Vaughan slams Eng­land chiefs over T20 sched­ul­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

MICHAEL VAUGHAN has slammed English cricket chiefs over the num­ber of do­mes­tic Twenty20 matches be­ing played ahead of the Ashes, say­ing he would “punch them in the face” if ad­min­is­tra­tors tried to jus­tify their ac­tions.

Vaughan, Eng­land’s cap­tain when they re­gained the Ashes in 2005 in one of the most thrilling of all se­ries, said that “ev­ery player in the coun­try should be play­ing four- day cricket now,” in or­der to give Alas­tair Cook’s men the best pos­si­ble chance of re­tain­ing the urn.

In­stead there have been no County Cham­pi­onship fix­tures for a fort­night, with the first­class com­pe­ti­tion sus­pended just days ahead of Wed­nes­day’s open­ing Ashes Test at Trent Bridge while the county T20 tour­na­ment starts in­stead.

As a re­sult, Eng­land had to take the un­usual step of sched­ul­ing a four-day Ashes warmup against Es­sex only for that match, in scenes con­demned as “far­ci­cal”, to be stripped of its first- class sta­tus mid­way through when the county brought in re­place­ments af­ter in­juries to two of its seam­ers.

An an­gry Vaughan said all this could have been avoided, the for­mer York­shire bats­man telling a Sports Jour­nal­ists’ As­so­ci­a­tion brunch: “I get sick and tired of talk­ing about sched­ul­ing but this is the big­gest thing that hap­pens in this coun­try, the Ashes se­ries.

“How our sched­ulers have not been able to pro­duce a round of four- day cham­pi­onship matches lead­ing into an Ashes se­ries is be­yond me.

“If I could get any an­swer from an ad­min­is­tra­tor telling me it’s worth­while us play­ing Twenty20 now, Eng­land play­ing Es­sex, I’d punch them in the face. Be­cause they are wrong. Ev­ery sin­gle county should be play­ing four- day cricket this week.”

Vaughan added: “Eng­land play­ers would be bet­ter suited play­ing a real com­pet­i­tive county match un­der pres­sure than they would have been play­ing Es­sex.

“Eng­land did the right thing. They thought, ‘We can’t have the lads play­ing T20 lead­ing into an se­ries, we’d bet­ter cre­ate our own game’, so they had to cre­ate some­thing.

“I would point the fin­ger at the ad­min­is­tra­tors who come up with the sched­ul­ing.

“What hap­pens if we get five in­juries in the next week?

“And we are pick­ing guys that have played Twenty20 cricket – it is ridicu­lous.

“Eng­land are a good team and I think they have enough to beat Aus­tralia what­ever hap­pens now but you have got to have the best and most pro­fes­sional sys­tem and things like that have got to be bet­ter.”

How­ever, an Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board spokesman, re­spond­ing to Vaughan’s com­ments, told yes­ter­day’s Daily Tele­graph:

“Sched­ul­ing isn’t about one week. It’s about the whole se­ries and the whole sum­mer and we think we’ve got that right.” – Sapa-AFP

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