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Vaughan recommends five-man attack for Australian tour

Almost six months in advance, Vaughan advises the team management to mull over a five-man attack for the Ashes that kicks off in Australia in November this year.

cricket Updated: May 25, 2010 11:15 IST

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan has said that the most important lesson learnt from the 2009 Ashes triumph is that England must deploy five bowlers against Australia in the test series that commences later this year. November will see the start of yet another Ashes series between cricket's oldest international rivals, with England well cognizant of the fact that they haven't won the coveted series down under since 1986/87, when the Mike Gatting-led side, comprising the likes of Ian Botham, beat the Aussies in their own backyard.

In 2005, Vaughan led England, on home soil, to their first Ashes series win since Gatting's tour - and did so with a five-man attack consisting of Stephen Harmison, Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones, Matthew Hoggard and Ashley Giles.

Vaughan expects England to win all six of their six upcoming home Tests, which include two against Bangladesh and four against Pakistan. However, he said that the underlying talking point ahead of the Ashes would revolve around the balance of the England team, with fears that coach Andy Flower and Test captain Andrew Strauss might well opt for an extra batsman.

"The debate all summer will be about England's formation. Will it be six batters and four bowlers, or five and five? ," Vaughan told AFP in an interview in London on Monday. "I firmly believe they are going to need five bowlers in Australia but I think this management group and Strauss will go with six and four," he added.

"They will say they win as many games with four (bowlers) as they do with five. I guess the question I will say is 'well how many real top teams do we beat with four?' We beat Australia last year with 'Freddie' (Flintoff, who retired from Tests after the Ashes) in the team twice, at Lord's and the Oval, and with five bowlers.," said the 35-year old.

"We beat South Africa in Durban (in December) but I look back at that series - drawn 1-1 - and think well, those last two games we looked pretty tired and our bowlers looked a little bit innocuous, particularly with the (Australian) Kookaburra ball," added Vaughan.

Reiterating his view about the team management's thought process, he said that although he thinks that Tim Bresnan would make a good enough batter at seven, and the likes of Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad would do well at eight and nine, he still thinks that the coach and the captain would go in with six batsmen.

Vaughan praised Swann, who on Monday was named as the England team's player of the year, but feared for the consequences if Australia 'collared' the off-spinner as a member of a four-man attack.

"He's had a wonderful year but I just worry that if Swanny doesn't get it right and the opposition do attack him a little bit more, three seamers on days one and two looks very, very light," said the former Yorkshire batsman, who retired from senior cricket last year.

"Maybe they'll get some overs out of Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood but they are not going to do much damage. We'll wait and see. But from what I've seen of Andy Flower, I think they'll go with six batters," he emphasized.

Meanwhile, Vaughan mentioned that England's win over Australia in the World Twenty20 final in Barbados this month - the first time the team had won a major international limited over tournament - was an "amazing achievement".

"Four or five weeks ago, did anyone give England a chance? No. Did anyone give England a chance six or seven months ago when we were getting hammered by Australia 6-1 (in a one-day international series)? No. We were a laughing stock almost.So for us (England) to win the World Twenty20, after we lost to Holland in last year's tournament, is an amazing achievement. It's not as important as the Ashes, don't get me wrong. The Ashes is the pinnacle but, as an achievement, it's right up there," claimed Vaughan.