Michael Vaughan, speaking on The Drinks At 15 podcast, explained why Andrew Strauss, who batted at the top of the order for the bulk of his England career, was pushed down as low as No.7 in a T20I against Australia in 2005.
Vaughan, captaining England in the match – their first-ever T20I – recalled his decision to send Strauss at seven in the series’ only game of the format, in a bid to prepare the side to take on Australia’s famed line-up in a packed stadium, ahead of the 2005 Ashes.
“I basically played the ’05 [Ashes] team in T20 cricket,” Vaughan said. “I wanted them to get a sense of what it was like to play against Australia in front of a full house, so it was all a little bit of a plan to get all serious now, it was a plan to allow a group of players, even though it was a completely different format, kind of get used to a full crowd right behind us.”
Strauss contributed a 16-ball 18 in England’s 179-8, which turned out to be too much of an ask for the Australia batsmen who were shot out for 79. Interestingly, Strauss [as captain] batted at No.6 in a T20I against West Indies in 2009, the only other time he batted lower than five in his 231 international matches for England.
The one-off T20I in 2005 was followed by the NatWest tri-series also involving Bangladesh, and the NatWest Challenge between Australia and England, all in the lead up to the 2005 Ashes which England famously won 2-1.
“Obviously, the game was a different format but it was a massive lift because we intimidated them a bit,” Vaughan said. “I think Gough might have been on a hat-trick, he’s probably one who wasn’t in the ’05 team … I think were on a hat-trick. We absolutely hounded them.”