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We Can Be Bigger Than Woody's World Cup Winners 
ENGLAND travel to the West Indies on Wednesday for a gruelling four-Test tour of the Caribbean. Here, in an exclusive Sport of the World interview, skipper Michael Vaughan (left) answers David Norrie's questions on his first eight months in the job...

Q Does England's rugby success have any lessons for English

A I am a little jealous of Clive Woodward's boys because the rugby
lads are where we want to be. But bizarrely, I believe the Rugby World Cup win could be the best thing that's happened to English cricket. The rugby team were given all the resources needed to deliver - and they did. Clive made sure no stone was left unturned. His planning and preparation was meticulous. Rugby realised the national team is the shop window for the country and made it the No1 priority - and cricket must do the same. Whatever the national team needs to be successful should be provided.

Q But there's no comfort zone in Woodward's squad. That's not true of English cricket, is it?

A I don't want anyone in the team who's only there for the ride. I want players who not only want England to be the best but also want themselves to be the best on an individual basis, to get into the world's top 10 as a bowler or batsman. If that happens, I know the England cricket team will win a lot of games.

Q Cricket is languishing way behind football and rugby in this country. How can you change that?

A The No1 sport in England is always going to be football. What we must learn from is the way rugby has overtaken us by winning the
World Cup. There's a huge passion for sport in this country. If English cricket gets it right, it will be as big as rugby - probably bigger.

Q After losing eight Ashes series in a row, is it time we gave up dreaming of winning them back?

A The Ashes is the focal point of any England cricketer's life. That's the one series you want to play. In that losing streak, England have won only ONE Test while the Ashes have been in contention. That says everything about England's challenge. Losing is bad enough- not competing is what really hurts. It's been the same with the Cricket World Cup. England's campaigns in the last three tournaments have been shambolic.

Q The ECB want England to be the best in the world by 2007. Do you agree you're nowhere near that?

A The honest answer must be 'yes'. Australia are top of the pile, with India second. I think England are bunched with South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Any of those five could take third spot. If we want to be the best in the world by 2007, it's no good just talking about it. There has to be change if we want it to happen. That's what English rugby set out to do and now they are world champions. But it didn't happen overnight. A lot of people wanted Woodward out after the 1999 World Cup but the hierarchy backed him all the way. The domestic clubs also got together to make it happen - and those things must happen to English cricket. I've played in one Ashes series and did well personally - but I'd swap that for team success. If we are to give Australia a game next summer, England have got to be around 25 per cent better than we are now - and that's a huge ask. I certainly believe the future of the England cricket team is in the hands of too many people. I'd like an executive board that lives or dies by what it decides. We need a more business-like structure. I've only been England captain for eight months but every England captain for the past 20 years has said there must be structural change in the county game. Something's got to happen if that mission statement is to mean anything.

Q The players bore the brunt of the Zimbabwe political issue at the
World Cup. Will that happen again?

A No. We are going to make certain of that. Touring there is not a
decision that should be left to the players - and it won't be. That's
what I've been told and it will be up to the ECB management board. Everyone realises now that the whole affair was not handled in a great manner. For the players to be involved in meetings in the days leading up to the World Cup was not the perfect preparation for such a big event.

Q You're off to the West Indies this week. How will you deal with Brian Lara, now he's back to his best?

A Brian's one of the headaches we've got to deal with but I think
it's going to be a fascinating series as the teams are very similar:
strong batting and relatively inexperienced bowling. We're looking to win there for the first time in 36 years. We tend to start big tours badly but we must put them under pressure straight away. The Windies took a hiding in South Africa but they are an attacking
bunch and will come at us. If we can get at Lara, it will help because they are a young side. We just have to make sure we nail home that advantage. 
Courtesy of  News of the World 

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