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Since 1st March, 1999
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Door open for Thorpe return
- Michael Vaughan says his team wasn’t as hungry as South Africa

London: Michael Vaughan said batsman Graham Thorpe could be back in the England side for the third Test against South Africa at Trent Bridge.

England’s selectors will be under pressure to make changes after Vaughan’s first match as Test captain ended in a crushing innings and 92-run defeat inside four days Lord’s on Sunday.

The result left England 1-0 down in the five-Test series with three to play and they were on the backfoot at Lord’s almost from the start after being bowled out for 173 in their first innings.

Bringing back Thorpe, a proven performer, would appear to strengthen England’s middle order and Vaughan denied reports that he had a personal objection to the Surrey left-hander’s presence in the side.

“If he’s right in his mind and personal life then I am sure the selectors will talk about him. He’s a fantastic player,” said Vaughan.

Thorpe, 34, has not played for England in nearly a year following personal problems brought about by the break-up of his marriage.

He was picked for the 2002-03 tour of Australia only to change his mind before the plane left England. But last month Thorpe, who confirmed he had cancelled his ODI retirement, insisted he was now ready to resume his England career.

The England squad for the third Test starting on August 14 will be announced next weekend.

Vaughan added he had exchanged some frank words with his players after the defeat. “I have given a talk in the dressing room that was pretty down to the bone, pretty honest, and told them a few facts which I felt they needed to know and which will give them a gee-up.

“I don’t think we were as hungry as them. I can’t answer why. It’s something that needs to be addressed.”

Vaughan, made captain just days before the game after Nasser Hussain’s shock decision to quit, made it clear that he was not beyond blame himself.

“To get hammered in your first Test match as captain, to play two bad shots, it will be a huge character test for myself. I know (as captain) you have to rock the boat at bit a few times and upset a few players.”

He accepted his debut as skipper had not begun in perfect circumstances following Hussain’s resignation after the drawn first Test. “I don’t think we won one session. Not once did we put them under pressure. All in all, it was a pretty poor performance.”

Vaughan said he was not aware of any retirement plans among his team, following media speculation that veteran quick Darren Gough could retire after struggling in his first two Tests. “He’s a little bit down, I would be lying if I said otherwise, but so are the other bowlers.”

Vaughan, however, had words of praise for allrounder Andrew Flintoff, who he said had been “outstanding” as a bowler before scoring his hurricane 142 in a losing cause.

England coach Duncan Fletcher said the turmoil caused by Hussain’s resignation was no excuse for the team’s overwhelming defeat.

“You can’t say it had no effect but it doesn’t explain how we gave away so many soft dismissals.” The former Zimbabwe captain said. (Agencies)

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