I thought that one of the main reasons for the ECB's decision to put 12 of the country's top players on central contracts was to make them feel a part of the new 'Team England'.

So why was Michael Vaughan ignored by England this week and told to play for Yorkshire instead of being included in the Test squad at Edgbaston?

I was amazed when Vaughan was not in the party of 14 and the player's own reaction that he was 'disappointed' must have been a diplomatic understatement.

England chairman of selectors David Graveney said it was felt that Vaughan needed more match practice after recovering from the broken hand which had sidelined him for a month.

However, Vaughan was in magnificent form right up to the moment that Derbyshire's Matthew Cassar hit him with that bouncer, causing him to retire hurt on 155.

And he had obviously lost none of his batting skills or confidence when he returned at Riverside last week and knocked up 94 off a keen Durham attack.

If Vaughan had been without any Test experience at all, one could probably understand England wanting to give him more time to recover before throwing him in against the West Indies.

But Vaughan was the best of the crop of young players on England's tour of South Africa last winter and his reputation was further enhanced with his cool-headed 69 which helped England regain some of their pride by winning the final rain-hit Test at Centurion.

That was why Vaughan, along with Yorkshire team-mates Darren Gough and Craig White, was given a central contract, and one would have expected him to be back in the England side as soon as possible, particularly in view of Nick Knight's poor form in the two Tests against Zimbabwe.

If England genuinely believed that Vaughan needed more batting time before returning to the Test arena, then a glance at the fixture list would have told them that Vaughan will have just as little first class cricket with Yorkshire as he would have done playing for England at Edgbaston.

Equally the fact that the selectors did not regard him as fit enough to warrant a place, but then felt he was fit enough to stand in should Mark Ramprakash not overcome his neck problem, shows the anomalies in their pronouncements.

After this week's match against Kent, Yorkshire do not have another Championship game until the Roses match at Old Trafford a week on Thursday - the same day that England play the West Indies in the second Test at Lord's.

All the counties are the same in that they are about to take a nine or ten day break from Championship cricket - which is hardly the best way for Vaughan or anyone else to prepare for the showpiece Test of the season.

If Vaughan is considered short of serious match practice now, the same will apply on Thursday week which makes one wonder if England intend to delay his return even further.

The triangular tournament between England, the West Indies and Zimbabwe is sandwiched in between the second and third Tests with the latter not starting until August 3.

By that stage the season is well advanced and if Vaughan does not play for England before then, he will be wondering just what advantages there are, if any, of being on a central contract.