There are some serially verbose sporting pundits out there. In the age of social media, big mouths can come in all shapes and sizes, seizing on multiple platforms to deliver their vision of repetition relentlessly. It has a gnawing effect on our capacity to listen, even if the points made are perfectly valid. We just want eardrum immunity sometimes.
Michael Vaughan is in danger of that apocalypse moment where the world stops hearing him. Or perhaps, more importantly, he stops hearing himself…
Vaughan is a curious mix of excellent insight, left-field thinking and laddish asides. He is an Ashes winner and one of England’s most intuitive and successful captains. He’s keen to drag cricket into the 21st century. That’s good. Up to a point.
Vaughan’s newspaper columns are nsightful and laced with a lot of common sense. However, as an orator, MPV has a capacity to present an excitable overspill of ideas that just keep going on a terminal loop. The Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show on Radio 5 Live is essentially a one-man gig. Tufnell has a lot of time to drag on a cigarette. Or sleep like a cat.
Last week, the former Yorkshire strokemaster caused a rumpus by suggesting England drop Stuart Broad after the absolute spanking by Pakistan at Lord’s. Vaughan’s point was that some feathers needed to be ruffled to regenerate a spark in what is essentially a losing team. Sir Alex Ferguson’s iron fist is perhaps what was required as a “prod” rather than Trevor Bayliss’s “happy hour” approach.
Broad Jnr. argued that such deselection had no logic and that this attack was “targeted”. It was only two Tests ago that he had taken eight wickets at Christchurch.
After helping set up victory on day one at Headingley, Broad took up the cudgel by claiming Vaughan no longer had “much insight into the England changing room at all”. However, this perfectly reasonable riposte just seemed to stoke our Michael into another attack dog moment: “They haven’t won the Test match yet. The comments last night [by Broad] were geared as if they’ve won the game”. The game was won by an avalanche a day and a half later…
Some former internationals find it very difficult to take themselves off the pitch when they view from the box. Shane Warne is another case of an ex-player who thinks he has a direct link to the dressing room. Vaughan and Warne’s cricket brains are still on red alert to the point where they act as if at the cutting edge of the team’s day-to-day requirements. We just want them to have a rest day every now and then. When Michael Clarke was Test captain was Warne a doppelgänger? It appeared so sometimes.
Michael Vaughan’s is the voice that keeps on giving overtime. Much of what he says is keenly observed, including the need to make cricket suitable for the “fast and flippant generation”. But it’s becoming too frenetic. Cricket at Wembley? Let’s take a rain check, Michael.