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Fitness to be assessed this week

Vaughan could lead one-day team

Peter English at Perth

December 19, 2006

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A decision is expected soon on Michael Vaughan's fitness for the one-day tri-series in Australia © Getty Images
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Michael Vaughan will not play in the final two Tests of the Ashes series and a decision on whether he will lead England's one-day campaign will be made this week. Vaughan, who is recovering from a serious knee problem, fell for 14 in his latest match for the England Academy today and the selectors will decide whether he is fit enough to captain the side through the tri-series starting next month.

Duncan Fletcher said the news on Vaughan was "positive, very positive" and he had been working with Nigel Stockill, the squad's fitness trainer while England were losing the Ashes. "He's been moving around freely and he says he hasn't felt so good for some time," Fletcher said. "It's very pleasing news."

England's selectors will speak with Vaughan and other senior figures after today's match to determine whether he is ready to rejoin the senior squad in the lead-up to the World Cup. Vaughan's presence was severely missed as the team handed back the Ashes in Perth on Monday and there have been concerns with Andrew Flintoff's captaincy.

However, Fletcher said the players have been "happy with Flintoff". "We will have to take that into consideration when we pick the squad."

Fletcher said Flintoff, who was chosen ahead of Andrew Strauss as leader for the Test series, had "done a good job" over the first three matches. "He led from the front, but he hasn't got the runs he would have wanted. The decision was between him and Strauss, but he'd led only six Tests before he was thrown on to a tour of Australia, which is really difficult. Considering all that he's done as well as he can."

One of Fletcher's few certainties in a 15-minute interrogation in Perth today was on Vaughan's chances of appearing in the Boxing Day and New Year's games. "He's definitely not playing in the Test series."

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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