London, Sept.10 : By handing former England captain Michael Vaughan a fresh 12-month central contract, the England selectors have sent out a message that he will function as a senior pro and key adviser to successor Kevin Pietersen during this winter's tours to India and the West Indies, besides next year's Ashes series in England.
The contract is worth at least 100,000 pounds, and though Vaughan is not at present having the best run with the bat, national selector Geoff Miller insists that "we see him as a vital member of the side."
Vaughan has passed 50 twice in 19 innings this season and scoring 2, 0, 21, 0, 17, 10, 0 and 19 in his last eight knocks for England and Yorkshire.
The stats suggest Vaughan, 34 next month, might be finished as a top-level batsman - but the selectors are convinced it is just a blip caused by the burden of leadership.
According to The Sun, Pietersen thinks Vaughan can offer advice and experience as well as putting pressure on the places of Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell.
KP has claimed some players have been living in a comfort zone and, with Vaughan breathing down their necks, that could no longer be the case.
The announcement of the squad for India has been delayed until September 29 - so Vaughan has two matches to show some form.
A total of 12 players have been handed contracts but Matthew Hoggard's omission means his international days may be over.