Vaughan raises fitness hopes for second Test

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The Independent Online

Michael Vaughan will today take a full part in an England training session for the first time since injuring his right knee 11 days ago. Vaughan had a cortisone injection in the joint a week ago and began his rehabilitation during England's 22-run defeat to Pakistan in the first Test.

Initially the England captain was limited to gentle straight-line running but by the end of the match he was batting twice daily in the nets and jogging between the wickets. Marcus Trescothick, England's stand-in captain, performed well in Multan, where he scored 193 in the first innings and led the team adroitly, but England will be keen to get Vaughan back in the side for Sunday morning's second Test, not least to strengthen a vulnerable looking middle-order.

"My knee has made good progress over the last couple of days," Vaughan said. "I will train fully with the team from now on and do everything they do, if not a little bit more. I have done a little bit of running between the wickets but not yet at 100 per cent. It is one of the things I will be looking to do at practice. We will not make a decision on whether I will play on Sunday until Saturday, but I am quite hopeful that I should be available for the match."

Vaughan admitted that there is a slight risk in him playing in the Test, especially as he will not have tested the knee in a match situation, yet he feels it is probably a risk worth taking.

"My right knee has been a problem for a while but I have not had any problems since the New Zealand game 18 months ago," he said. "There is a slight risk if I do play but when you look at the position we are in in the series it is a risk that might be worth taking. I will obviously have to look after it but I do not see playing as a massive risk."

England's batting at Multan, with the exception of Trescothick and Ian Bell, was far from convincing. The remaining five batsmen, and Vaughan, have given little indication they will post a significant score since their arrival in Pakistan. And this shortage of runs can only be putting Vaughan under greater pressure to play here.

Vaughan was disappointed with the way England played on the final day but overall he was satisfied with the performance. "I did not enjoy watching from the sidelines but I was very proud and impressed with the way we played for the first four days," he said. "The bowling and the fielding was very good. Taking 20 wickets on a pitch like that gives us hope that we can get success in the remaining two Test matches.

"But you don't win Test matches by having four good days. This is the first time in a long while that we have not been able to win a tight game."

If Vaughan and England are happy with the way the knee responds to training, he will play in the second Test at three, providing the accident concerning Marcus Trescothick's father-in-law does not lead to him returning to England.

Vaughan's return would leave the England selectors with something of a dilemma. When Paul Collingwood was picked ahead of Ian Bell in England's final warm-up game before the first Test, it was assumed that he would be given three matches to prove he has what it takes to be a Test cricketer.

The issue of who should play out of Collingwood and Bell in the second Test has become contentious following the relative performances of the two players in Multan. Bell batted well, scoring 102 runs in the game, while Collingwood totalled just 13 and bowled four overs.

Maynard to give Pietersen lesson in batting approach

The England batting coach Matthew Maynard intends to speak to Kevin Pietersen about the importance of building innings when he arrives in Pakistan, after the batting collapse which led to England's first Test defeat. Pietersen and the all-rounder Andrew Flintoff were particularly culpable.

Maynard said yesterday: "He [Pietersen] has got to realise and work out the hardest thing to do is get to 20. Once he does that and starts to get 20s and set small objectives he'll be all right." Pakistani wickets make for more attritional contests and Maynard added:"They have got to learn to play different styles of bowling and conditions."

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