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King Cricket: Vaughan must forget targets and play for love

September 29th, 2008 by Alex Bowden in England, Test cricket, The Ashes and tagged , , , , ,

It’s a harsh equation. It’s the kind of equation that lurks in a dark alley armed with serrated parentheses and a razor-sharp equals sign. It’s the equation that says Michael Vaughan needs to score runs in order to get some opportunities to score runs.

Vaughan wants to return to the Test team in time for the 2009 Ashes and whether he can do this or not hinges on his performances – as it does for anyone. There are a number of opportunities for run-scoring before the Australians arrive but unfortunately Vaughan won’t get those opportunities unless he first scores some runs. Vaughan hasn’t scored county runs, so he wouldn’t have any Test opportunities in India, even if he has pulled out of the tour. In fact, if you follow it through, the end of Vaughan’s season was a real make-or-break time – and he knew it.

If you’ve resigned the England captaincy and surrendered your place in the Test side citing mental exhaustion, setting yourself targets isn’t the best way to fight your way back. Vaughan said he wanted to relax and score a few runs, yet he effectively manufactured a situation where he couldn’t relax, couldn’t enjoy himself and had to make runs. It’s no surprise that he didn’t succeed.

Vaughan has been considering other career options of late and if he’s set himself a deadline, then this ‘every innings counts’ situation will only get worse. If he’d just thought to himself “sod it – I’m just going to enjoy playing and see what happens”, then he may well have flourished.

If Michael Vaughan only loves playing in the Ashes, then he won’t get to do so. If he plays for the love of playing then he might.

See King Cricket’s regular blog at King Cricket is a cult figure in the world of cricket blogs and was TWC’s first Best-of-blogs winner in April 2008.

Posted in England, Test cricket, The Ashes | 3 Comments »

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