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Michael Vaughan Q&A

Michael Vaughan with the Ashes in 2005
Michael Vaughan is England's most successful Test captain

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has taken time out from his Test Match Special duties to answer more of your questions.

He tackles issues such as Graeme Swann's value to the England team, defends Kevin Pietersen and reveals which two cricketers he would choose to be with if he was stuck on a desert island.

Michael will answer more questions during the final two Tests against South Africa.

Send your questions to the newest member of the TMS team by using the form on the right.


How do you rate Graeme Swann as a match-winning spinner in relation to his ability to help England to become the number one side in the world? Shawn Joseph

I was staggered that Swanny was the first England spinner ever to get 50 wickets in a calendar year. With his ability to score runs at the bottom of the order at an average of 36 he's close to being a very, very good all-rounder, but this is his first year in international cricket and we saw Monty Panesar have a wonderful time in his first year.

I do feel Swanny has more about him in terms of experience, ability and know-how in the game. He looks a huge threat for England and with him in the attack they can rotate the three seamers. He's such an important cog in the wheel now.

Michael, do you agree with me that Stuart Broad is overrated as a batsman? He may have some potential to become an all-rounder, but surely Swann is a much better batsman at the moment and should be ahead of Broad in the batting line-up? Mike Swinden

'Rock star' Swann integral to England - Vaughan

Swann is in the perfect position at number nine because it enables him to just go and play his natural game and not worry about the manner of his dismissals. If he goes in at eight everyone will talk about him having to bat like a proper batsman but at nine he has the freedom to go and attack.

Broad is a good player. He doesn't look in the best of touch at the moment but that happens and he will come through that. He's scored invaluable runs in the Ashes and also against West Indies and New Zealand. I don't see him as a number seven, maybe in the future, but number eight is a good position for him.

Do you think Ian Bell's long-term England future is largely dependent on England playing six batsman, one keeper and four bowlers, or is he potentially good enough to secure a top five spot? Ben W

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He's good enough to secure a top five slot but if we want to play five bowlers then one of the six batsmen will have to drop out. But Bell's just made 140 and they've won this Test match so I would have thought they'll continue with six batsmen and four bowlers.

Unless an all-rounder suddenly arrives, and that would mean either Luke Wright, Tim Bresnan or Ajmal Shahzad really improving, I would think England will stick with this six and four combination for at least the next year or so.

If Andrew Strauss were to captain England to a series victory in South Africa would you see it as a greater achievement than your 2005 Ashes series win? Craig

I don't think so. This South Africa team is very good but England are on the up and are playing very well whereas South Africa are clearly struggling in their bowling department. I don't think you could compare it with that 2005 Australian side just yet.

Would you say that the Flowers/Strauss partnership is rivalling the Fletcher/Vaughan partnership? What does it need to be able to overtake it?Tim Allen

South Africa will come back hard - Strauss

I think winning in Australia is everyone's goal in English cricket. To win an Ashes series over there and be able to rub Australian noses in it, that's something I wasn't able to do as a captain. Australia are not playing as well as they have done but are a very hard team to beat on their home soil.

We're moving along nicely but we shouldn't get too carried away; we're only ever one performance away from defeat as we showed when we lost at Headingley this year. This team is doing a good job and the Strauss/Flower partnership is doing very well.

Kevin Pietersen is a mercurial talent but seems unable to grasp that he has a job to do and turn good starts into big scores much more often. What can the captain do to get that message through? Tug Wilson

In my time as captain you wanted to try to encourage him to play his natural game, and I'm sure Andrew Strauss is the same. Kevin will know that, on his homecoming to Durban, he missed out on the opportunity of a big hundred in the first innings.

He'll be disappointed and will wish he hadn't got out in the way he did, but you only have top look back to the first Test and the 81 he scored on the last day under huge pressure to see what a good player he is. If he hadn't done that we probably would have lost that match. I think a lot of people are too harsh on him.

What role do you think Luke Wright will play in the Test series in South Africa and in future Test matches for England? Jamie Golding

Luke Wright
Luke Wright looks like he will have time for plenty of net practice

I don't think he'll play a role now unless Paul Collingwood's injury is so bad he can't play at Cape Town. Now they've picked this formation of six and four and they've done so well in this game I think they should stick with it and shouldn't be bullied into going with five bowlers.

Graeme Swann is producing such good performances, and on the first day in particular, that you can rotate the seamers from the other end. You don't feel you are a bowler light, but if Swann suddenly gets taken on and hit out of the attack you might have a problem, but that doesn't look like being the case at the moment.

How do you rate Jacques Kallis in the all time all-rounders list? It seems to me that he never quite gets the same recognition as other top all-rounders despite his amazing stats. John Simmons

I think he's rated as the number one all-rounder in the world and that says it all. We all respect the fact he's a wonderful player and the most consistent player in the world.

His bowling isn't underrated at all, he's had a side injury of late which hasn't allowed him to bowl much and with the same threat, but in England's innings you could see in his last spell he was getting better and better and I think we'll see a lot more from Kallis the bowler in Cape Town and the Wanderers.

There's a lot of talk of England resting players such as Strauss, Broad and James Anderson for the Tests in Bangladesh. Do you think this is a worthwhile exercise and if you do who would you bring in? Matt Stephens

Ajmal Shahzad
Ajmal Shahzad is building a big reputation at Yorkshire

I now think Strauss will go. I said before Christmas I didn't think he would but looking at the schedule, he gets a month off after these Tests and a decent break after the Bangladesh tour because he won't be doing the Twenty20 in the Caribbean.

Broad and Anderson are the two I would have thought would be rested and perhaps Collingwood will get the option, but I guarantee he'll want to go and play for England. People to come in, probably Ajmal Shahzad from Yorkshire, Durham's Mark Davies or Tim Bresnan of Yorkshire.

What is the toughest/best atmosphere you have played in? Danny Rowse-Young

We always take thousands of fans around the world so you always have great support. I guess Sydney in a day-nighter is the toughest because you don't get so many supporters in for the one-dayers. You get plenty of banter there.

The best atmosphere would be Headingley, Egbaston and Old Trafford for the response the crowd always give the England team.

With England on tour for two out of every three Christmases, you must have felt the pressure of buying gifts. What is the worst present you've given or been given? Mike Smart

You do get pressure but you also have the excuse of saying you are away from home and don't want any excess baggage. The problem with South Africa is the diamonds - we know girls love diamonds and we always get drawn into buying them.

Now that you've retired do you ever see yourself becoming a coach with a county or England, a commentator or something completely different from cricket? Francis Kyan

I see myself staying within the game. I enjoy my role with the England Under-17 performance squad and my media work, but I am still a bit unsure which way I'll go but I would have thought I'd stay in some form of media role.

If you were stuck on a desert island with two players, who would they be and why? Alan

Paul Collingwood is my good mate - we'd have a bit of a laugh - and I'd probably say Freddie Flintoff just to bring the beers along!

* You can listen to Michael on Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 Longwave, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, the Red Button and the BBC Sport website.

The third Test starts on 3 January in Cape Town.



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see also
England wrap up emphatic Test win
30 Dec 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
30 Dec 09 |  England
Ask Michael Vaughan
05 Jan 10 |  Cricket
Michael Vaughan Q&A
21 Dec 09 |  Cricket
Vaughan recalls harsh Test bow
25 Nov 09 |  England
Michael Vaughan's career in photos
30 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Ashes hero Vaughan calls it quits
30 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England


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