Knee injury puts Vaughan in doubt for first Test and series

Click to follow
The Independent Online

England's preparations for their three-Test series against New Zealand were thrown into chaos yesterday afternoon when Michael Vaughan twisted his right knee during a practice session at Lord's. The injury looks certain to rule the England captain out of the first Test and there are still fears he could miss the entire series.

England's preparations for their three-Test series against New Zealand were thrown into chaos yesterday afternoon when Michael Vaughan twisted his right knee during a practice session at Lord's. The injury looks certain to rule the England captain out of the first Test and there are still fears he could miss the entire series.

The time Vaughan may spend out will depend on how he reacts to treatment, but England would have been relieved to find that an MRI scan showed no significant damage to his knee ligaments. But the manner in which he was taken off on a stretcher with his leg in a brace and driven back around to the dressing-room, does not bode well.

He remains a serious doubt for the Test, and his fitness will be reassessed over the next two days. No decision has been made on the captaincy, but Vaughan's absence would probably lead to Marcus Trescothick becoming the 75th England Test captain.

There will also be a scramble to find another opening batsman before Thursday morning. Mark Butcher is an option. The left-hander opens the batting for Surrey, but England will be reluctant to move him up the order because he has had a great deal of success batting at No 3. Paul Collingwood, the extra batsman in England's 13-man squad for Lord's is not an opener and it would make far greater sense to draft Andrew Strauss into the side for his Test debut.

This was Vaughan's first full net session since returning from the Caribbean and he was facing Zac Taylor, a 19-year-old left-arm spinner from Lancashire, at the time. Taylor had been brought down specifically to give England's batsmen practice against the type of spin bowling they will face from Daniel Vettori.

"I went to play a sweep shot against one of the net bowlers, but ended up on the floor, as you do sometimes," Vaughan said. "As I went to stand up my body twisted and I just felt my knee lock. It is very frustrating for me, especially after doing so well in the West Indies and it looks like I am going to be a doubt for Thursday. But you can never say never and I will be giving myself every chance to try and get the knee right in time."

The England physiotherapist, Kirk Russell, and Dr Peter Gregory, the Chief Medical Officer of the England and Wales Cricket Board, rushed to Vaughan's side and attended to the player for 20 minutes before he was taken away on a stretcher.

This is not the first time Vaughan has been troubled by his right knee. The Lancastrian had an operation to clean out the joint at the end of the 2002 season and had to withdraw from the International Cricket Council's Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka.

Since then Vaughan has had a good run on the injury front, playing in every Test match. Though his form with the bat has tapered off since he became the captain 10 months ago Vaughan has remained a vital member of the team. Under his leadership England have made significant progress both on and off the field.

His laid-back style of captaincy has made him immensely popular with his team-mates and the tough fitness regime he introduced before Christmas appears to have hardened up England. This was highlighted by their 3-0 victory over the West Indies earlier this year.

Comments