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Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Saturday, 10 May 2008 17:51 UK

Vaughan upbeat over Ashes chances

Michael Vaughan
Vaughan has scored just 135 runs in seven innings for Yorkshire

Skipper Michael Vaughan believes England can mount a successful bid to regain the Ashes next summer.

The 33-year-old feels his side have the strength in depth to repeat their 2005 series triumph on home soil.

But the Yorkshire batsman admits he is under pressure to justify his own place by scoring more runs for his country.

But ahead of this summer's first Test against New Zealand he insisted: "I think we're in a better position now than we were a year before '05."

Vaughan believes England's bowling attack will be crucial next year against an Australian side in transition, following the retirements of the likes of Adam Gilchrist and Justin Langer.

And he said: "A key area to beat them is with swing.

"If we get the ball swinging and Monty (Panesar) spinning it you can get 20 wickets against that Australian side, and that's where you can beat them.

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"There are a lot of good players around and a lot of good things happening with the England set-up.

"Then if you look at the unit we have in terms of batting it will be a real battle who gets the most runs and I firmly believe we could do that."

Vaughan's men face both New Zealand and South Africa this summer conscious of developing momentum towards the 2009 visit of the Aussies.

But the captain accepts he needs to rediscover some form with the bat after a poor winter tour to New Zealand.

The right-hander goes into the three-match series against the Kiwis without even a half-century this season, having mustered only 135 runs in seven innings for Yorkshire.

"I am under pressure - that is the position I am in because I didn't score runs in a series in New Zealand," Vaughan said.

"Over the last year, in the 12 Tests I've played, I think I have averaged 43 with two hundreds.

"But you're always remembered for your last series and I didn't have a good last series."

Vaughan looked a poor imitation of the man who has 17 Test hundreds to his name at his lowest point of the winter in Napier, when he lost trust in his ability to react to the ball and succumbed to pre-meditating shots.

Further failures at this week's first Test at Lord's - the scene of five of his England hundreds - would add weight to those who argue the side needs a new Test skipper.

I have to deliver runs because of those knocking on the door to get into the team as a batsman

Michael Vaughan

But Vaughan declared: "I don't give a damn what anyone says about that. What will be will be.

"I am doing it to the best of my ability and trying to build a team to compete with the best teams in the world.

"We have just won a very good series in New Zealand - there are not many times England have come back from 1-0 away from home and won.

"There are a lot of players out there who could be playing Test match cricket and that makes it very competitive.

"That is the pressure I am under. I have to deliver runs because of those knocking on the door to get into the team as a batsman.

"As for the captaincy, I have always said that I will be a better captain the longer I go because of the experience of the situations you are put in."

It is still less than 12 months since Vaughan gave up playing in one-day international cricket in a bid to prolong his Test life, but he hinted at resuming his limited overs career.

Vaughan, who did not play for England at all in 2006 due to injury, added: "I couldn't see myself captaining right through to the next World Cup.

"That would have been eight or nine years in the job, doing both forms, and that is a lot of time.

"I have a knee that needs managing. But I feel as fit as I ever have done and who is to say if that continues and I get myself in a run of form like I know I can, I might give myself an opportunity of getting back in the one-day game."




see also
England in New Zealand 2008
03 Jul 07 |  Cricket
Vaughan struggles in Tykes draw
03 May 08 |  Counties
England duo fail to oust Vaughan
30 Apr 08 |  Counties
Vaughan seeks swap with Strauss
21 Apr 08 |  England


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