Michael Vaughan has decided to step down as England Test captain in the wake of the series defeat by South Africa, he told a news conference on Sunday.
“Today, I have decided to stand down as England captain. To be honest it is the hardest decision I have ever had to make but also the easiest,” said Vaughan.
His decision after five years as captain followed England’s five-wicket loss to South Africa on Saturday.
That result left the hosts trailing 2-0 in the series, with one Test remaining, and inflicted the first back-to-back defeats of Vaughan’s captaincy.
England’s one-day captain Paul Collingwood, 32, is also stepping down, the England and Wales Cricket Board told the news conference at the team’s training base in Loughborough.
Vaughan had been replaced as one-day captain by Collingwood in 2007.
New captain on Monday
England's new captain will be named at a news conference on Monday along with the squad for the final South Africa Test.
The 33-year-old Vaughan said he wanted to carry on playing for his country, although he would be unavailable for the Test starting on Thursday so he can take a short break from the game.
“I am giving away the job I have loved for five years, put my heart and soul into the job but my mind has told me to pack it in,” added Vaughan, who was close to tears.
He had been under pressure due to his own poor form, having scored just 40 runs in five innings. However, Vaughan was confident he could recover his best form with the bat.
“I feel if I kept going (as captain) my career could come to an abrupt end. Hopefully, this decision will prolong my career. I am going to carry on playing — I believe there are a lot more runs in me, I hope this decision will help that.”
Vaughan took over the captaincy in 2003 and two years later led England to a first Ashes victory over Australia since 1987.
In 2004 he helped England achieve a record of eight successive Test wins.
Atherton backs Pietersen
FORMER ENGLAND captain Mike Atherton believed Kevin Pietersen is the right man to succeed Vaughan as skipper.
Pietersen is one of the favourites to take over both jobs, with Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flintoff also in contention.
And Atherton insisted it is the South Africa-born Pietersen who should be given the chance to lead his adopted country.
“If you’re talking about someone to take on both jobs then Kevin Pietersen becomes the number one candidate because he’s one of the few people who can be guaranteed their place in both teams,” he told Sky Sports News.
Atherton also suggested that Collingwood may have been pressured into quitting the one-day role as
England look to revert back to a single captain.