.

"I am not a selector but I am sure

his name will get a mention

because he is a fine player. You

have to ask whether he will be

there for the next Ashes? And you

have to remember that we have

young players already averaging

over 40 while his average is only 27.

"I am more concerned about our one-day cricket although I think

there are encouraging signs. The

bowling looks promising and we

have more depth in our batting.

"The World Cup was not a great

experience, we just didn't have the

right environment. I knew about

three weeks before the end of it

that this was going to be Duncan's

(Fletcher) last tour. He didn't tell

me, but I just knew."

Astonishingly — especially in light

of this week's cosy appointments at

Lord's — the only prominent

person to lose their job entirely

following last winter's debacles was

Fletcher, architect of so much

success, and it is clear Vaughan still

has huge respect for him.

"He is a fantastic technical coach,

what he did for us batsmen in

teaching us new ways of playing

spin on the sub-continent was

amazing. I hope his talents are not

lost to the English game," he said.

We may have to see about that

once the former coach's autobiography

is published next month.

After the misery of the World Cup

Vaughan was among the many

prominent observers who felt the

Twenty20 version sparkled by


"I think that it's a threat to the

50-over game, it's just natural entertainment.

I found that I was happy

to watch a Twenty20 match from

start to finish and I can't honestly

say that I can watch a 50-over game

that way when I'm not playing."

Vaughan plans to put off his days

of being a passive spectator for as

long as possible. His return to the

Dunhill is further proof of the easily overlooked fact that he appears to

have won his battle with his troublesome

right knee, a battle many

sages assumed he would lose.

"I still have to do the exercises

and will for ever, but it feels great.

I'm going to play as long as I can,"

he added.

He understands the kind of

turmoil Andrew Flintoff is going

through as he grapples with the

ankle problem that has required

three operations.

"I am concerned about Fred," said

Vaughan. "I'm not sure I could go

through another operation and all

the work required afterwards

again. It's more tiring than playing."

He will surely be deprived of

Flintoff's services in Sri Lanka but

looks forward to teaming up again

with Collingwood, with whom he

has been in regular contact.

Might it not be worth suggesting

that, as England captain, his friend

stays out of 'inappropriate' South

African bars? Vaughan smiles wryly:

"I doubt you'll be finding him in that

kind of establishment again."

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