Michael Vaughan. (Credits: Getty)
Former England captain Michael Vaughan has named his three preferred players for this year’s away Ashes series. The ECB has conditionally approved its players to tour Australia as captain Joe Root has also committed to the series.
Hence, in all likeliness, the tourists will send a full-strength squad as they hope to regain the urn. While all first-choice players are likely to tour, Michael Vaughan opted for three ‘wild cards’ in the squad, as written in his column for The Telegraph.
First, Michael Vaughan chose Liam Livingstone, expecting him to play at seven as a hard-hitter. Vaughan feels that Livingstone has the all-round game to thrive in Australia and bolster England across facets. He also underlined that those picked ahead of the all-rounder are hardly good, hence Livingstone deserves a chance. He wrote:
“With Jos Buttler or Jonny Bairstow at six, Livingstone can come in with a swagger and intimidate at seven. He bowls a bit of spin that could be handy on days four or five. He is a brilliant fielder and he has that arrogance and confidence you need in Australia so I would have him in the squad.’He averages just under 40 with the bat in first-class cricket, numbers that are not very different to the others, so why not look at him as an all-round cricketer.”
“Those picked ahead of him recently are not much better technically than Livingstone. In fact, he might even be better. He has the confidence and believes in himself which is what the highest level is all about.’He would make a good back-up player and he has a higher ceiling of potential than many of the others being picked at the moment, so why not go with him? Also, surely you want a 12th man in the field who can create something.”
The second player that the 46-year old went with was leg-spinner Matt Parkinson. Vaughan earmarked Parkinson as England’s best spinner after Jack Leach and thinks the side has a chance to groom him this winter. The 2005 Ashes-winning captain stated:
“From what they have done to Dominic Bess, I can’t think he will be in their thoughts going to Australia. Parkinson is the next best after Jack Leach. We always seem to pick a leg-spinner in Australia – Mason Crane and Scott Borthwick have played in the last two Sydney Tests.’Australia is a good tour for his development because you would not look to play him at the start. He bowled pretty well in the Bob Willis Trophy match. He gives the ball a chance, plenty of flight and a good rip. Look, we are not stocked full of high-class spinners so why not try and develop a player this winter like Parkinson.’Sometimes on tours you have to be one step ahead. What is the point of Parkinson staying at home this winter? He would not learn anything. By taking him to Australia you hope he learns to understand Test cricket.”
“Jimmy Anderson speaks very highly of Saqib Mahmood”: Michael Vaughan
Saqib Mahmood. (Credits: Getty)
Finally, Vaughan chose Saqib Mahmood, marking him as one of the best young pacemen on the circuit. He lamented not playing Mahmood this summer against India. Vaughan believes even if the 24-year old travels as a fringe player, it could be a great learning curve for him.
“He is talked about as the most skilful of the younger bowlers coming through. England missed a chance to play him in the summer when they went with Craig Overton instead. I’ve heard from good sources that of all the quicks he is the one with the confidence and potential to have a career in all formats across all conditions. Jimmy Anderson speaks very highly of him.’Again, he is going as a fringe player who could get a game but you have to take the opportunity to take a bowler like him so he can learn, be around Australia with a view to the next Ashes tour.” Vaughan concluded.
Livingstone, Parkinson and Mahmood have all been part of the Test squad; however, are yet to play any Test. Livingstone has already expressed his desire to earn a Test cap following his exploits in white-ball cricket.