Michael Vaughan & Alec Stewart open to England director role

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan became England captain in 2003, 10 years after Alec Stewart first took on the role

Former England captains Michael Vaughan and Alec Stewart say they are interested in becoming the country's new director of cricket.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is creating the job as part of a restructure after the departure of managing director Paul Downton.

Vaughan, 40, said he was "more than open" to the role.

Stewart, who played a record 133 Tests,external-link said: "If the ECB want to speak to me, of course I'll speak to them."

But the Surrey director of cricket, 52, added that the ECB would have to seek permission from his county first.

England's performances during Downton's reign
Feb-Mar 2014: Beat West Indies in one-day series 2-1 but lose subsequent T20s by same scoreline
Mar 2014: Knocked out of T20 World Cup before semi-finals, losing final match to Netherlands
May-Jun 2014: Lose one-off T20 international, one-day and Test series to Sri Lanka
Aug 2014: Beat India 3-1 in Test series, but then lose one-dayers 3-1
Dec 2014: Beaten 5-2 in one-day series by Sri Lanka
Feb 2015: Reach Tri-Series final but lose to Australia
Mar 2015: Knocked out of World Cup in Australia and New Zealand at the group stage

"You'd be silly not to listen," said Stewart. "That's not just me, that's anyone involved in the game who feels they can make a difference at the top level."

Vaughan won more Tests - 26 - than any other England captain and scored 5,719 Test runs at an average of 41.44.

"I am certainly one of the few who would have the phone ready to have a conversation, whether in this role, another role, or a forward-thinking visionary trying to move English cricket forward," he said.

Paul Downton
Paul Downton is a former England, Middlesex and Kent wicketkeeper and also worked in the City

Downton, 58, left his post on Wednesday, a month after England were knocked out of the World Cup in the group stages.

He was also involved in the sacking of former England captain Kevin Pietersen in February 2014.

Downton's departure came on the day Wisden editor Lawrence Booth accused the ECB of having "repeatedly lost touch", citing its handling of the Pietersen affair, concerns with the decline of the Test and one-day sides, and a fall in grassroots participation.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said Downton's departure was about being "accountable for reaching the standards we aspire to".

The Jonathan Agnew verdict:
"Two of the names mentioned for the England director role - Alec Stewart and Andrew Strauss - could have a major say in the next instalment of what happens with Pietersen of course. Strauss, given his history with KP, will probably take a lot of convincing that he should return to the fold. With Stewart, KP's coach at Surrey, it might be a bit more straightforward."
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He added that the new role would have "a clear focus on delivering a world-class performance environment for all formats".

Vaughan, a fan of Harrison, said: "English cricket has to look deeper than just removing one person. Structurally the game has to change. Removing Paul Downton is not going to turn it around overnight."

Former England bowler Steve Harmison backed Vaughan to come up with a plan that would ensure England "are a massive force in world cricket".

But ex-England all-rounder Derek Pringle said the role of guiding England's fortunes had become "a bit of a poisoned chalice".