Vaughan relishes his latest tests

Home comforts: Michael Vaughan at his house in the Peak District with two of his dogs.'PICTURES: STEVE ELLIS

Home comforts: Michael Vaughan at his house in the Peak District with two of his dogs.'PICTURES: STEVE ELLIS

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HE’S a BBC voice of cricket, the born leader whose inspirational words helped inspire England to Ashes greatness.

But today at his Peak District home his dogs are taking no notice of those commanding tones, as the two of them come lolloping in from the garden all muddy paws and wet noses.

Family life has a way of keeping even the highest achiever’s feet firmly grounded – even a man booked to appear on the next series of TV’s Strictly Come Dancing but sworn to secrecy.

So it is with Michael Paul Vaughan, former Yorkshire and England Cricket captain, all-time great batsman and Test Match Special summariser.

Not that there was ever any danger of him getting any big ideas. The son of an engineer Michael was born into a cricketing family who moved from Manchester to Sheffield when he was nine years old.

Legend has it that he was spotted playing with friends on the boundary during a Yorkshire game at Abbeydale and invited to join but wasn’t able to until the club scrapped their Yorkshire-born-only rule.

These days he’s a Derbyshire lad with kids in school, a beautiful house and gardens and what looks like an ideal life.

So does he miss the game that gave him all this?

“No, I don’t miss playing at all,” says Michael. “I had had enough by the end, to be honest. It was an easy decision for me. You know as a sportsman that it’s a short career. Don’t get me wrong I would love nothing more than to score a hundred for England again but that’s not going to happen and I accept that.

“I don’t play competitively at all any more. I wouldn’t want to be playing some up and coming young lads who were trying to impress. I would soon think: ‘what am I doing here?’ I might have a game when my lad gets a bit older so I can play alongside him.”

Until then, the former Silverdale schoolboy is content to talk and coach. “I have no bitterness about the game, unlike some who have retired. You can hear it in their voices when they talk about the money that players earn nowadays. But I don’t feel that way. I did all right from cricket.

“I could have gone on for another six months to play against Australia again but I think it’s best to get out while you’ve still a bit left in the tank rather than people saying ‘Who’s that old codger’ as you walk out to the middle.

“I knew it was time for me and the England team to move on. Part of being a good leader is knowing when it’s time to get out. By the end I had fallen out of love with cricket. I had battled against injuries for so long and spent so much time in the gym and working with physios that I had had enough.

“I think it must be really tough for someone at 36 or 37 who is fit and wanting to play but who just can’t find any form. That must be agony,” he added.

No such agonies for Michael, he quit in June 2009 and, as the saying goes, had a good innings.

The paintings of Sheffield artists Pete McKee and Joe Scarborough hang on the walls of the Vaughan home, his affection for the city and Sheffield Wednesday never far away.

But now he is making inroads into a new career or two.

As well as his TMS radio work he is involved with coaching England under-17s and has made a TV documentary on sports stars and retirement and is preparing to make a series of programmes for the BBC on the Olympics.

“I like the documentary work and I’m looking forward to the Olympics stuff, it’s good to talk to the athletes’ families. You never know what they are going to say.”

That’s how most of us feel listening to Test Match Special on which Michael Vaughan’s forthright and occasionally abrupt analysis is always compelling.

“We don’t just talk about cricket, we cover pretty much everything,” he said.

“I always look at it as though I’m talking to somebody in the pub. As captain I was used to being open and honest with the players and I’m the same now when I talk on the radio.

“There is always a mental and technical reason why players fail. I accept that we have to make calls about someone that they may not like.

“I didn’t like it either but I realise now that it does not really matter what people say. You cannot let that affect you. You have to be stronger than that.”

Next month Michael Vaughan adds the honour of carrying the Olympic Torch in London to his list of achievements – which includes captaining England to a record 21 test wins.

But, typically he’s not making a big deal of it.

“I’m looking forward to it. They haven’t told me where in London I’ll be running yet. I just hope I don’t drop the torch, I was never very good at catches.”

Going for gold at the Olympics

MICHAEL Vaughan is to be the BBC TV voice covering the Olympic flame’s journey through Sheffield – if he can get a word in.

The former Yorkshire cricket captain is to partner Look North’s Christa Ackroyd as the torch passes through the city on Monday – and already he’s ruffling feathers.

“I’ve nicked Harry’s girlfriend for the night,” laughed Michael, referring to Christa’s Look North regular co-presenter Harry Gration.

“I know Christa and Harry pretty well and I’m hoping he doesn’t mind. Look North got in touch a few months ago to ask if I would like to be involved when the torch passes through Sheffield city centre.”

“Of course I was delighted. I think the Olympic flame coming round the country is a great idea, it’s fantastic that the Olympics are here.

“We are lucky to see it, it’s a historic thing, not every generation gets to see something like the Olympic Games in their own country.

The BBC programme follows the torch through the streets of Yorkshire and will show the historic moment when it’s used to light a cauldron at a specially staged celebration in Barker’s Pool in Sheffield city centre.

“The torch is coming through Bakewell today and everyone from my kids’ school will be out there cheering and singing,” added father of three Michael who will run a leg of the torch journey himself in london on July 24.

“They have been learning all about the Olympics and all the different events at school and coming home and telling us all sorts.

“I think it’s great for them and for the whole country.”

Olympic Torch Live: Yorkshire, Monday June 25, 7–7.30pm, BBC1

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