|Event:||England in Australia 2006/07|
DateLine: 10th December 2006
Michael Vaughan has conceded he has no chance of making an unlikely Ashes comeback down under. Talk of the 2005 Ashes hero, who is on the comeback trail after knee surgery earlier in the year, returning late in the current Ashes series gathered momentum when he played in two one-day matches for the England Academy over the last week. He was then recalled to the senior side for the two-day match against Western Australia, seemingly accelerating his comeback. However, Vaughan confided to another former England skipper, Michael Atherton, that his aim was to return for the triangular one-day series, starting in mid-January. Vaughan then all but confirmed his chances of an Ashes recall were gone when he elected not to bat in the tour match on Sunday, instead allowing other Test hopefuls to gain valuable batting practice. Acting England captain Andrew Strauss said Vaughan was expected to bat at No. 4 on Sunday, but after the openers put on 183 it was decided it was more important to give time in the middle to players who might take part in the Ashes. "I think Vaughany was due to come in at four," Strauss said Sunday. "But as the day went on it became more a question of getting guys who may be involved in Test matches at some point a run out in the middle, so Vaughany slid down the order." Vaughan, who hasn't played Test cricket since November last year, spent the whole day in the field on Saturday and appeared to move freely, chasing balls down and making one spectacular diving stop. But writing in the Daily Telegraph, Atherton quoted Vaughan as saying he simply wouldn't be ready for a Test recall in the next three weeks. "If I could have fitted in a three-day game next week there would be more of a chance, but that's not possible," Vaughan told Atherton. "Realistically, I've no chance of playing in the Test series. The problem is that there is nothing you can do to replicate something like a day in the field with its sudden twists and turns. I need to be sure I will last out. The one-day series is more realistic." Vaughan, who led the English side to victory in the historic 2005 Ashes series, didn't fire in his two appearances with the bat for the England Academy. He was dismissed for a seven-ball duck in his first outing, before making just nine in his next innings.