Cricket legend Michael Vaughan reveals the horror health battle that left him so much pain he couldn’t tie his own shoelaces

  • Ex-England skipper, 49, played 82 Tests and 86 ODIs 
  • Has had a successful commentary career in retirement 
  • Illness is so severe he had to be hospitalised mid-Test 

Michael Vaughan yesterday revealed he has been stricken with a stress-induced inflammatory illness for the past nine months that leaves him incapable of buttoning his shirt or tying his shoelaces.

The former England captain told the Daily Telegraph his symptoms were so severe last Boxing Day that during Australia’s Test match against Pakistan, unable to lift the microphone, he was sent from the commentary box to a Melbourne hospital.

‘If I had been 80 with this, I would have wanted to be shot,’ Vaughan, 49, said, detailing the unbearable levels of pain in his joints accompanying immobility.

Michael Vaughan’s inflammatory illness left him in so much pain he couldn’t complete simple tasks like buttoning up his shirt

The 49-year-old is pictured left with fellow commentator and Australian cricket great Mark Waugh at last year's Boxing Day Test. Vaughan's condition left him unable to pick up a microphone during the match and he was sent to hospital as a result

The 49-year-old is pictured left with fellow commentator and Australian cricket great Mark Waugh at last year’s Boxing Day Test. Vaughan’s condition left him unable to pick up a microphone during the match and he was sent to hospital as a result

‘People always talk about mental illness being the hardest to detect, because it’s not a visible injury, it is just something that happens inside your mind. It’s similar to this illness. Over time, it just builds up.’

After returning to the UK, he was sent for a CT scan that confirmed inflammation in his body was being triggered by stress hormones.

Time-stamping the build-up was straightforward. For three years, Vaughan vehemently denied a single remark his ex-team mate Azeem Rafiq claimed he’d made to a group of Yorkshire players of Asian heritage during a county match at Trent Bridge: ‘There’s too many of you lot, we need to do something about that.’

Last April, a Cricket Discipline Commission concluded that, on the balance of probabilities, he had not said these words at the time and in the specific circumstances alleged.

The ex-England skipper (pictured with daughter Tallula) was so wracked with pain that 'even climbing in and out of a car was awful'

The ex-England skipper (pictured with daughter Tallula) was so wracked with pain that ‘even climbing in and out of a car was awful’

The stress-related condition came after Vaughan spent three years under the microscope after allegedly making a racist remark to a group of players of Asian heritage in 2009. He was later cleared by the Cricket Discipline Commission

The stress-related condition came after Vaughan spent three years under the microscope after allegedly making a racist remark to a group of players of Asian heritage in 2009. He was later cleared by the Cricket Discipline Commission

Vaughan, whose physical well-being has improved through steroid treatment, told the Telegraph: ‘I don’t know if I’m tougher than I thought, or weaker. There are two ways of looking at it. It does prove that I’m human. It’s not about how many caps you have, how many stripes you have, or how famous you are.

‘Your body doesn’t say, “You’re a former England captain, we’re not going to allow this illness to invade you”.

‘There were loads of times when I wouldn’t go out, because I was embarrassed. Even climbing in and out of a car was awful.’

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