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Monday, October 18, 1999 Published at 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK

A captain in the making

Michael Vaughan hopes to rediscover his top form on tour with England

Whether he likes it or not, when Michael Vaughan makes his Test debut - very possibly in South Africa this winter - someone, somewhere is bound to utter the dreaded words: "future England captain".

Wrong as it would be for a 25-year-old to be burdened with such a tag, there is, however, the unmistakable feeling that Vaughan will indeed one day be the man in charge.

He has all the credentials - opening batsman, through-and-through Yorkshireman (though born in Manchester), three England A tours (including one as captain) and a squeaky-clean image.

He should, when he settles down, also make a few runs at Test level.

For all that, he can count himself lucky to have made the squad, rarely having found fluency at county level last summer (895 Championship runs at 27.12).

Scratchy season

As Vaughan himself says: "I was a bit surprised because I didn't have a particularly good season with the bat for Yorkshire.

"But I still think I'm a better player than I was a year ago, just through the experience of what I've gone through.

"There were some pretty bad pitches around and Yorkshire seemed to get more than most.

"I scratched for about two hours for around ten runs some times before getting out.

"I reckon I batted for about as long as I had any previous season but just couldn't score the runs.

"When the wickets were good I seemed to get a hundred. The 150 I scored in Scarborough was, I think, my best ever innings for Yorkshire."

Early Kookaburras catch wickets

One thing Vaughan is assured of this winter is good batting surfaces and he should know the conditions pretty well, having toured South Africa with England A last winter.

"I learnt a lot from that 'A' tour, for instance facing the Kookaburra balls they use," he said.

"We tend to use Dukes and Reader balls here which swing consistently throughout the day.

"The Kookaburras tend to swing more early on but then it's really difficult for bowlers to get them to move about.

"I can't wait. I've had success in South Africa before. Obviously the 'A' tour went really well but I'm not kidding myself, this will be completely different."

Where Vaughan has advanced his game over the past year is in the bowling of his off-spin, gaining greater consistency with every over he has bowled.

Now what would England give for a top order batsman capable of holding his own as a front-line bowler?

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