It would be invidious to compare Michael Vaughan with Gordon Brown or the Edgbaston Test with the Crewe and Nantwich by-election – but I can’t help noticing what an excellent metaphor cricket affords for real life.
The first few days at Lord’s went like GB’s honeymoon period. The opposition attack failed to penetrate. We built up a massive score, then skittled them out cheaply and made them follow on. This was the equivalent of GB’s first few weeks in office – all sunshine all the way, Tories nowhere. Then Gordon declined to bat (hold an election) and Michael postponed England’s second innings – and everything changed. Since then nothing has gone right for either man and the individual performance of each has been weak – neither has scored.
Vaughan has done what many hope Brown will do – fallen on his sword to make way for another man and ‘be himself again’. The problems created are similar: who will succeed? In the case of GB there are a number of options, none of whom appetise. In the case of Vaughan, some see an obvious successor in Kevin Pietersen.
Thirty years or so ago Michael Brearley gave up the captaincy and the powers that be had the brilliant idea of appointing our brilliant all-rounder Ian Botham. Disaster for both Ian and England, retrieved only part way through the 1981 Ashes series when Botham was replaced as captain by Brearley – and went on to win what is still called ‘Botham’s Ashes’. They repeated the error after Vaughan gave up through injury in 2006 by appointing Freddie Flintoff – again disaster for both. I suspect that KP will suffer likewise if appointed. There is an alternative in Andrew Strauss who led England successfully against Pakistan two years ago. It might also be worth considering Paul Collingwood after his gutsy 135 at Edgbaston – a ‘captain’s innings’ if ever I saw one.
And a replacement for GB? Bring back Blair? Or a Blair clone like Milliband? Certainly not! Let’s have an election and let the (s)electors choose. I’d go for Cameron myself – now isn’t that a surprise???