Cricket: Malcolm looking good for rapid recovery

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The Independent Online

Devon Malcolm is on course to play in next week's four-day match against Soweto. The Derbyshire fast bowler steadily increased his pace during England's first practice session yesterday and he appeared to suffer no problems with his right knee, operated on six weeks ago.

The session at the Wanderers Test ground was the 32-year-old's first outdoor bowl since undergoing 'keyhole' surgery early last month.

"Devon is a very popular figure out here, particularly in the townships," Chris Day, the United Board spokesman, said. "Now everyone would like to see him play. His nine for 57 [at the Oval] against us on our tour of England had an enormous impact and he became a bit of a cult figure after that. It would certainly be a big fillip for our development programme in the townships if Devon played at Soweto."

Malcolm's colleague, Darren Gough, has made an adjustment in his delivery stride in a quest to regain his England Test place after injury.

Gough, who missed much of the season with an injured left foot, is seeking to make his comeback in the first Test against South Africa in Pretoria, which begins on 16 November. He has been struggling with a painful left ankle, which he says is caused by wrong foot placement in his delivery stride.

"I'm putting a lot of pressure on my left foot as I come down, and I am stressing the wrong area," Gough said. "Basically I'm landing with my weight on the little toe, and the idea is to flatten out the foot and place the pressure more on the big toe, which is better able to cope."