Giles declared fit to return for Ashes tour

Ashley Giles is fit to take his place on this winter's Ashes tour. The England and Wales Cricket Board yesterday confirmed that the 33-year-old left-arm spinner had recovered sufficiently after hip surgery to join the rest of Andrew Flintoff's squad when they fly to Australia this week.

Giles, who continued his rehabilitation in India in company with England's Champions Trophy squad, returned with them to the UK on Sunday. The Warwickshire all-rounder has been unable to feature for his country so far this year, after suffering a recurrence of hip trouble while touring Pakistan last autumn.

The England team physiotherapist Kirk Russell said: "Ashleyworked extremely hard in India, and the medical team is very pleased with his progress. He bowled for extended periods in the nets, completed all the drills we set him without any reaction and is now fully fit and able to take his place in the Ashes squad."

The chairman of selectors, David Graveney, said: "It's excellent news that Ashley has come through the final stage of his rehabilitation programme and is available again for selection. He played an important role in helping England regain the Ashes in 2005, and I am sure that he will be keen to make an impact in Australia this winter."

Giles, one of two specialist spinners alongside Monty Panesar in England's squad, is delighted to be returning. "It was always my goal to be fit in time for the Ashes tour. Now I am really looking forward to it," he said.

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