Vaughan ready to fight fire with fire
Michael Vaughan says he will relish a fierce make-or-break World Cup contest against South Africa on Tuesday.Updated: Apr 16, 2007, 22:58 IST
Michael Vaughan said he will relish a fierce make-or-break World Cup contest against South Africa in Barbados on Tuesday.
With his South Africa born Kevin Pietersen having been engaged in a bitter feud with Proteas skipper Graeme Smith after the batsman's switch of allegiance, Vaughan tried to play down the potential volatile encounter.
But he admitted that on-field exchanges between players is part and parcel of the World Cup.
"I don't really mind it. Cricket's a tough sport and when you have 11 guys out there, it can get a little fiery. But it is nothing that gets too personal, just a bit of banter," said.
"I have no issue with Smith. He is an excellent captain, the leader of his team. I have a lot of respect for him."
Vaughan, whose team need to win to keep their semi-final hopes alive, vowed England will shake themselves out of the mediocre form which has dogged them throughout the tournament.
"It is the biggest match of the World Cup," said Vaughan.
"It's a great opportunity to raise our level. It's a game that could take us to the semi-finals for the first time since 1992."
Vaughan believes England can repeat the sort of form which took them to a shock tri-series win Australia earlier this year.
"We are a side that can turn up and produce on the day. We did it in the tri-series when we were down and out and it is because we have players who enjoy big games, pressure situations, big crowds," said the captain.
"We are realistic of what we can achieve. If you had told me before the World Cup that we would have one game to get to the semi-final, I would have taken it."
England, who failed to qualify for the second round in the last three World Cups, beat Kenya and Canada but lost to New Zealand in the preliminary stages.
In the Super Eight they lost to Australia and Sri Lanka, beat Ireland and then struggled to see off Bangladesh by four wickets.
Meanwhile, Vaughan backed coach Duncan Fletcher who has been criticised for England's unimpressive performances in the Caribbean.
"It will be nice to win it for the coach, the players, and the supporters. Duncan's had a bit of criticism, but he is a fantastic coach. I think it is fair we have been criticised because we haven't had a great winter."
Vaughan said South Africa were also inconsistent.
"They have been similar to us in many ways. They have played well at times and not so well other times," said Vaughan of Smith's side who beat Sri Lanka and the West Indies but were upset by Bangladesh in the Super Eights.
South Africa also lost to New Zealand and have six points in six matches.
If they win against England they will become the fourth side to qualify for the semi-finals behind Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Vaughan believes the toss on a bouncy Kensington Oval pitch will be "tricky."
"The toss will be a tricky one. It is still on my mind what I should do. We will sit down and study the situation to see which is the best way to attack the pitch.
"I would like to win it, obviously, especially in one-day cricket, if you can win the toss and the team is happy doing what they have talked about, you always think you are one up," said Vaughan.