June 11, 2001

Vaughan and Caddick cleared for return to action at Lord's


Andy Caddick and Michael Vaughan have been cleared for a return to action in tomorrow's NatWest Series encounter with Pakistan at Lord's.

A precautionary x-ray on Vaughan's bruised finger revealed no break, though he may still not be risked for tomorrow's game, while Caddick has recovered from his stiff back.

Graham Thorpe is still thought to be an unlikely starter, however, and is expected to return on Thursday at Old Trafford.

"We're not going to wrap players in cotton wool, but we're not going to rush them back before they are ready," David Graveney commented. "We have to learn the lessons from Michael Vaughan during the winter when he had a slight calf strain initially, but ended up missing all three Tests in Pakistan and we don't want that to happen again."

England have lost their last seven One-Day Internationals, a record run of form they are anxious to end.

They are fielding an inexperienced squad at present, in an effort to build a team to contend for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. But as Nick Knight acknowledged, that can't be used as an excuse.

"I've played on and off for five or six years and have managed to play 56 games, and I'm relatively experienced in our side, but if you look at the other teams it doesn't compare," Knight explained.

"We know we can't keep using our rebuilding as an excuse for losing, but in one-day cricket it's so important that the little things are right like batting with people, understanding between the wickets and all those sort of things.

"If you look at Australia's batting line-up it's not really changed over the past couple of years and they all bat together well and take twos when we sometimes can only get one because they have a great understanding.

"That's why it's so important in one-day cricket because there is such a small percentage between success, and failure and Australia have played together a lot and it makes them a very difficult team to break down.

The NatWest Series should be of particular use to England then, and, win or lose, they will take plenty of positives from it if young players perform as Hollioake and Shah did in Bristol.

"Tournaments like this are a big help and the more cricket we can play of this nature against sides like Australia and Pakistan the better," Knight added. "They are the two best sides in the world and we are up against it, but this is when you really learn quickly and that's what we are trying to get out of this tournament."