Michael Vaughan Stands Down As England Test Captain

Michael Vaughan has stood down as England Test captain after disappointing back-to-back defeats at the hands of South Africa. Managing Director of England Cricket Hugh Morris later confirmed that Paul Collingwood had stood down as One Day International captain, leaving the door open for one captain to take charge of both squads with Kevin Pietersen heavily favoured for the post. An emotional, and at times tearful, Vaughan described the decision at a press conference in Loughborough as the hardest decision he'd ever had to make and confirmed that he would be taking a break from cricket and returning to play for his county side Yorkshire. "Today I have decided to stand down as England captain," Vaughan said. "To be honest it is the hardest decision I have ever had to make but also the easiest," he continued before thanking his players, the press, support staff and his family, for "five unbelievable years" as captain. "I have made this decision with an enormous amount of pride and without any external pressure," he said. "This decision has been something that has crossed my mind for some time. I had every ambition to lead the England team to the next Ashes Series but as England captain I feel I’ve run out of steam. "This decision will hopefully prolong my career," he added. "I believe there is [sic] a lot more runs in me and I think this decision will help that." Vaughan took over as captain of the side in 2003 and memorably led the side to an Ashes victory in 2005 as well as series wins in the West Indies and South Africa before injury kept him out of the side for 18 months. Morris went on to pay tribute to Vaughan: "As England’s most successful captain he has always led from the front and always led with an unprecedented level of professionalism, integrity and honesty every step of the way." He returned last summer with a century against West Indies before a 1-0 series reverse at the hands of India and a 1-0 series loss in Sri Lanka. He led England to 2-1 series wins over New Zealand home and away, but despite a century at Lord's against the Black Caps, he has struggled for form with the bat, scoring 40 runs in the series against South Africa. Vaughan won 26 matches from 51 as captain but the two losses to South Africa were the first time he lost back-to-back Tests as captain. Coincidentally, he took over the role when Nasser Hussain resigned the captaincy during the 2003 Test series against South Africa. Vaughan also has 18 half-centuries and 18 centuries to his name. "I’ve made the decision to step down as England’s One Day captain, as I want to give myself the best chance to perform for England and enjoy my cricket," Collingwood said. "Whilst I am humbled to have been given the opportunity to captain England’s One Day side, I feel the captaincy diminished my ability to perform for England across all forms of the game. I feel the England captaincy impacted on my ability to enjoy my cricket and contribute to the team. "I’ve always enjoyed representing my country at the highest level and it has always been my ambition to play cricket, across all forms of the game, but I’ve found the extra workload of the captaincy to be very difficult. The last thing I want is for the captaincy to impact my performance and that of the teams which is why I’ve arrived at this decision after a huge amount of consideration." The England selectors are currently meeting to decide both the squad for the final Test at The Brit Oval which starts on Thursday, and the identity of the man who will captain the side. They will announce their decision tomorrow at 1200 GMT (1300 BST) at Lord's. © Cricket World 2008