England will give Michael Vaughan as much time as they can to recover from the knee injury he sustained during practice on Monday. The selectors have postponed naming a possible replacement but the chances of the England captain playing in tomorrow's first Test against New Zealand remain very slim.
The sight of Vaughan hobbling around Lord's yesterday without the aid of crutches gave England hope that he may take his place in the side but if he did, after the images of him being carried out of the nets on a stretcher on Monday, it would be one of the most remarkable recoveries in sport.
Marcus Trescothick is widely expected to take over the captaincy temporarily but in Nasser Hussain and Mark Butcher England have players with experience of captaining their country.
"I have not thought about it really," Hussain said yesterday when the prospect of him leading the team was raised. "It was a part of my life that I have put away in a locker. I will not re-open that thought unless I get a call from the chairman of selectors [David Graveney] or Duncan Fletcher [the coach] but I hope Vaughny recovers because he has led the side very well and he is obviously a class player."
Butcher has captained England only once - a drawn game against New Zealand at Old Trafford on their last tour here in 1999 - but did not find it enjoyable. Trescothick, however, remains the favourite. "I would be quite happy to take on the role," he said.