Michael Vaughan has urged England to keep playing Ravi Bopara in the one-day series against Australia, despite the Essex batsman's struggle for form.
Bopara has followed up an Ashes series where he averaged only 15 in four Tests at No3 with scores of 49, 27 and 10. But as he prepared for tomorrow's fourth one-dayer against Australia at Lord's, with his side trailing 3-0 in the seven-match NatWest series, the former England captain was adamant.
"They should keep playing him," said Vaughan, who knows what it is like to struggle in one-day cricket having averaged 27.15 from 86 ODIs in which he never scored a century. "Ravi has to be strong enough to trust his game, react to the ball, don't premeditate, don't get too stressed by it all. He is ultra-talented but sometimes the harder you try the further it goes away from you. You sense he's trying too hard at the minute.
"In one-day cricket I tried far too hard for much of my career. I chased the game. Chased that first hundred. I was trying to get a hundred before I got off the mark on a number of occasions, and that's taking your mind away from the now. You need to stay in the present."
Vaughan, however, believes tomorrow's international should not be taking place. He insists seven one-day matches are too many in a crowded calendar and should be limited to a maximum of three.
England have rested Paul Collingwood for the next three games, James Anderson is taking a break for two and Stuart Broad has already been rested.
Vaughan said: "That's exactly what Collingwood needs and it will create an opportunity for someone to come in and bring some 'vibe' and energy to that middle order. When you start talking about having to rest players, ultimately there is only one reason – playing too much. You just don't need seven one-dayers and two Twenty20s. Two or three would be more reasonable.
"It gets a bit same-old, same-old. We've seen enough of Australia this summer. The country has probably seen enough of cricket. It's just too much."
Vaughan was speaking on a visit to the Urban Stars project in Lambeth as part of his work for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which is tackling gang membership and crime in some of the UK's most deprived areas.
Playing on a tennis court with the young students was the first time, other than facing his son Archie in the back garden, Vaughan had wielded a cricket bat since his retirement at the end of June. He insists, however, that he does not miss the thrill of facing Ricky Ponting and Co.
"I've enjoyed not waking up and having to face 90mph balls," he said. "It's been good getting my body and knee in the right condition. I've done a lot of charity work, but I didn't want to be seen too much at the Ashes."
He expects to join the former England captains Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain in the TV commentary box in the future and intends to expand the cricket academy work he does around the country.
The most successful captain in England's history, Vaughan also had this advice for the players who have appeared tense and hesitant since their Ashes victory. "Just have a go. It can turn quickly," he said. "This Australian team is not the fearsome team it was a few years ago. They are a workmanlike team. We have to get someone to 80 or 100 and trust our game.
"What's the worst that can happen? We could lose another game. Well, we've lost three already, so there's nothing to lose."