Batsman Kevin Pietersen is red-hot favourite to be named England captain today after an emotional Michael Vaughan resigned yesterday.
Vaughan stepped down less than 24 hours after defeat to South Africa in the third Test condemned England to a third defeat in five series.
Struggling to hold back the tears, Vaughan announced he would be taking a short break from the game before concentrating on rediscovering his form for Yorkshire.
Pietersen was 1-16 on to succeed Vaughan with one bookmaker last night and also seems set to be handed the one-day captaincy, after Paul Collingwood quit.
A total of 26 wins from 51 Tests makes Vaughan England’s most successful skipper, the highlight being the 2005 victory that ended an 18- year wait to regain the Ashes.
But the 33-year-old said poor form and the psychological burden of leading a struggling side had forced him to give up a role he inherited in 2003.
“It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but also the easiest,” said Vaughan. “It’s a job I’ve loved for five years and I’ve put my heart and soul into it.
“My mind told me to pack it in and I just felt if I kept on going my career could come to an abrupt end and hopefully this decision will prolong my career.”
Vaughan has ruled himself out of the final Test with South Africa, which starts on Thursday, and admitted he had dreamed of leading the team to another Ashes victory against Australia next year.
“It’s a fairytale to captain your country and a real fairytale would have been to hold the urn again next year,” he added.
“But that is not to be and I know it is the right time to go because my mind is not working as well as my body. It’s time to move forward with a new captain and in a new direction.”
Pietersen is fancied over opener Andrew Strauss and Kent’s Robert Key to replace Vaughan and Collingwood, who has also stepped down in a bid to rediscover his batting form.
Collingwood said: “I’ve found the extra workload to be very difficult. It diminished my ability to perform for England across all forms of the game.”