English Cricket: Michael Vaughan Run Drought Puts Test Series in Doubt

Kimeshan NaidooCorrespondent IJuly 20, 2008

After captaining England to victory in that spectacular Ashes series, Michael Vaughan would have forever written his name in English test cricket folklore.

The inspiring captain, barring Kevin Pietersen, is no doubt England's premier batsman in the longest form of the game. When Vaughan gets a big score, England usually wins.

Why? Because the best way to inspire a team is to lead by example. In the same vein, when he fails, all is not well for England and that is immediately evident in the test series against South Africa which is looking ever more precarious.

If we contrast Vaughan's last few innings to those of his opposite number, Graeme Smith, we see a rather shocking disparity.

In the first test at Lord's, although England scored a mammoth total, Vaughan managed only six. In contrast, the Protea's skipper blasted a magnificent century in an exquisite opening partnership with McKenzie to save the test and snatch a draw when all hope seemed to be lost for visitors.

At Headingley, Vaughan departed for a duck and than failed once again in the second innings, only managing 21 painstaking runs from 90 balls before fiddling outside his offstump to be caught by Boucher off a rejuvenated Makhaya Ntini.

More so, Vaughan holds the important number three position, which leaves England in disarray when he is sent back soon after arriving at the crease. While South Africa's number three, Hashim Amla, goes from strength to strength every match, displaying remarkable style and calmness for a man eight years younger than Vaughan, who is proving to be erratic at the best of times.

Historically, Vaughan has struggled against South Africa, having only scored one century and an average of 30.72, which is a long way short of his career average of over 42.

If England are to bounce back against South Africa, one thing that will have to change is their captain's run drought. England's skipper simply has to find his feet, and, more importantly, find some form. 

Calling the shots is great—but leading by example can do silent wonders to a team struggling as England are at moment.