Very few Englishmen will have had much reason to celebrate our recent performances against West Indies. One person who may be grateful, though, is Michael Vaughan. The failure of either Ian Bell or Owais Shah to make themselves indispensable at No.3 on those pitches should have given him cause for a couple of moments of quiet, tactful jubilation.
Who wants to see an unburdened Vaughan batting at three or four sometime soon? Judging by the excitement generated by his scoring a century in some weird and unfathomable limited-overs contest in Abu Dhabi, lots of people do.
I’d love to see him score runs for England again and I’m happy to admit that’s partly for nostalgic reasons. But not, as you might expect, for his role in the 2005 Ashes series. Much later that year, after the Ashes fuss had died down a little and we’d been humped 2-0 in Pakistan, I was wandering around a freezing Aberdeen trying to kill time during the day when I was in a long run of a theatre show. I had walked into a shopping centre of such inconceivable grimness that even Morrissey would have found it too depressing a subject to cover in song and was staring, on the brink of total despair, at the window display of a book shop.
The sheer volume of pink and sparkly autobiographies by people like Kerry Katona, Sharon Osbourne and Jordan was practically blurring my vision when suddenly, like the moment of success you get when staring at a Magic Eye picture, I realised that right in the middle of the display there sat a lone copy of Michael Vaughan’s A Year In The Sun, the account of his remarkable run glut of 2002.
I went inside and asked for a copy of the book, which caused some complications as the one in the display was, of course, the only one in the shop; quite possibly the only one in the whole of Aberdeenshire. Goodness knows why it was there. Perhaps the person who ordered it had since died. Nevertheless, after some minutes spent watching a sales assistant struggle valiantly at the top of a stepladder while I shouted directions through the shop window, I had the book. I found a cafe, bought a number of cups of something disgusting and read the whole book in a single sitting.
That is what Michael Vaughan makes me feel nostalgic for: not the spraying of champagne, open top buses and the singing of Jerusalem in Trafalgar Square but an afternoon when he made Aberdeen in winter feel like an Indian summer.