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Michael Vaughan feels Andrew Strauss should be rested for the Bangladesh tour to give England the best chance of retaining the Ashes.
Strauss flew out with his squad at the weekend for a tough tour of South Africa which follows hot on the heels of a gruelling summer schedule, which included a World Twenty20 tournament and the Champions Trophy on top of England's Ashes victory.
After two 20-over and five 50-over internationals against the Proteas, as well as four Tests, England move next onto Bangladesh before another busy summer leads up to a trip to Australia.
Strauss and coach Andy Flower were not slow to rest overworked players this summer - giving the likes of James Anderson and Paul Collingwood a break during the one-day series against Ricky Ponting's men.
And Vaughan, who skippered England to Ashes success in 2005, believes Strauss must take time away himself to ensure he is mentally ready for the challenges ahead.
"I think he should," Vaughan said at a signing for his new autobiography, Time to Declare.
"You've got to look at the bigger picture.
"The guys are playing far too much.
"It's not the actual playing side, it's the mental side of being away and constantly being in a cricket environment.
"So just taking Straussy out for a three-week break will regenerate his energy levels going into next summer and we have to have all our players fit and firing for next winter which is the big one - the Ashes."
Another issue at stake is the captaincy succession.
The abrupt departure of Kevin Pietersen from the post earlier this year put into sharp focus the lack of options England have at their disposal, with Strauss seen by many as the only man in the set-up capable of taking on the role.
Not so simple
Opener Alastair Cook is now the official vice-captain and logic would dictate that he would stand in for the Bangladesh tour should Strauss be absent.
But Vaughan believes that, with the 24-year-old having struggled for form this year, the decision is not as straightforward as it may seem.
"That's not been decided yet," he said.
"I think we're all jumping to conclusions.
"Cooky's under a huge amount of pressure this series to deliver.
"He's had a good time in the team since he came in.
"He's developed a real strong respect from the rest of the players which is ultimately what you need as a captain.
"But he has to deliver with runs on the board and he has to get a lot of runs in South Africa just to give himself that confidence that, if he does get the job, he's speaking from a position of strength."
Vaughan believes the relationship between captain and coach is vital to the success of any team - something he admits in his autobiography was not right towards the end of his tenure when Peter Moores was in the hotseat.
He said: "I've got a huge amount of respect for him as a person. I think he's a good coach - I think he'll work wonders at Lancashire - but myself and him didn't quite click as a partnership.
"For a captain and coach the partnership has to be good.
"When it has been good for England, as it is now between Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower, the performance is a lot more consistent.
"The captain and the coach, whenever they're speaking to the team, have to be speaking from the same hymn sheet.
"And maybe mine and Peter's relationship wasn't as strong in that bond on a professional basis."
Vaughan sees no such problems in the relationship between Strauss and Flower.
He said: "(They're) very consistent. I don't think Andy Flower tries to get any bit of the limelight, he stays very much in the background.
"It's very clear that Andrew Strauss is the captain and in control of the team.
"I think that's important - I think the captain is the most important person.
"The coach does work underneath him but on preparation days he becomes the most important person - but on match days it's the captain.
"It looks like those two have got the formation and the strategies going perfectly.
"That's why you've seen a good set of England performances."
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