HE WAS well used to the feel of shin pads over his cricket whites when leading the England team to glory...
But Sheffield’s own Ashes ace Michael Vaughan didn’t expect to wear them for dancing - until he started training for the Argentine tango.
The 38-year-old is taking on a routine with fiercely fiendish flicks and kicks on Strictly Come Dancing tomorrow night - and revealed he and professional partner Natalie Lowe had endured a painful first few days in training.
“You kick yourself all the time!” he said. “It was quite funny at the start of the week when I first started learning the moves.
“I was wearing shin pads at the beginning. But it’s got much better as the week has gone on.
“It’s quite a seductive dance - I’m wearing a velvet jacket and a purple shirt and tie, and we’re doing it to Bust Your Windows by Jazmine Sullivan - and it’s got some really sensual moments.
“But it’s not that difficult when you enjoy working together and you get into the role - you’ve just got to go for it.
“It’s all part of the show, you can’t be embarrassed, you’ve just got to go out there and do it.”
Speaking to The Star from BBC Television Centre, where he and Natalie had just run through their routine, Vaughan said: “We arrive on the Friday and it’s quite structured, you’re allowed three chances to practise your dance, to pace out the floor and get a feel for it in the studio.
“We’ve been training at City Limits on Penistone Road in Sheffield and that’s a big space too, but obviously there are things at Television Centre which get in the way like lighting, and more people watching!”
Six thousand people watching, plus the millions of viewers at home, didn’t put him off last week - when he finished third on the leaderboard in a show beamed live from Wembley Arena in London.
Vaughan, who lives in Baslow, notched up 35 points out of 40 for his American Smooth, scoring ‘nines’ from three of the judges.
“We found out on the Friday we would be doing the last dance of the night, so that gave me a huge amount of confidence, but I had a huge amount of nerves too,” he said. “I never in a million thought I’d ever be performing at Wembley Arena.
“But funnily enough dancing at Wembley felt more natural than in the TV studio. There was a massive rush of energy from the crowd, everybody really willing you to do well.
“I’m trying everything I can to improve, to put the hours in and train hard, and Natalie deserves so much credit, she’s an incredible teacher.
“But I’m not getting ahead of myself - I’m not thinking beyond each week.
“It’s more about just trying to get through that minute and 40 seconds of dancing, to keep smiling and to put on a show.”