Melbourne, Aug.5 : Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne is of the view that with Michael Vaughan exiting as England captain, the Poms' chances of pinching back the Ashes next year is all but lost.
Warne believes England desperately needed Vaughan to guide them to the 2009 Ashes.
"Vaughan is crucial for England to regain the Ashes next year because he is such a good captain. My biggest worry with Pietersen(his successor) is that he gets a bit far above himself and doesn't keep his feet on the ground. He's got to remember who his friends are. If he keeps that in mind, he will be all right. He has as much talent as anyone that has ever played the game,'' the Daily Telegraph quoted Warne, as saying.
Vaughan's fate was sealed when England were crushed by South Africa in the third Test at Edgbaston, with the Proteas taking a 2-0 lead in the four-Test series.
The 2009 Ashes could be the last hurrah for some Australians, most notably Test opener Matthew Hayden, who wants to cap his glittering career with another Ashes triumph.
"If you're talking about someone to take on both jobs then Kevin Pietersen becomes the No.1 candidate because he's one of the few people who can be guaranteed their place,'' he said.