Vaughan and Co feted by Queen

London, February 9:

England captain Michael Vaughan and the rest of his Ashes-winning squad saw their achievements in winning last year’s Test series against Australia recognised by Queen Elizabeth II in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace today.

Vaughan received an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal as did England coach Duncan Fletcher, chairman of selectors David Graveney and team manager Phil Neale.

The other 11 England players, who took the field during the five-Test series including star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and batsman Kevin Pietersen, were made Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), the first rung on the ladder of the honours system.

“This is so special to come to the palace, meeting the queen here and being here with all the rest of the boys,” Vaughan said. The ceremony took place barely two miles from The Oval cricket ground where Pietersen’s maiden Test century secured the draw that ensured England’s 2-1 series victory — their first Ashes triumph since 1986/87 when Mike Gatting’s men won in Australia.

Meanwhile, it was a day of double celebration for Marcus Trescothick, who also announced he’d signed a new contract with Somerset, the only county side he has represented during his career. Being centrally contracted by England means he now rarely turns out for the west country club but the left-hander’s new deal means he will play for Somerset for at least three years after he retires from international cricket.