Vaughan ruled out of tri-series finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Vaughan ruled out of tri-series finals

By Adam Cooper 08/02/2007 06:55:05 PM Comments (0)

Andrew Flintoff will undergo another tough examination of his captaincy on Friday when he reluctantly leads England in the first tri-series final against Australia at the MCG.

Flintoff inherits the leadership again because Michael Vaughan is going home after aggravating a hamstring injury in last Tuesday's win over New Zealand in Brisbane.

Vaughan will return to England on Saturday and has been advised to rest for 10 days to ensure he recovers for the World Cup, which starts in the Caribbean next month.

Vaughan's absence is a major blow for the tourists, who have found a spring in their step for the first time this summer after successive wins over Australia and New Zealand leapfrogged them into the finals.

Aside from his top order batting, England will miss Vaughan's calm leadership on the field, and it has been clear Flintoff has performed better when freed of the responsibility of leading the side.

Flintoff performed well individually in the three matches this series where he did not have to lead the side, and England won two of those clashes.

Many observers point to Flintoff's unimaginative leadership during the Ashes series as a contributing factor to England's 5-0 drubbing, as he also struggled personally.

Vaughan sprang to the defence of his teammate, who was given the tough job of captaining England during the Test series while the usual skipper recovered after knee surgery.

"I wouldn't have liked to have gone into an Ashes series with only eight games as captain as experience, but that's what he had to do," Vaughan said.

"People have got to realise it is a tough job playing such a good side at home."

Australian captain Ricky Ponting was unsure whether Flintoff became over-consumed by the captaincy in game situations, as he believed the allrounder to be a laid-back and unflappable character.

Ponting said Australia were expecting a strong showing from his opposite number.

"We know how good a competitor and how good a player he is," he said.

"We're going to have to pay a lot of attention to him tomorrow if we want to win the game."

England will enter Friday's match confident of causing a boilover after comprehensively beating Australia by 92 runs last Friday in Sydney, and then fighting back with the ball to beat the Kiwis.

"Tomorrow's a fresh start and that's why one-day cricket's exciting, you can turn up and beat any team in the world," Vaughan said.

"But you have to get your performance right and that's what we're going to look to do and put Australia under pressure and see how far it takes us."

Vaughan aggravated his torn left hamstring in the 14-run victory over New Zealand at the Gabba, which was his first match after missing the previous five games.

"As you can imagine I (was) itching to play, as I have been for the last eight or nine months," he said.

"Going through the whole rehab of my knee, it has been very disappointing on this tour to have no problems with my right knee and then a hamstring comes about.

"The medical staff have told me there is absolutely no doubt I will be on the plane for the World Cup."

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