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Injuries force Vaughan to retire early

ENGLAND'S most successful test captain Michael Vaughan said yesterday he was retiring from the game, after failing to regain his place in the team for next month's Ashes series against Australia.

"It has been a hard decision," Vaughan, 34, told a news conference at Edgbaston yesterday. "The decision came to me two weeks ago. I thought about it in December but I wanted to give myself one last chance of playing against Australia but I haven't been playing well enough and my body is not reacting how I would like it to be.

"Having played almost nonstop for 16 seasons, I feel that the time is right for the focus to shift to the next generation. We have some fantastic talent coming through the English counties and, with the next Ashes series upon us, now is the time for the younger players to rise to the challenge of building on the success achieved in English cricket in the last few years."

Vaughan, who has been troubled by a chronic knee injury, has not played for his country since resigning as captain last year and passed 50 only three times in 22 innings for Yorkshire.

He was forced to leave the field frequently to rest his troubled knee, raising fresh doubts about his ability to last a five-day test.

Vaughan made his test debut for England during the 1999-2000 tour of South Africa and quickly established himself in the team, scoring his maiden test century in 2001 against Pakistan.

However, the knee injuries that were to plague his career surfaced in 2001 and he was ruled out of the home Ashes series that was won convincingly by Australia.

After more knee problems he returned in time for the 2002-03 Ashes series in Australia, making 177 on the first day of the second test in Adelaide and 145 in Melbourne, knocks that helped him to rise to the top of the International Cricket Council batting rankings.

In July 2003, Vaughan took over the England captaincy from Nasser Hussain, beginning what was to become the most successful reign of an England skipper with a 2-2 home draw with South Africa despite his own lack of form with the bat.


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