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Anorak | Vaughan Again

Vaughan Again

by | 28th, July 2003

‘IT is quite clear that England cannot continue for long to have two different cricket captains, if only because the hacks are having a field day trying to sow discord in the ranks.

Vaughan picks Hussain out in the changing room

The fact that incumbent Nasser Hussain scored only a single run, while heir apparent Michael Vaughan notched up a sublime 156 is just grist to the mill.

This leaves England on the brink, needing 22 runs this morning from their last three wickets to avoid the follow-on and effectively to save the match.

But it is the sub-text – the supposed rivalry between Hussain and Vaughan – that is uppermost in most of the scribes’ minds.

‘Neither of them would be human if part of their minds were not involved in trying to settle this issue now,’ writes Henry Blofeld in the Independent.

The Telegraph’s Derek Pringle says that Vaughan’s knock, which he described as the best of his career, is bound to be hailed as a captain’s innings.

‘Yet Vaughan batted as servant rather than master, a man whose deed was done with duty rather than promotion in mind,’ he says.

‘If there had been a Machiavellian bone in Vaughan’s body, he would surely have got out immediately after scoring his ton, a move that would have brought personal glory while consigning the team to a more parlous position from which to save this match.’

As marathons go, the seven hours Vaughan spent at the crease was as nothing compared with the 83 hours and 41 minutes which Lance Armstrong has spent in the saddle in the last couple of weeks.

But the fact that it was less more than a minute less than his main rival Jan Ullrich meant the American was yesterday crowned Tour de France champion for the fifth year in a row.

He now joins an elite group containing Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil, Eddie Merckx and Miguel Indurain as riders who have won the gruelling race a handful of times.

But the Telegraph says the 31-year-old wants to go one better and make it six, despite this being the hardest fought of all his wins.

‘Of course, it’s possible,’ says Indurain (the only other man to have won five in a row), ‘but every year it gets more difficult and he’ll face some tough rivals.’

Armstrong admits in the Guardian that he dodged a lot of bullets in this year’s Tour.

‘Physically I have not been super, tactically I have made some bad mistakes,’ he said. ‘My level this year was not acceptable.’

Which is as welcome to the ears of the other riders as Vaughan complaining that he mistimed one of his cover drives is to the ears of Nasser Hussain.



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